Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dick Chapman remembers:

Hi everyone,

Sandy Ghent Cafourek asked me to elaborate on my memories of the band during our school days, like who the directors were, etc. Rather than reply to her directly, I thought I would send the answers to everyone, so that any errors can be corrected. Read on if you are interested…hope it doesn’t get too boring:

Some of what I write below is found in a post dated August 24, 2006 But I have added other memories.

Al English left after our seventh grade. He was followed by Don Davis (nicknamed Duck, but I’m not sure why), who came from the very small town of Star City , Arkansas . Davis, who seemed to be more interested in playing in a jazz band than he was in teaching youngsters about music, lasted two years. He used what we disdainfully called “canned shows” for our football halftimes, and these didn’t have any originality whatever. I don’t remember much else about him. Warren Daunhauer, nicknamed Bud, followed when we were in 10th grade, so we had him one year at the old band hall and two years at the new. He was a taskmaster who would probably be fired or sued today, but it worked back then: our band’s quality vastly improved during these three years, and probably was at our peak during our 11th grade (the class just ahead of us, graduating in 1962, had some very fine musicians).

We did not have an auditorium at the new high school, so we performed our winter and spring concerts at the old school on Vine Street .

Daunhauer was either truly sick or was a hypochondriac, and we were too young to know which. He may have been an alcoholic or other substance abuser, or maybe dosed up on medications? He was mysteriously absent during the last few months of our 12th grade, and I distinctly recall Gene Witherspoon, the esteemed director of bands at Arkansas Tech College, coming down to Hot Springs to be our director for the Spring Festival in Hot Springs in 1963. Witherspoon had been a mentor and father figure for Daunhauer at Arkansas Tech. Daunhauer had grown up in tough times and was sort of lost as a kid…hanging out on the docks of New Orleans and assorted other unpleasant circumstances…and somehow Witherspoon adopted him as a kid that needed a second chance. It worked out, as Daunhauer became a favorite of Witherspoon’s. It’s weird how specific memories arise after 45 or 50 years, isn’t it? I am just now seeing, in my mind’s eye, a scene of Bill Benz making a presentation to Witherspoon as we all stood in the parking lot of the Holiday Motel in Hot Springs …a nice briefcase, as I recall. Why do I remember this, and where has that memory been residing in my brain all these years, only to pop out just now?

Anyway, after the festival Witherspoon returned to his outstanding college band, and we were led Jan Shaw, the Tech senior who was doing his final semester practice teaching at Searcy. Daunhauer left at the end of that year…but he did return to the band late in the year because I remember a very fond farewell conversation we had at Lion Stadium after our graduation, and he had directed the band (absent the four seniors who were in the graduation ceremonies: Sandy Ghent, Bill Benz, Larry Smith, and myself). He was disappointed that I was not following in his footsteps into public school music, but I knew (from watching him disintegrate under the pressure of wanting to get more and more out his students) that I didn’t want that sort of life. He, along with the earlier Al English, did instill in me a lifelong love of music, and I will be forever grateful for his encouragement and advice. At the time, I didn’t appreciate his having whacked me up upside the head with the heavy end of his baton (sitting in the first row of players, I couldn’t avoid him) when I was not paying attention. But I know now that this was the only way he knew to push me to do what needed to be done. I also appreciate his lecture to me after I lost first seat to Wendy Coven in tryouts…I was embarrassed to be beaten by a mere 10th grader, but he asked me whether I had worked for those tryouts or goofed off and we both knew the answer. When I challenged Coven after the mandatory two week wait, and won because I finally started working, I got another lecture with the same question. Good man, Daunhauer was. Wendy was very, very gracious about the whole thing. She knew that I was devastated but she never was smug or demonstrated anything but courtesy to me during that time she was sitting ahead of me. I don’t know whatever happened to her but I would sure like to thank her for being nice about that experience. By the way, a challenge involved three pieces, one selected by each of the persons involved and one by the director. I still have a reissued edition of the exercise book that we used in those days, and I can point out the piece I selected.

I have other memories of Daunhauer. When he first moved to Searcy he lived in an upstairs apartment, I think on Center Street but I’m not sure. He married a woman from Augusta and I remember a bunch of us students helping him move his furniture and all his ham radio gear to a place on the east side of town but I can’t remember exactly where. He disappeared for a while after our graduation, and was probably out on the road as a contract performer. He was a French horn player in college, but he knew there was no money in that so he used the saxophone to put bread on the table. I learned he was playing in a nightclub in the Lafayette Hotel in Little Rock (was that club called the Gar Hole? I can’t remember). After I was of legal age I went down there one evening and listened to him play…the group was pretty good. I had one other contact with him: in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, he was teaching music at Forest Heights Junior High School in Little Rock, and I dropped by there one time and we had a nice chat, promising to stay in touch but we all know how those kinds of promises play out. I lost track of him after that. About 2005 I met a woman named Jane Daunhauer, who was in an investment club with my wife. I asked if there was a connection, and she said she was the widow of our own Bud Daunhauer. I didn’t press for info about his death, and I didn’t ask whether she his first wife, the woman from Augusta (I’m thinking she was not this same woman, but I don’t know for certain). I do volunteer income tax return preparation for low-income seniors (a service of AARP) and now Jane is part of this volunteer project. I think I know her well enough now to ask for some details, if the circumstances are right.

