Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, September 26, 2010, pg. 8

It was great to see Albion High School class reunions taking place last weekend during the Festival of the Forks, especially the class of 1960 with their 50th. Next year the Class of 1961 will be having their 50th, and I have something they might be interested in.

Several years ago I was in Monroe, Michigan and dropped by a second-hand store to see if they had any historical items. To my surprise, I found two 10-inch vinyl records (duplicates) labeled "Albion Public Schools Presents Spring Vocal Festival, May 12, 1961. I purchased both copies; I have no idea how they ended up in Monroe. 1961 was during the time when Washington Gardner High School was packed solid with students and classes were full. Students were kept busy with lots of projects and activities.

Both sides of the record label give the name of the student pianists performing on the recording: Sue Bobbitt, Mary Bryce, Marilyn Zeluff, Mary Jean Arquette, Julie Taffs, and Ann Chauncey. Philip Steen was the Director of Vocal Music, and Sharon Rogers was the Vocal Music Teacher.

Side One features the following selections: "Born to Be Free, performed by the Festival members, and the Seventh Grade Chorus; "Ex Ore Innocentum, and "Go Not Far From Me, O Lord by the Festival Chorus. Also on Side One is the "Hallelujah Chorus, by "L. Beethoven, according to the album label. That selection should be interesting, since the version we all know is written by Handel. Hmmm. It was performed by the Senior High Choir. Finally, the Senior High Girls Glee Club performs "I Heard a Forest Praying.

Side Two features selections from Hans Christian Anderson, performed by the Senior High Choir and Glee Club; "The Fiddler performed by the Festival Chorus, and "The Nation‘s Creed performed by the Festival Chorus and the Seventh Grade Chorus. Also found on Side Two is a favorite song of the era, "The Happy Wanderer (Fa-la-ree, Fa-la-ra, etc. you remember it), and finally MacNamara‘s Band performed by the Seventh Grade Chorus. I wonder how come the 7th grade singers got to be in the recording and not the 8th grade"

In looking through the 1961 Breeze Annual there are photographs of the Glee Club, and the Senior Choir, both forming the shape of a cross, and seated on the WGHS auditorium stage.

If anyone would like to borrow this album and record it onto a CD or MP3 format, you are welcome to contact me. People should definitely hear these voices and piano sounds from 50 years ago. I listened to a few selections on a turntable. I wonder how much these albums sold for and how they were distributed. How many of our readers remember this record? Is your voice on this as part of a choir? From our this week we present a photo of the 1961 "Spring Vocal Festival album.

Albion Public Schools Presents Spring Vocal Festival, May 12, 1961

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - October 1910

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