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Here is a note from Jerry Quam. He lives in Santa Barbara, Ca. and as it turns out, very very close to the recent devasting fires there: Mike, thanks for the call, the first nite of the fire was a cross between "Apocalypse Now" and "Star Wars" my house is on the bottom of the riveria and i am situated alone in a roughly 1/2 mile long narrow canyon that runs uphill very steeply, with the house 400 feet from the street, just where the canyon gets steep; the huge helicopters where taking on water from the high school parking lot (2 blks away) anf flying over the house up the canyon to the fire; they where literally 25' over the roof, back and forth every 3 minutes; house rattled and shook, and the noise was un-real; then every once and awhile I would walk down by the front gate and see one helecopter would be hovering in front of the house at 20' off the ground; up behind the house is a glow lighting the whole skyline; and no way to see exactly where it was; so we didnt sleep well that night! Helecopters; bright sun lights; noise,smoke; no power; trying to move l4 cars out to the adjacent parking lot at the front of the property; no fun!!! anyway it is over (for now) anyway; thanks again for the concern; got lots of calls, very nice; see you soon; Jerry Quam
Please extend my sincere thank yous and appreciations to all that worked so hard to put this wonderful reunion together. I was truly filled with crazy laughter, super emotions, and a little unfotunate sadness with a few classmates that are suffering with very series diseases. All of the events prior to, during, and the after-glow of the reunion will be with me forever. I am still processing all of the gatherings and the meeting of old friends that took place while I was in Fargo. Please keep in touch - we can talk more later.
From Ruth Engh Westrick.
To all members of the FCHS Class of 1958:
A huge thank you to all of you, who attended our 50th reunion celebration at the Plains Art Museum, July11 &12., for having a most joyous time renewing old friendships and perhaps making some new ones. It was a delight to see each of you glow as you realized you knew that old, gray haired person standing expectantly in front of you perhaps holding their hand over their name tag.
The most amusing part for me was watching the “special groups” try to come together for their grade school and junior high pictures. What a rowdy , unruly bunch of fun loving people packed together like sardines, We must appreciate the effort of the photographer, Liz, and hope that she possesses magical skills that will produce an image that allows the spirit of the group to shine through as there is little chance of the pictures being magnificent.
The memorial tribute to our classmates was the most difficult for me to finish. I knew what I wanted to do, but it just didn’t seem to be enough. However, watching as many of you lovingly traced the names and dates on the board with your fingers pausing ever so slightly with personal memories, it became enough. You each changed “the something is missing” into a personal tribute for our deceased classmates . Thank you
To those of you who were not able to come to the reunion for a variety of reasons, you missed a great party! But, I can assure you that you were remembered and included in the many stories shared.
I must also thank everyone who sent in pictures and completed the biography sheet. The pictures were attached to a Fototree and the bios were placed in a book that many people looked through and found interesting. The book continues to grow as more people realize their bios can be a part of the whole story of the Class of ‘58.
The planning is done, the party is over but the feeling of good will will last for a long time.
Keep in touch - Ruthie Engh Westrick - RHWESTRICK@peoplepc.com
Note: Also see the Furys Page on This Web Site.
I talked with Steve earlier today and he followed up with this e-mail. Let's get the word out on this and try to get a big turnout for the event in May. Let me know if you can attend. Steve will reserve some up-front tables for the Fargo-Moorhead group.
Hello from Costa Rica! I would like to contact you concerning an upcoming event of interest to FCHS alumni, especially those of the classes of the period 1957 - 1962. Basically, it is this:
At the dawn of the rock 'n' roll era, in the late 1950's and early 1960's, one of the best known local groups was the Furys, an energetic group of self-taught performers drawn from Fargo Central High School's student body and alumni. The band was started by Lynn Skjonsby ('56, ?), Dick Dunkirk ('57), Steven Wroe ('60) and Marc Wroe ('62). Later on many other FCHS students were featured in the group: Mike Colby ('60), Ken Harvey ('62), John Leppart ('61), Frank Weible ('60), Joe Savageau ('62), Keith Skue ('62), Jim Stillman ('58), Bill Maki ('61), Joe Erickson ('60), Johnny Ginakes ('58), as well as others from the Fargo/Moorhead area, including Bob Becker (Moorhead), Jeff Mooridian (Glyndon), Ron Rekken (Horace) and Terry Erdmann (Casselton), and a few from further away, such as Danny Garland (Louisiana), Fred Scott (Omaha), and Doug Spartz (St. Cloud).
