Totem Pole Tales-History of the Onaway band program-Part III
Submitted by Nute Chapman and Karan Pregitzer
From Onaway Outlook October 5, 2012

CAPTION: KARAN PREGITZER'S last band 1984.  Many of these band members have roots in the Onaway area, and many
of their children and grandchildren are in the Onaway Area School System today.
width="600" Continued from Karan Pregitzer's history of the organized instrumental program in the Onaway public schools.
Following the death of Mr. McClutchey in 1956, superintendent Floyd Merritt hired me, Mr. Pregitzer, as the band director. I had extensive experience as a Navy and college musician and was hired to teach speech and band. I taught debate and forensics as well as public speaking for about 17 years as well as directing the band program. Although the debate teams were regular district and regional winners and runner-up for the state championship, on four occasions I had to drop the teaching of speech as the band program had become too large to split time.
In 1972 the band program became my only focus of attention. Onaway soon was able to boast a larger percentage of students in instrumental music than any school around the area. Much of the growth in instrumental music was due to the improved economic conditions of the area and to the instrumental rental program that became available in the 1950s.
During the years I was the director, elementary students were bused in from Millersburg and Tower. Instrumental music was begun in the fifth-grade. The structure of the program for fifth-grade was beginning band, sixth-grade was intermediate band, seventh-and eighth-grade were junior high cadet band, ninth-grade was concert band, and the symphonic band consisted of the sophomore, junior and senior grades. The band activities included concert, district and state band festivals, solo and ensemble festivals, dance band, pep band and basketball games, and marching for football half-time shows and parades. There were a total of 350 - 375 students involved from grades five through 12. The junior high and senior high bands enjoyed great success at festivals, both in the district and state, taking first division ratings on numerous occasions.
When I retired in June 1984, the instrumental band program had a history of 50 years under first Mr. McClutchey and later myself. Two directors in 50 years was a bit unusual for any school.
Since 1984, subsequent directors have been (1984-1987) Darrell Hoard (2 1/2 years), (1987-1989) Charles Taylor (2 1/2 years), (1989-1990) Marian Knap (1 year) and (1990-1991) Charles Taylor (1 Year)
In closing this short history of instrumental music in Onaway, I can say that it is a rare opportunity when one can come home to pursue a career that has provided a good living, as well as years of deep pleasure and enjoyment in music and speech.
Karan Pregitzer
-Onaway Outlook, October 5, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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