Frank “The Beard” Lozar, the heart and soul of Minnesota Brass, passed away in the early hours of September 7. He was 85.
Frank was a legend in Minnesota drum corps history, performing with all incarnations of Minnesota Brass. His last year on the field with the corps was 2002, when he was 73.
“We are deeply saddened by Frank’s passing,” said Eric Molho, executive director of Minnesota Brass. “Frank was an outstanding performer who gave tirelessly of himself to Minnesota Brass for decades. Our entire organization will miss him.”
Born on July 5, 1929, the soprano player marched in competition nearly every year from 1947, when he first played with American Legion Post 248’s drum and bugle corps in Ely, Minn., until 2005, when he played with the Zuhrah Shrine corps. The only exceptions were two years when he served in the American Medical Corps.
He moved from Ely to perform with Minnesota Brass and Hamm’s Indians. He served as the director of Minnesota Brass from 1963 to 1969. Since 1980, he had performed with both Minnesota Brass and Zuhrah Shrine. He served on the boards of both organizations and was a fundraising coordinator for several midwestern drum and bugle corps at various times.
In 1969, Frank was awarded Minnesota Brass’ highest honor, the Brassy, a lifetime achievement award. He also was part of a group that was the first to initiate female members into the drum corps activity. At 70, he was recognized as the oldest competitor on the field at the championship tournaments of both Drum Corps Midwest (DCM) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA) in 1998. Named as an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2001, he received the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award and full Hall of Fame status in 2005.
Entertaining the passengers of long bus trips, Frank and the Gummers (so-called because no one else knew the words as well as Frank, so they just mouthed and hummed along) were a noted ensemble within the corps long before iPods and boom boxes were a staple. Legend has it that in 1970 he sang for 36 hours straight on a trip to Portland, Ore., without repeating a song.
Frank assumed all roles and was a major financial contributor who helped perpetuate the organization. Without his efforts — along with so many others — Minnesota Brass would have never attained the level of success that it experiences today.
Kurt Schiebel, a longtime member of Minnesota Brass who performed with Frank, reflected on the passing of a great mentor.
“We always hear about drum corps moms, the glue that holds the activity together,” Kurt said. “Frank was a drum corps dad, offering support and strength to the youth in the line. He contributed not only financially to the corps, but offered assistance to young members, whether it was outright dues support, or that meal on the road for those of us in need.”
Kurt added, “It is hard to believe there is a supporter out there who contributed more to perpetuate this organization. It is harder still to think of the activity with out him.”
For All We Know.