For their contribution to the development of rock 'n' roll music, as performers and as a medium for musical training and exploration for the first generation of Fargo Moorhead musicians, the Furys are to be inducted into the Mid America Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the Medina Entertainment Center, Medina MN (near Minneapolis) on May 2, 2008. Other FCHS musicians from other Fargo area bands (including Kenny Schossow, '64 ?) are also going to be recognized at the same event.
The Furys were contemporaries of the other two leading rock groups of the Fargo Moorhead area, in that time: "Bobby Vee and the Shadows" (all FCHS students) and "Terry Lee and the Poor Boys" (Moorhead High students, mainly). The band was also known as "Steve Rowe and the Furys". Their musical career spanned the period from the beginnings of hard rock in the late 1950's through the coming of the Beatles and the British Invasion, in the mid 1960's. The Furys were regular performers at the early school "canteen" dances, the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Fargo, major ballrooms and music halls in the Red River Valley and Minnesota Lake country, and throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Their music tended toward the eclectic, incorporating novelty and comedy numbers, jazz, blues and regional hits from other areas of the country, along with the standard classic rock and "top 40" numbers. With time the band evolved into a night club show band, they toured the west coast, as well as the industrial midwest.
The Furys recorded and released only one record: the instrumentals "Minor Chaos" and "Malaguena", both of which were signature pieces of the group's repertoire. They also backed up or shared the stage on road tours with a number of top ranked artists, including Buddy Knox, the Everly Brothers and Conway Twitty, in appearances in the Midwest and Canada. Furys' musicians were highly respected in the evolving new genre of rock bands, and many went on to perform with such national level stars as Bobby Vee, Judy Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis and dozens of others.
I will be in contact with some of our old friends and fans from the Fargo Moorhead area, to organize transportation and lodging for those that wish to attend the event in Minneapolis on May 2-4. We also wish to have a FCHS Alumni get together during the event. We will have good photographic coverage of the event with news of the FCHS alumni, for the Cynosure.
I will call you soon at the numbers I have on file (701-371-9578 and 701-232-6548). If these numbers have been changed or are no longer valid, please let me know.
Bandleader, the Furys (1960-67)
FCHS Class of 1960
I'll be driving Betsy (Nelson) Cervinka, Nancy (Kingsrud) Stannard, and Sidnee (Lee) Andersen Crawford to Fargo on July 11th. Since we'd have to go through 'rush hour' traffic, I don't think we'll make it to DL. It takes at least 45 minutes, or so, to cross the Twin Cities during 'rush hour'. We'd have to leave here by 7:30, so we'll have to play it by ear.
We are staying Sunday night (after the reunion) at the lakes before coming back here on Monday.
I'm still working on Linda (now called, "Lia") Berg. She is the only one out of our original 'Potluck' who hasn't made a reservation yet...She has over 100 animals in shelters that she is responsible for, and it would be very difficult to find someone to care for them...But I haven't given up yet!! I recently wrote her a long letter and told her I'd call in a few weeks. She doesn't have e-mail, so it's 'snail mail' and phone calls...
During the reunion we are staying at the Prairie Rose Inn (the old Oak Manor on S. Univ. and I-94), as the Street Fair is being held downtown that weekend.
Thanks for all your updates! I didn't get a March letter???
Cathie Oliver Walstad email@example.com
Thanks for sending the neat article about Jim Lanier. He was quite good friends with Jim Hoffman, my next door neighbor on Pelican Lake. When I heard that the Iditarod was running, I told my husband that I needed to check out to see how Jim Lanier was doing and he said, at his age, I'm sure he's not doing it anymore. How delighted I was to find out that he is STILL doing that grueling race, and doing it so WELL. Also interesting about his white dogs. It looked like he was in 8th place at that point, but I didn't want to download something to find out the order. Do you know how he placed at the finish line?
