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Band - Orchestra - Choir - Drama Stories

As we continue to celebrate Woodrow Wilson High School's 50th Anniversary 1956 -2006, we are looking for stories about your band, orchestra, drama and choir experiences from the past and present. These stories will be posted on the 50th anniversary website. To contribute a story, just send the details along with your name and class year to Linda Doyle.
Linda Doyle.

Band Stories from the 1956 -1958 Era

by Richard Ditewig '58

I had played bassoon a little during my frosh/soph years at Lincoln. Mr. C. Robert White got me started on bassoon and then when I transferred to Wilson in September 1956 I continued with bassoon. No one else tackled that instrument. Another student played bass clarinet and we sat in adjacent chairs in rehearsal. To our right were the clarinets; to our left were sax's and trumpets.

The highlight of our band rehearsals was preparation for marching in the Rose Parade in downtown Portland in June. We had to carefully rehearse marching movements, cadences, etc. We did that at school, outside and then the final rehearsal was at Multnomah Stadium. One of the substitute band directors, Sylvester Tamiesie, joined us at Multnomah Stadium for the rehearsals. There was Tamiesie, in a long topcoat, marching with all these kids. Tamiesie sported a head of blond/white hair, causing some to refer to him at "Stokie". He did sort of resemble Leopold Stokowski. Just prior to the parade, White admonished us to have our buck shoes "really white" and not have that "were-white-once look". One wet June, my bassoon got water inside of it during the parade march and I had dry it out thoroughly. Parades usually ended on the east side of the Burnside bridge and we were all really tired, believe me.

I remember how clean and spiffy the new school building looked in 1956-1958 and we were lucky enough to have a Baldwin concert grand piano on the auditorium stage. The choir rehearsal room, where Cliff Matousek rehearsed, had a 6' Story and Clark piano. I wonder if those pianos are still there?

by Jim Anderson '59

My twin sister Peg and I played in the band all four years of high school, the first year at Lincoln, then three years at Wilson. She played the clarinet and I the French Horn, which I still have, although my lip is no longer in the condition it was then. In our senior year, our big concert featured Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue -- I don't know whose idea this was -- our director C. Robert White's? In any case, Peg played the famous clarinet riff and I played the piano part. I got lost only once, but managed to find my place again. My mother arranged for a wire recording, which she later converted to a vinyl LP record. Sadly no one knows where that LP is now. The next year I went off to Harvard (where I played in the band for four more years), and our director's son Jim White went to Dartmouth. In one of my more foolhardy endeavors, one Saturday I rode an old three-speed Raleigh bike up into the mountains of New Hampshire to visit him, 140 miles from Cambridge. I could hardly walk the next day.

by Peggy Anderson '59

Jim - good memories - one thing I never got the opening down in the Rap of Blue piece so the younger White son who also played the clarinet played it but I did the rest of the clarinet pieces. I also played clarinet in the symphony at the College of Idaho and in the Grande Ronde symphony in LaGrande when I first taught at Eastern Oregon College now University (63-72 and 86-91) then it became too time consuming.

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