Submitted by Tim Marsh, Lakes High School Class of 1966
I can’t claim an ear for music.
But, I have musical memories, most of them from while living in Lakewood.
My interest in music came from my mother, an excellent singer. In high school she claimed top roles in musicals. Mom and her younger sister were popular vocalists in church. Their sister was a concert pianist.
Mom was a soprano singer in Lakewood’s Little Church on the Prairie choir.
One of her church choir colleagues was Blanche Perry, wife of professional baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry, then playing for the Tacoma Giants and later for the Giants of San Francisco.
At Park Lodge School I joined the band directed by Gerald Pepos.
An uncle in Oregon had a C-melody saxophone. Wikipedia says, The C-melody “enjoyed popularity in the early 1900s … but is now uncommon.” I borrowed it, and that was my instrument, never mind the fact there wasn’t sheet music for it. So, I played flute music, also in the key of C.
I continued with the C-melody in band at Navy Base School and then Hudtloff Junior High.
Al Meddaugh was the band director at Hudtloff. At that point flute music was too high up the scale for me to play on the C-melody. He transcribed sheet music from flute to sax so I could play it. Later that year my folks bought me an E-flat alto sax, for which music was and is available. I still have this instrument.
Mr. Meddaugh’s musical background included playing trumpet and coronet in a big band performing at “Top of the Ocean,” that looked like a ship restaurant along Commencement Bay in Old Tacoma.
A Hudtloff band flutist was Linda Dangel. Her brother, Rich, Clover Park High student (Class of 1960), played lead guitar in the fabulous Lakewood-based Wailers rock band. Co-writer of “Tall Cool One,” he created the opening guitar chords of “Louie Louie.” The Wailers appeared on TV’s Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, June 11, 1959.
After our family moved from Bridgeport Way to American Lake, I attended Iva Alice Mann Junior High. Jack Henderson was our band director. We practiced and practiced and practiced for perfection. It paid off in doing well in band competitions. I lost count how many times we played gong-accented “Tamerlane,” composed by Spokane’s Frank Erickson.
After Mann, it was on to Lakes High, where Mr. Pepos was band director.
At Lakes High School, I switched from E-flat alto sax to E-flat baritone sax, a much heavier instrument which plays one octave lower than the alto.
The band performed at Lancer home football games at CP’s Thompson Field, in the stands and marched on the field at halftime. And, as a pep band, it played in the Lakes Gym at basketball games.
During that school year (1963-1964) the Lakes band:
- was among school bands invited to play at Cheney Stadium, home of baseball’s Tacoma Giants, for a Fri., Sept. 27, 1963, speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy. There were too many bands and ours was not the only one which did not play a note.
- practiced outside, marching in streets on/near Lakes’ campus to assure we were ready to march in the Sat., April 11, 1964, Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Parade in the downtowns of Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner (¿and Orting?) exclusively playing “Go, Twist.” We were, proudly marching in our royal blue Lakes High band uniforms.
In 1964-1965 at Lakes I didn’t “do” music, but resumed musically as a senior, 1965-1966, as a member of the Lakes Choir directed by Ed Harmic. It was an enjoyable experience. Wish I’d joined the choir a year earlier.
I recall a Lakes winter holiday concert with the choir performing “Mexican Christmas Procession.” In that or other concerts we sang Broadway songs, one from Camelot and the other, “Try to Remember,” from the The Fantasticks.
A personal highlight at Lakes was co-writing the school’s alma mater. There was an invitation for students to submit words for the songs, which opened in fall 1962 and didn’t have an alma mater or fight song when I arrived as a sophomore in fall 1963.
I put lyrics on paper and submitted them. Then, one day during morning announcements via a classroom public address system I learned Evelyne Hendricks (choir, Class of 1965) and I (Class of 1966, band) co-wrote the alma mater lyrics. Ron Relaford (Class of 1964), music theory student, wrote the alma mater music.
After graduating from Lakes I remember a one-game stint playing in the pep band of Oregon’s Linfield College at a basketball game.
I played in the community band in Pullman during several 0f the 26-plus years my family and I lived there while I was on staff at Washington State University.
Mr. Dana Cleveland was a legend in Pullman for his wonderful work leading the Pullman High School and Pullman School District band programs. After retirement he became director of the Pullman Community Band. It was a pleasure playing my alto sax in the band under his direction.
- Photos: Lakes Band, 1964 Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Parade, downtown Tacoma. Band member uniform. Lakes Choir, 1966 Lakes Legend yearbook.
- As a lad, my father briefly took piano lessons.
- Navy Base evening concerts were in the school cafeteria. Walking from the parking lot to the cafeteria was often a stinky experience. Flett Dairy was nearby and cow manure smells wafted across the road to the school grounds.
- In the days before students carried school books in backpacks, the case holding my saxophone was a perfect place to store my books. I often carried the case on a rack in front of my bicycle.
- I attended Hudtloff (opened in 1958) at the location of the new (opened in 2013) Hudtloff Middle School, not the original Hudtloff Junior High (constructed in the early 1950s, according to a history published in 1988) on the Clover Park High campus.
- After retiring from teaching in 1966, Mr. Pepos became a partner in/president of Lakewood Music (LM). Many remember Lakewood Music Center opening in 1955 in the part of Lakewood Colonial Center on the north side of Gravelly Lake Drive. LM expanded to include eight Puget Sound regional music centers.
- Mr. Henderson was a “devoted band teacher for 35 years at Elma and Clover Park School Districts,” said his obituary.
- When midnight of New Year’s stuck, I played my sax as a noisemaker.
- I have a kinship with Clover Park High School. I took a musical theory class, probably taught by Wilbur Elliott, during CP Summer School. My sister (Class of 1962) played violin in the CP orchestra and I attended concerts at the school. These were great productions featuring string, wind and vocal groups. Thinking I would attend CP, I learned its fight song. This came in handy at WSU since the CP Fight Song uses the same music and similar words to those of the university.
My musical memories are exhausted.Print This Post