Big Rapids High School Stage Band in 1960

Seven trumpets are on the left, saxes, flute, and trombones on the right, rhythm section in the middle.

The Big Rapids High School stage band shown above was carrying on a long stage band tradition started by band director Aldie Long.

Seventh grader Tony Wood tap dances in front of the band on stage at BRHS. Tony learned tap dancing from his mother, who was also the choreographer and dance teacher for some of the girls' dance lines that performed in the Band Follies.

In the trumpet section, the three at the right side of the front row share the first trumpet parts: freshman Lois Lane, seventh grader Glen Newton, and senior John Pratt (resting). Next to John, junior Chuck Hitch and eighth grader David Andresen play second, and on the top row freshmen Tom Rundquist and Mike Freeland play third. Most of the music the band played did not have a fourth trumpet part.

The saxophone section includes junior Marilyn Kraas, alto, Pat Bouwman, tenor, 8th grader Carol Kraas and upperclassman Barrie Corey on altos, with freshman JoAnne Donley playing baritone sax. The missing tenor player might be 8th grader Sue Bowden. Senior Kurt Franck, next to Marilyn, plays the violin parts on his flute.

The trombone section includes senior Doug Randolph and sophomores Roland Wisner and Bob Corsaut.

Sophomore Ann Magee plays piano and senior Dean Martin is at the drum set. String bassist Gordy LaVere (a sousaphone player in the concert band) seems to have stepped out. The stage band didn't have a guitarist.

A 1960 Band Follies vocal group that made a big impression on Glen was the barbershop quartet, comprised of first chair cornetist Marland Ream (bass), trombonists Jerry Smith (baritone) and Ron Muse (lead), and clarinetist Lee Fickes (tenor)). Their a capella renditions of "Coney Island Baby" and "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" were Glen's first exposure to traditional barbershop harmony. They even exhibited a bit of humor into their rehearsals, introducing the latter song by singing their initial chord notes, from top to bottom: "Apple, apple, apple, worm". (They omitted this in performance, because it invariably made them laugh so much that they had a hard time singing the song.)

Among the other songs on the 1960 Band Follies program were "The Swingin' Shepherd Blues," "Side by Side," "The Doll Dance" (a dance feature for the junior dance group), "In the Still of the Night," "The Great Pretender," "Ballin' the Jack," "Up the Lazy River," "Blue Star," "Melody of Love," "Kismet Medley" (which featured Glen on a trumpet solo, "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads"), "Song from the Moulin Rouge," "As Time Goes By," "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," "Mac the Knife, "It's D-Lovely," "Banana Boat Song," and "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" featuring 7th grade tap dancer Tony Wood).

This page was last updated
Friday, February 07, 2020.

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