There was an up-and-coming, rising star in the 1930’s that hailed from Clearfield.
Born in Clearfield in 1909, Arnold “Arnie” Leipold graduated from Clearfield High School, and went on to graduate from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1931.
Arnie had an inherent love for music that was passed down to him from his very musically-inclined father, Dr. Frank Leipold.
Arnie began his musical career with the Clearfield American Legion Band, which his father, Frank, was the director, playing the saxophone.
He then formed his own orchestra with all original members from Clearfield in 1932. Members included Bob Hisong, Kenny Shaw, Johnny Bumbarger, Ted Miller, Dave Cathcart, Don Gingery Jr., Elmer Snedden, E. Clair Davis Jr., Bob Ward and Dave Yocum.
The Arnie Leipold Orchestra started out playing for dances at Pee Wee’s Nest in Curwensville, Fairview Dance Hall at Osceola Mills and various Penn State fraternity house parties.
They also played at the Lyric Theatre in Clearfield regularly. Average pay was $3 per man per night when they started their musical careers.
As their popularity grew, they had a remarkably successful run with bookings from Chautauqua Lake, Buffalo, N.Y., Richmond, Va., Charlotte, N.C., and other towns throughout the east coast.
The Arnie Leipold Orchestra also would broadcast a half-hour radio program every night. They were slated to play in Chicago and sign a record contract.
Just as the band was on the threshold of nation-wide recognition, Arnie Leipold died at the young age of just 27 years old from appendicitis in Lockport, N.Y., while on tour.
The Progress June 8, 1936 edition published the news, “The entire community was greatly shocked this morning when news became generally known of the sudden and untimely death of Arnold Leipold.”
It was written in obituary that during his college years, Arnold was a first lieutenant in the P.M.C. Cadet Corps, chief musician of the corps in his junior year and leader of the college orchestra for two years.
In sports he was a member of the P.M.C. football team and was considered one of the school’s best horsemen in military maneuvers and on the polo field.
He was an expert rifle shot, a junior year winner of the U.S. Government medal as high score man in the Third Corps Area, which takes in the colleges in the middle Atlantic Colligate Association.
He graduated as a lieutenant and was at the time of his death a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve Officers Association.
The Clearfield County Historical Society has a display honoring musician, composer and orchestra leader, Arnie Leipold and his orchestra members.
The display is located on the second floor of the Kerr House Museum.