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Charles Chuck Schlarbaum
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Charles "Chuck" Schlarbaum

January 09, 1938 - June 17, 2016

We are sorry to announce that circus legand
Chuck Schlarbaum passed away on June 17, 2016


Chuck Schlarbaum playing Calliope on Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Circus
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Chuck playing Calliope on the
Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus 1967
Chuck Schlarbaum on the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus bandstand
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Chuck Schlarbaum on the
Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus
bandstand in Philadelphia

Chuck Schlarbaum is without question one of America's foremost circus musicians of all time. His knowledge of traditional circus music is unsurpassed by anyone past or present. Perhaps only the name Merle Evans is better know in circus history.

Charles "Chuck" Schlarbaum was born in Benton, IA on 06/09/1938. At an early age Chuck's family moved to Portland, Oregon where he was raised and attended school. Young Charles acquired an interest in music from his parents who both played musical instruments. Chuck began his musical career in grade school and played in the school orchestra.

Schlarbaum obtained his interest in the circus through his Great Uncle, who was a circus musician. In Chuck's teen years he would travel with circuses in the summer months, working at various jobs in the animal and concession departments.

After completing high school, Schlarbaum joined the United States Army where he served in the "Thirty Third Army Band", playing solo cornet and touring the U.S and Europe from 1955 until 1958.

Chuck's first job as a musician on a circus was with the Cristiani Bros. Circus in 1958. His first Band Leader position was with the Hunt Bros. Circus in 1959.

During his long career he has conducted, composed and arranged music for most major circuses in the United States. To name a few of shows; Cristiani Bros. Circus, Hunt Bros. Circus, King Bros. Circus, Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey, Garden Bros., James E. Strates Shows and numerous stage productions.

Today Chuck remains active in the circus business and devotes much of his time to the Showmens Shrine Club and the International Independent Showmens Association in Gibsonton Fl.



Sarasota's Circus Ring of Fame On Jan. 16, 2011 Charles "Chuck" Schlarbaum was inducted into the Sarasota's Circus Ring of Fame.


Circus band director Chuck Schlarbaum
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Chuck Schlarbaum / Chuck Morgan
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In the 60s and 70s Chuck toured his own orchestra working under the name of Chuck Morgan.
Chuck Schlarbaum and the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Circus Band
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Chuck Schlarbaum leading the
Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus Band
Commack, NY 1967


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