Totem Pole Tales-History of the Onaway band program-Part II
Submitted by Nute Chapman and Karan Pregitzer
From Onaway Outlook September 28, 2012

Caption:  Carl McClutchey's Onaway Band in 1936, 1937 or 1938.  Back from left, Dan Mahoney, Jim Shea, Karl Pregitzer,
Doug Smith, Katherine Mero, Mickey Mero, Sebe Morgan, Cliff Roberts, Harold Post, Lyle Ervingham, Bill Badgero, 
Jack Severance, Genevieve Gordier, Bill Painter and Perry Bowman.  Middle from left, Bea Lietaert, Ralph
Severance, Thelma Porter, Genevieve McClary, Bill Comfort, Lucille McClary, Janet Dean, Geneva Jackson, Tess
Lietaert, Tom Mero, Shirley McClary, Arden Roberts and Mr. McClutchey.  Front from left, Marian Mero, Fayetta Smith,
Tom Ellenberger, Harry Moran, Audrey Smith,  Melvin Sioux, Arizona Bowman, Chris Petchell, Pat Malone, Winefred
Wilcox, Gladys Green, Janice Pillsbury, Phyllis Levandoski and Arla Riley.
width="600" Continued from Karan Pregitzer's History of the Organized Instrumental Program in the Onaway Public Schools.
Previous to the beginning of an organized instrumental music program in the Onaway system, there were several early music groups. These groups were composed of students, teachers and others who gathered together from time to time to entertain as well as improve their group skills. Some of the groups were small string orchestras and also combinations of instruments and string groups.
Years ago when the Onaway Catholic School was in existence, there was an "all boys" instrumental band. The Millersburg School before its consolidation with Onaway had several instrumental bands over the years. Many of the Onaway band students received their initial start at Millersburg before coming into the Onaway School to finish their junior and senior years of high school.
In addition to the teachers in Tower and other outlying district schools, we gave the benefit of some music training on instruments as well as vocal skills, there were numerous municipal groups. Every town or village had a city band from time to time. These organizations would flourish for a while then disappear. Later another group would spring into existence, flourish for awhile, only to disappear again. It is almost impossible to record all of these groups and individuals who were the forerunners of the organized public school instrumental music program. Needless to say they all had an impact on our area culture and provided a need for music in their own time and place. This is not a history of these groups and individuals, but rather a recognition of their contributions to the need and acceptance of a formal instrumental program in the Onaway public school system.
It should be said here that this short history does not include all the work done with vocal music. Yet one can't talk about instrumental music in the Onaway public schools without at least acknowledging the great contribution of the vocal music department. Some of the teachers of vocal music over the years are as follows: Lucille Baumgard worked for Supt. Helmer Nelson, Jean Belstrom worked for Supt. Wayne Wilson, Faye Lee worked for Supt. William McNeil, Phyllis Stone worked for Supt. Floyd Merritt, Carl McClutchey worked for Supt. Floyd Merritt, Harriet Lyon and Mary Beth Carmine worked for John Hollander and Carol Post worked for Supt. James Hall.
Having grown up in Onaway and later teaching here for my entire career, the most vigorous and highly organized vocal music program I witnessed came under the leadership of Phyllis Stone. Mrs. Stone not only developed numerous ensemble groups, but ranked in district and state competition for choir, small ensembles and solos. She was active in the production of senior high musicals and children's operettas, and other concerts throughout the year.
The instrumental music program was commissioned by the school board in the mid-30s during the depression. Carl McClutchey, a well-respected musician on the teacher's staff, was called on to organize and direct the new band program.
It must be mentioned here that Lou Maxon was instrumental in initiating this new formal music program. Mr. Maxon, a local Onaway boy who became a well-known advertising executive and established the Maxon Advertising Agency, donated many of the instruments as well as the first high school band uniforms. His continued support of the band program throughout the years provided opportunities for many Onaway students in music.
He contributed generously on several occasions towards new uniforms and other equipment. Carl McClutchey developed and guided the new band program through some of the difficult times. When one realizes the period in which he was the director, the Depression, World War II, the Korean War and half of the 50s before he met his untimely death in 1956, you can begin to see the difficulties that he worked under. During the Depression and the war years, money and instruments were in very short supply, yet he had great success in making a quality program available.
We will continue next week with more of Mr. Pregitzer's music history and pictures.
-Onaway Outlook, September 28, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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