Note: The 1949 spring issues of “The Caddo High Times” contain biographies of each teacher on staff. And the annual’s “appreciation page” was dedicated to “Pop” Gecks.
March 4, 1949
It is fitting and proper that our own “Pop” Gecks should be third on the list of our teachers. After reading this you will see our school is fortunate to have such a talented gentleman.
John J. Gecks, born in St. Louis, Mo. June 26th, 1871, entered Christian Brothers College at the age of five years, received his B. A. when 15 years, his A. M. at 17. The M. A. (Master of Accounts) before he was 19. He went to school 12 months each year, never missing a day. At 17 he joined the St. Louis Symphonic Orchestra as cellist and played in the Olympic Theatre of that city at twenty years of age. He studied music in Lisping Conservatory, Germany, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in 2 years- played under Pat Gilmore, Theo Thoness, and many of the best bands and orchestras. Mr. Gecks made a tour of Europe with Pat S. Gilmore’s New York 22 Regimental Band. (Christian Brothers College was a primary, secondary, and college boarding school.)
When 25 Mr. Gecks was with Klau and Erlanger, directing opera, making eight tours of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. After that he directed orchestras in Vaudeville and legitimate theater.
In 1916 “Pop” organized the first band in years- Murray College, Tishomingo, staying one and one half years there. He went back into theaters until 1922 when he accepted a position as teacher of music at the Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia, Kansas. After 2 years he moved to Ft. Dodge where he was high school headmaster, director of U. S. Gypsum Band, and the Algona Band.
In 1931 he moved to Edmond where he was bandmaster for 11 years at Central State College, playing in the Oklahoma City Symphony. Then he moved to Welch for 2 years and is now in his 6th year at Caddo.
(UCO credits Pop with writing their “fight song” in 1934.)