"And so, after about three years of it, I began to go nuts. I couldn't seem to get any inspiration for my songs. That is the reason I am on the stage now." Isham Jones, speaking backstage at the Met, was telling why he had decided to return to active orchestra-leading after a retirement of three years.
Deserting the stage, Jones retired to Chicago's North Side, determined to spend his time in song writing, and with the earnest belief that he had left orchestras and the stage behind for good. After a few years, however, he realized that the contact with the orchestras was necessary for his song composition, and he decided to return to active work with musicians.
In his own words: "I was in the Brunswick Studio one day and happened to hear a small orchestra there. It sounded pretty good to me, and I decided to take it over. That was the beginning of my present orchestra. Today there are only three of the original members with me, for I have been making changes steadily."
The present orchestra is not his first. Since his high school days he has had a bent for music, playing in his high school band in Saginaw, Michigan. His first song was written there--a march. Due to an error in estimating the distance, the band played this song while passing the judges' stand. Jones' march won a prize, and it was then that he decided to become a song writer.