I love the band stories from Mr. White's era. We did have a great band and fun experiences. Majorettes were required to take band as an elective like all the other band members. Senior band was first period and the call came from the office indicating that Mr. White was not well and would not be coming to class. The instructions were clear, Patti, take roll, do the paperwork and have the drum major run practice. We managed very well and worked without our teacher and administration had no doubt that we were capable of self management. This would not happen today.

We had great school spirit and we practiced on the streets and also on the field.
The band would march down the football field and then turn inside out for the return march across the same field. Majorettes/baton twirlers were fair game as we were the first ones through. We ran the gauntlet to immerge once again in the front of the band. I also recall that the trombones marched in the front row in those days. More than one trombone player was known to sneak up and then open the spigot of the trombone and let it drain down the poor majorette's back!

I have so many memories of marching band. It was a wonderful time. I remember that each band would be announced in Civic Stadium and we would enter from the north or the south ends with our Rose Festival Princess right behind. We wanted to be the Queen's band in the Grand Floral Parade because of school pride but also because we could be moved up in the line up! It happened in 1962, one year after I graduated as Wilson's Princess became Queen Cherie.

For the most part, I have continue to lived in the SW Portland area, so had the distinct pleasure of running into Mr. White at Fred Meyer's or running into him at a function. . He was always so happy to visit and glad that I remembered him and our time at WWHS. He was such a softy and although he tried to be gruff, it didn't always work It was a great time and being in the band was a really great experience.

When the "One More Time Around Again Marching Band" (http://www.omtaamb.org/) was formed over 25 years ago, I was one of the first to sign up. I am a charter member and OMT's first majorette/baton twirler. "Get a Life Marching Band" (http://www.getalifemb.org/) is now over 15 years old and between the two bands, we do have a great time. We have traveled to places like San Antonio, Disneyland, Disneyworld, Tampa, San Francisco, Seattle and even Washington, DC for the Presidential Inauguration. We have marched in small town parades all over Oregon and Washington as well. We are all high school, military and college musicians and have marching band in our blood. We are having the time of our lives and it shows! Thanks to instructors like Mr. Robert White, we can continue our love of parades and performances. Some of us have never quite grown up!     Patti (Ransom) Waitman-Ingebretsen, '61

It was early in June, 1959. The senior band students were filing into the band rehearsal hall ready for a full session of marching drill & rehearsal in the football and track stadium. Only 5 minutes had past after formation in the stadium. Mike Folkestad, Drum Major that year, assembled and marched us up then down the field one time, then stopped the band in front of the bleachers when Mr. White blew a gasket. As many were aware of, he was a stickler for perfection and it wasn’t happening. “You have been practicing this exercise for 2 weeks and it looks worse than the very first day of band practice.” On and on, went the reprimand. “You have one more chance, get it right!” Mike reformed the formation, down the field we marched, I see Mike’s left hand raised over his head. He’s holding up two fingers, then the down beat of his baton. “Colonel Bogy” was up. It sounded the best we had ever done, great dynamics, good tone quality, you couldn’t ask for a better drum roll-off and entrance. Even the marching was perfection. Then it happened…… John White, Mr. White’s youngest son couldn’t resist the temptation, he did a glitz on his clarinet, unlike any I’ve ever heard him do. The entire band lost it. Everyone burst out laughing and stumbling. Mike couldn’t halt the band quick enough. Before the band halted, Mr. White was screaming at the top of his voice, “JOHN WHITE, KNOCK IT OFF! Do you think you’re clever? I’ll show you what clever is…..See me after rehearsal!!! I never knew what happened to John after he saw his dad that morning. I often wanted to ask, but thought better of it. A hilarious memory for me while in the band. Maybe you had to be there?
Lawrence Kingsbury, '60

Thank you for discussing the Wilson Fight Song on the excellent (!) alumni web page. Please consider the following amplification: Robert White, our Dad, was Wilson’s Band Director from the school’s opening in the fall of 1956 to 1962. Dad chose the New Colonial March (trio section) as the new school’s fight song. New Colonial was composed by R. B. Hall in 1895. It is indeed one of Stanford University’s fight songs, entitled “Come Join the Band”.  We think it was a great choice and hearing New Colonial today, still a popular march, brings back many memories of our years at Wilson and playing in the concert and pep bands. Respectfully, Jim White ‘59 & John White ‘61

After reading news from others, I thought I would type in a few memories from the late 1950s. I was so happy to see comments from both Jim and Peg Anderson. Peg and I played on the Wilson tennis team (well I mostly tried to play).  Memories of music we learned in our band and orchestra practices at Wilson stay with me still. Mr. White was an immense musical influence for a great number of reasons, but significantly because of the challenging music he chose for us to learn. I too remember Rhapsody in Blue. I remember Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Strauss in a high school band! And Jim Anderson toppling over off the top row in the band room, he of the French horn section. Stars and Stripes forever? I could barely play the piccolo riff once I had an audience. Rogers and Hammerstein music regularly graced our band stands. Mr. White programmed Robert Russell Bennetts' score to 'Victory at Sea'. In the late 1950s we could watch that entire documentary on our black and white television sets in our homes knowing that we could play the very same music to 'Victory at Sea' in our high school band. Emily (Emmy Lou) Erickson Borling, Class of '59

I started in the band in 1957 playing the baritone, but moved to the percussion section later as the tympanist (kettle drums which are tunable with a pedal), which. of course, were not carried in parades. So I got stuck with the job of playing the cymbals when the band would march or perform. Wilson didn't have marching cymbols, so what got used for parades were the concert cymbols which, if I recall correctly were about 12 inches in diameter and the Rose Parade was not a 15 minute affair. I learned quickly and moved to the orchestra beginning in 1959 but was always asked to return to my band uniform to play my kettle drums for concerts. I used to drive Bob nuts because I didn't need to watch him or read the music, so I would simply retune my drums for the next key change and sit down or goof off. No matter, when Mr. White, as I called him then, retired and opened a music shop in Beaverton, I would stop in from time to time to visit him. He always knew who I was and we had a great friendship. Wm. Eckersley, Class of 1960

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?  Richard Ditewig, Class of '58

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.  Jim Anderson, Class of '59

Jim - good memories - one thing I never got was 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. Peggy Anderson, Class of '59

My favorite high school memory is band rehearsals. I played the bassoon in marching band. We rehearsed in the band room, of course, and played for certain school events in the auditorium.  The climax of the year came with our band marching in the Rose Festival Parade in June.  We carefully rehearsed our marching movements, turns, etc. while playing not always easy, especially with an instrument like the bassoon. Our uniforms had to be clean, pressed - white buck shoes had to be really white and not that "were once-white" look.  One rehearsal in Multnomah Stadium has stayed with me all this time; all the high school bands had gathered in the stadim to practice marching; substitute band director, Sylvester Tamiesie showed up, sporting his mop of bland/white hair.  Some said he resembled Leopold Stokowski.  Richard Ditewig, Class of '58