Danny & Family

Just Some Random Stories About Me and My Family

Thursday, August 23, 2007

School Days, School Daze

Last Fri. night I attended a high school reunion of sorts. It was not my graduating class reunion, but rather, a reunion of all band members of my high school during the years of our beloved band director, Mr. Haar. I attended Richard Gahr High School in Cerritos, CA, and graduated in 1979. Mr. Haar was the first band director at Gahr, which opened around 1965, and remained there until 1989. He was such an influence to so many students, and made an impact on so many lives, it was no surprise that a celebration in his honor was finally held.

So yes, I was a member of my high school band, and I'm proud of that. In the marching and concert bands I played clarinet during my first two years, and bass clarinet in my second two years. In the dance band (jazz, big band music, etc.) I played piano. My three sisters were also members of the same band, under the direction of the same teacher, Mr. Haar. The only difference is that Mr. Haar left Gahr H.S. after my youngest sister's first year in high school. Us three older siblings got four years of Mr. Haar.

There's a wonderful web site set up an run by one of the Gahr Band alumni, which I will link for you here. If you feel compelled to, please check it out. If you're looking for my goofy picture, you won't find it very easily. It's under the photo album link - 1979 - a few pages in. The only one I could make out was the band officers' picture, and the quality is pretty bad. I think it was scanned right out of the year book.

Back to the reunion story. It was good to see so many of my friends from so long ago. I have done a poor job in keeping in touch with them. In fact, there are only two that I've seen on occasion over the past couple of years: Janeen and Dorothy. Both were at the little Christmas gathering that Laura and I had last December. But several other band alumni who graduated in my year, and the neighboring years, were there Fri. night, and I hadn't seen them in years. All three of my sisters were there, including Diana who lives in Portland, OR. Diana is on the reunion planning committee, and was there with her husband Scott.

Even my mom, a band booster, and my grandmother were present. There were quite a few band boosters present. This was also nice, because I hadn't seen some of these people (parents of my schoolmates) since about the time we graduated high school.

Laura and I arrived fashionably late, and I started recognizing familiar faces. Laura had not met most of these people, so I made many introductions. (Side note: Laura would have met some of these people - the ones who graduated with me in '79, but we didn't attend my 20th H.S. reunion. It was held the week before our wedding, and we had too many things going on). We found Mr. Haar right away, and greeted him and talked for a couple of minutes. As the guest of honor, he was being sought by many former students.

Laura and I went through the buffet line and sat at our table. My sister Diana had arranged to have other people from my year with me. That included Janeen, accompanied by her husband, Bob; Janeen's mom, Liz; twin sisters Marci and Mary Jo - all the way from Colorado; Mike; and Dorothy (class of '80) accompanied by her mom. Russ (class of '78) squeeze in to make a cozy 11. We no sooner sat down when the video presentation began.

A stream of pictures were shown from all years of students, parents, and Mr. Haar, all set to band music. Some was concert music, some was marching band music, and of course the pictures matched. There was even a tribute to some of the students and boosters who have died since graduation.

Following the video presentation, the reunion chair made a speech honoring Mr. Haar. Then Mr. Haar himself made a speech. As the evening went on, people visited with each other (and Mr. Haar), browsed through old year books and various photo albums that people brought, and otherwise had a good time.

We took a few pictures, which I will post soon, as an addendum to this post. We didn't stay too late though. The following morning was Laura's and Nina's first game of the season; a scrimmage, and we knew we wouldn't be able to sleep in. Right now, cheer leading is running our lives.

I was okay with leaving the reunion anyway. I had visited enough, and I'm not really good in these type of social situations. I was not exactly blessed with the gift of gab; I don't easily strike up conversations about any hip topic, and don't have a lot to say about much anyway. Ask me about something I know about or I like, and I'm good for a couple of words, but other than that - I got nothing. So we left, but it was an enjoyable evening.

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11 Comments:

  • At August 24, 2007 9:27 AM, Blogger Jenster said…

    Sounds like a very nice evening. I'm impressed with your musical abilities. I play the piano - somewhat - and the fiddle even less. I wish I could play either or both better, but no such luck.

    My husband and son both play the guitar and my son plays trombone (for school), bass guitar and a little bit of piano.

    I think music is a great skill to have!

     
  • At August 24, 2007 11:13 AM, Blogger sage said…

    I wish I had been involved with band so that I could play something other than the radio and a few tunes on a harmonic (And I'm not sure I can still do that).

    Sounds like a nice evening--reunions are best if you don't stay all night, or at least that is my one experience with reunions and I haven't gone back to try another.

     
  • At August 24, 2007 12:29 PM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At August 24, 2007 12:32 PM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said…

    Jenster,
    During grade school my mom made me and my sisters take piano lessons. I hated it at the time, but later realized what a positive impact it made on my life. During high school, while other kids were struggling to learn how to read music and play their instruments, I already had a leg up.

    Sage,
    The only thing I play these days is the radio (and my iPod). There's another reason we didn't stay long at the reunion that I didn't mention in the post; it has to do with my jealous wife.

     
  • At August 24, 2007 8:27 PM, Blogger GetFlix said…

    Coming from such a small H.S., it's hard to imagine this sort of reunion. But it's still cool you attended and so many others showed up to pay tribute.

     
  • At August 25, 2007 10:29 AM, Blogger LA said…

    Aw, that sounds like a really nice evening. I'm impressed by the turnout and the traveling people did to pay homage to Mr. Haar. He must be a very special teacher.

     
  • At August 26, 2007 8:05 AM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said…

    Flix,
    It's hard for me to imagine a small high school. My son is starting high school this year, and I attended a parent / student orientation; there were over 300 students in his class alone!

    LA,
    It was a nice evening, and he is a very special teacher.

     
  • At August 26, 2007 9:02 AM, Blogger Diane said…

    I want to learn to play clarinet! sounds nice - did everyone have name tags, or did you do like I would have done, and struggled to remember names as you introduce Laura?

     
  • At August 26, 2007 9:17 AM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said…

    Diane,
    Everyone had name tags with the year they graduated (or identifying them as a booster). Most of the students had their senior picture on the name tag. I struggled anyway, because even with the name and picture I still couldn't remember some of the people. It's been over 25 years.

     
  • At August 27, 2007 12:39 PM, Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said…

    Sounds like a good time! At one point of my public school career, I did pretend to play the saxophone. Music class is rough on the tone deaf though. Musical ability is a great thing to have!

     
  • At August 27, 2007 5:28 PM, Blogger Prunella Jones said…

    I admit I always assumed people who took band were nerds. But I was dead wrong. Turns out band camp was the place to be...

    Sounds like an enjoyable evening.

     

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