Tuesday, March 4, 2008

High School / College Bands & Choirs

I've sometimes been asked how - or if - records by U.P. high school or college bands and choirs fit into this project. The short answer is, they do.

During the decades when vinyl ruled, numerous high school and college musical groups in the U.P. made albums, usually as fundraisers. (The school bands and choirs of my birthplace, Escanaba, when under the direction of the late Conrad Beck (or his son John D. Beck), were quite prolific.)

Here are the high school / college band / choir albums I have in my collection:

Escanaba Area High School Choir and Madrigal Singers - [title unknown] (Silver Crest ES-DE-MENC-67; date unknown).

Escanaba Area Senior High School Choir & Chorale - CONCERT ECHOES & "BRIGADOON" HIGHLIGHTS (Century 34900; 1968?).

Escanaba Area High School Choir & Chorale - [title unknown] (Mark MC 1423; 1979). With John D. Beck, Director and Mary Snyder & Thom (Tom?) Knoll, accompanists.

The Fantastics - THE FANTASTICS OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY (Nuggett NRS-106). The Fantastics, a show-band led by Northern Michigan University professor Tim Lautzenheiser, were NMU's "musical ambassadors," regularly touring U.P. schools and appearing on local television, especially WLUC-TV's annual March of Dimes Telethon (for many years, the U.P.'s only TV showcase for local talent). Their one album was recorded, curiously enough, in Tennessee, and co-produced by Fred Carter, Jr., veteran country musician and father of current country star Deana Carter.

And here are the ones I don't have, but know about:

Jeffers High School Jazz Ensemble - "HIGHLIGHTS" OF 1976-77 (RPC label). School now known as Painesdale-Jeffers.

Michigan Tech Lab Jazz Band / Larry Scott Quartet - SOME LIKE IT HOT, SOME LIKE IT COOL (Record label; 1974). Side One is the "hot" side, by the student jazz band at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton; Side Two, the "cool" side, is by the Houghton-based Larry Scott Quartet. Both bands included Michael Irish, then an MTU student, now head of MTU's music department.

Northern Michigan University Marching Band - title unknown (1969). I'm told the NMU marching band put out an album in 1969, but I know nothing else about it.

Suomi College Choir - SUOMI-OPISTON KUORO (label unknown). Recorded during the choir's 1963 tour of Finland; choir directed by Prof.Arthur J. Hill.

There's one record in my collection, though, that's a puzzle. I'm not even sure if it's from the U.P. It languished in the bargain bin of The Record Rack in Esky until I took it off their hands for 50 cents.

The top of each label says: "JUNIOR GIRLS' PLAY 1957 presents 'LIVE IT UP' Angela Suino, Nancy Willard, Jane Abeshouse, Beate Kaulfuss, Alice Basford, Betty Edson." There's no info about what record company made this - just a number, HBOP-0895, printed on the label and imprinted in the deadwax. The cover is white and blank; someone taped a page from the program onto it, but this page only shows (on one side) the show's logo and (on the other) a list of "Senior women and their guests" who were being honored by the "Junior women" at the production, and some other people and businesses who were thanked; but, again, no indication of where the performance took place or where the recording was made.

If anyone is familiar with this record and/or where it was made, please let me know.

And if this project results in a book, there will be a special section devoted entirely to listing all the high school and college band and choir albums I learn about.

So yes, high school & college musical group albums do indeed have a place in U.P. GROOVES!

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