Alumni band to play at STHS 50 year gala |

Alumni band to play at STHS 50 year gala

Jim Grant/Tahoe TribuneThe nucleus of the South Tahoe High School alumni band that will play well known school songs at the 50th reunion next June get warmed up under the direction of conductor Linda Kurek, center back. They include, from left, front row, Karin Haase-Holmes '83, flute; Brooke Olivares-Laine '83, clarinet; Nancie Norton '75, trumpet; Leona Evans-Allen '78, flute. Back row, Hal Cole '66, percussion; David Mason '74, trumpet; JJ Clause, co-conductor, baritone; and John Upton '61, trombone. Not pictured is Rhonda Dornblaser-McFarlane '72, clarinet.

“Feast your ears with the music awhile” penned Shakespeare in “Timon of Athens.” And South Tahoe High School alumni intend to do just that when the alumni band plays familiar school songs at the 50th reunion gala banquet on June 28, 2003. Part of the weekend events scheduled by the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, the band’s presentation promises to be a highlight.

The district’s music program has been a part of the school curriculum since 1952. Carolyn Reed-Burkhart, one of five teachers then, added music to her core curriculum duties. The first high school orchestra had 15 students. The school board allocated $1,000 for instruments and she purchased four violins, a viola, a cello, two trumpets, two clarinets and a trombone with the sum. A subsequent amount purchased a bass viol, which a student dutifully carried back and forth to school on her back.

Reed also taught instrumental music to elementary classes and combined some of those students spanning the fourth- through 12th-grade to play for graduations. Their efforts were duly appreciated but a record of “Pomp and Circumstance” was used for the following several years.

Reed taught in the district for 7 1/2 years, followed by Jim Hildinger who taught for 29 years. At first, he covered all the schools and also organized the first marching band. JJ Clause was hired in 1975 to share duties with Hildinger, who took over the elementary program while Clause directed the middle and high school orchestras.

Since 1987 Clause had instructed all the elementary school musicians, Linda Kurek has directed the middle school for the past 22 years and Allen Ginter is in his second year of leading the high school program.

From the beginning, with an orchestra of 15 members and an instrumental program not reaching 40, the school district’s music department today has approximately 850 students — 150 at the high school, 300 at the middle school and 400 in the elementary schools. The love and fond memories students have of the experience of creating music is bringing alumni back with heretofore stored away instruments, newly padded and greased, and cheeks and lips sore from picking up where they left off.

Any alumni who would like to be among those who can recreate musical memories may contact Linda Kurek by e-mail at Music will be sent.

Shakespeare also opined, “If music be the food of love, play on…” Go Vikings!

The Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation has distributed its second postcard with information about the alumni reunion of South Tahoe High School attendees 1953 through 2003. The reunion will be held at various South Shore sites June 27 through 29, 2003.

The foundation will be mailing a newsletter with membership and registration information shortly. Anyone who is not receiving this information may e-mail their address to Del Laine at or call (530) 544-6249. Information is also on the foundation Web site at

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