Time to digress. I just did a Google search of him and found this info from a ham radio web page:

Warren "BUD" Daunhauer


Bud Daunhauer

Warren "Bud" Daunhauer, age 68, of Little Rock, passed away Dec. 16, 2002. He was born July 30, 1934 to Edith Erwin and Warren Charles Daunhauer, Sr. Mr. Daunhauer was a talented musician who became interested in music as a boy growing up in the jazz-saturated French Quarter of New Orleans.He began playing the saxophone in clubs as a teenager when he decided to make his career in music. He attended Arkansas Tech University where he graduated in 1956 with a music degree. During his career he played a multitude of instruments including the drums, saxophone, and piano to name a few. He traveled the United States playing with a number of musical groups accompanying many known performers including John Denver, Carol Channing and Cher . In Arkansas , Mr. Daunhauer is most widely recognized as a talented band director from Forest Heights and Pulaski Heights Jr. High Schools in Little Rock where he taught for 20 years. He loved teaching and considered it the most rewarding aspect of his life. He kept in contact with many of his former students and enjoyed visiting with them. Mr. Daunhauer had a lifelong love of amateur radio where he was known as W5WZN. May he rest in peace.

Don’t know what he did between graduation in 1956 and his coming to Searcy in the fall of 1960. I may ask Jane, in case she knows.

More digression: I also stumbled across a lawsuit In Federal District Court in which Daunhauer was a nominally named defendant. The plaintiff, Chris Corley, was challenging a policy that required conforming haircuts of band students at Forest Heights . The plaintiff wore long hair as a symbol of his opposition to the involvement of the United States in Vietnam . A mitigating position was offered by Daunhauer, namely that the student could wear long hair but couldn’t play in concerts or other public events with the band because he was in violation of the stated policy of uniform appearance. This position was rejected by both the student and the school district, as both were seeking a decision on the constitutional issues. Judge Henley decided that the policy was constitutional and was being properly enforced. I don’t know whether that decision was appealed but I don’t think it was. See Corley v. Daunhauer, 312 F. Supp 811 (E.D. Arkansas, 1970). I guess these days no one would care, but it was an important issue in those days.

Ok, back to my memories.

The practice teacher Jan Shaw was hired as a full time teacher to replace Daunhauer in the fall of 1963, but I never knew what happened to him after that. Butch Bradberry (I think this is spelled correctly) was a later director…some might remember him as the excellent trombonist in our band who graduated in 1962. I remember stopping by the band hall and visiting with him one time, but I couldn’t bet on when that was. Maybe around 1970? I think Butch was a sales rep for Proctor and Gamble after he left public school music, but I’m not 100% certain about this. After Butch I lost track of the directors. I have a memory of visiting with Butch in 1961 or 1962 and predicting he would be a band director some day, maybe at Searcy High School ; it was weird that this worked out to be true.

Going back to Al English, I also remember being told by my folks that the school district was very reluctant to create a full-time position for a mere band director, so when English came to Searcy on half-salary, the band parents’ organization had a bunch of fund-raisers (and ran the concession stand at football games) so they could bring his salary up to the full monthly amount earned by “real” teachers. I also remember that Vivian Bordelon, mother of Pat (a good trumpet player graduating in 1961, I think he died a couple of years ago) was very, very active in the band parents’ group. I don’t know whether Mrs. Bordelon was involved at the time English came to Searcy, but she might have been. I remember that English came back to Searcy for a visit while we were in high school…maybe 1960 or 1961…and he was a guest at her home; I was a buddy of Pat’s in those days so got invited and went over to say hi to the person that I had idolized as a 6th and 7th grader.

Sandy asked me whether I remembered our senior concert, and of course I do: she played the final movement (the rondo) from Mozart’s famous clarinet concerto in A, and every time I hear that piece I think of her. If you don’t know this piece, try or a listen. It’s a great piece of music and not easy to play; Sandy did a very nice job with it during that final concert. Also during that concert I was allowed to conduct a piece, and I enjoyed the experience.

Larry Smith was the drum major for three years, and had to balance the need to be an enforcer for Daunhauer with being a nice guy. Daunhauer was disappointed with what he saw as a slacker mentality among us students, who were not real enthused with the extra hours of practice he was pushing on us in the early mornings. He wanted to get the band away from the Broadway show tune quick-step style and into more of a regimented, military band style with strict tempos and complicated but orderly marching movements. Arkansas Tech used the military style, and he brought that style with him when he came to Searcy. Larry did a very good job of learning the new style and making sure we players learned it too. I’ll bet Larry’s management talents came in part from his experience as our drum major. It was a pleasure to work under his leadership.

Bill Benz won the John Phillip Sousa award in 1963, and it was richly deserved. This award goes to the person elected by fellow players as the one most exemplifying quality musicianship, leadership, and overall love of music. Bill was our band president and was very popular both with his peers and the younger folks in the band. He went beyond being a mere technical musician and truly immersed himself in musical life. He was the only one of us seniors who kept up with his music, and we get to hear him play with bands when we have our reunions.

That’s about it for now. Each of us has tons of memories we could share, and I hope this trip down memory lane hasn’t been too boring for the readers. I hope each of you will take time to reflect a bit, and to enjoy the memories. We can’t and shouldn’t live in the past: it probably wasn’t nearly as good as we remember it, and we have the present to concern ourselves with. But it’s nice to go back occasionally and pick out the good parts and smile.

Best to all,

Dick C.


Anonymous Bill said...

Thanks for sharing your memories of Al English and Warren Daunhauer. Two men who unquestionably had an influence on the direction of my path in life. I remember when we first signed up for band, 6th grade I think, I went into Mr. English's office and he ask me what instrument I wanted to play, and I said "trombone." He said "stick out your arm as far as you can." I did and he said "OK". (Sixth position). I ordered a Super Olds, just like his. That was so cool.
Daunhauer, well I had the upmost respect for him. He was alot of the things I wanted to be. When I went to see him play at the clubs in Little Rock, I thought that was really cool. That's what I wanted to do too.
Thanks for the memories.

4:31 PM  

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