Santelmann, William Frederick Henry
- Mona Kreitner
(b Washington, DC, Feb 24, 1902; d Tempe, AZ, March 30, 1984). American violinist and conductor. He began violin studies with his father at age six. He went on to study at Washington College of Music and the New England Conservatory. He joined the US Marine Band in 1923 performing on violin and baritone, was named concertmaster of the orchestra in 1925, and became the twenty-first director in 1940. He formed the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve Band in 1943 to replace men needed for combat; the women would play concerts and radio broadcasts until 1945. Santelmann has the distinction of being the first Marine Band director promoted beyond the rank of captain, retiring as a lieutenant colonel 30 April 1955. He was elected to the American Bandmasters Association (ABA) in 1941 and became an honorary life member in 1980.
Following his retirement from the Marine Band, Santelmann remained an active conductor. A stroke in ...