Sandy Nelson McCabe
Note: Seventy-eight finished the race with Jim coming in 20th. There were another 18 non-finishers. Click Here For More Info
Happy Holidays to you from the land of outdoor ice rinks and sliding hills and occasional sub-zero temperatures. Sound familiar? It has been an amazing year as many of our missing classmates have been found and added to our contact lists. I truly appreciate the assistance that I have received from all of you who have sent in information and addresses on our classmates from the class of '58. We still have some missing classmates who are listed on this web site (note: located here) and we would love to receive any information from you that might help us find them. Maybe this would be a good time to send Holiday greetings to friends you went to school with. Old friends are great friends and we'd love to see you all at the reunion July11&12, 2008. See you in a few months. Ruth Engh Westrick
In the 24 Oct 2007 On-line Fargo Forum, there was an article about the naming of a new high school located at 70th Ave/25th St South and the map showed an existing 76th Avenue. Holy Moly !! When Dad bought our house in early 50's, at 1513 13 1/2 St (Roger Maris (Maras at that time) lived next door for awhile) 16th Ave was last one. Streets were not paved for a couple years. Sometimes Dad had to park on 13th Ave (last paved avenue - couldn't park on 13th St because it was the highway) and walk home. In '56 I had to park my car in the ditch in front of our home and it was still that way when I left for the Navy in '58. South and next to 16th was the Bohnsack (or maybe Barnsack) farm and I think a little further south from that was our classmate Billy Cook's farm. East of that was all slew and sand pits. Bob Schmieg, Dick Remme, and I used to go hunting for rabbits in that area. Riverside Cemetery is now on 21st Avenue but in early fifties, it seemed like it was in the boonies and took forever to get there with scouting groups (Yes, the scoutmasters would have us camp overnight right next to the cemetery !!) That was interesting. 76th Avenue - Wow ! Mike Peterson
(Note: In response to notification of Janet Smith's passing)
HI MIKE. I TAUGHT SCHOOL IN WEST FARGO FOR ABOUT TEN YEARS WITH JANET SMITHS DAUGHTER AND THE EVENING SHE PASSED AWAY I WAS ABLE TO GO AND SEE HER AND JUST HOLD HER HAND AND TALK ABOUT SOME FUN TIMES WE HAD HAD IN JUNIOR HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL. HER DAUGHTER WHO IS A PHYSICAN HERE IN THE PHOENIX AREA WAS THERE AS WAS ONE OF JANETS SONS. SHE SUFFERED FROM ALS AND FRONTAL LOBE DEMENTIA. AS RECENTLY AS THE SAT. BEFORE SHE DIED HER DAUGHTER HAD TAKEN HER OVER TO THE MOORHEAD CENTER MALL TO SEE SOME PEOPLE SHE HAD WORKED WITH AT A SMALL DRESS SHOP THERE BUT THEN SHE TOOK A TURN FOR THE WORSE ABOUT THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK. VERY SAD. SANDI MONTE (POTRETZKE)
It is fun seeing all the names pop up, people you have forgotten about, one of these days I am going to get busy and find Pat Hays if I can. She was my maid of honor in my wedding and we have lost contact over the years, she has never been at any of the reunions so far, so I will try my hardest to fine her.I don't know if you remember Joanne Fatland at all, she left Fargo right after her soph year. Joanne and I have been writing and Emailing for years, I told her about the reunion and asked her if she would come, maybe some of her soph friends would be there and it would be so much fun to have her in Fargo again, she said she would come, so if anyone remembers Joanne, she will be there. She still as pretty as she was, she went to all the schools on the south side. I don't know how to send this to everyone !! Can you !!! I am not too good at this computer thing, just do Email's.
Belva Arneson Grindberg
I have been thinking about the building where we all attended school in 58 and I seem to keep coming up short as to what was where. I remember that the building was laid out in a U shape with the swimming pool in the middle of the U. And I remember that there were two staircases for access to upper floors on the closed front end of the U, but it seems like, for the sake of safety, there should have been more staircases like maybe at the open end of the U above the two exit doors on the north side of the building. Were there?
Also, on the bottom floor west side from the north entrance there were the metal shop and the wood shop classrooms on the outside of the hallway and the entrance to the boys locker room and the print shop on the inside as I recall. Along the front (or closed end of the U) I vaguely remember an area where we ate lunch on the outside of the hallway, but can't remember what what else was on the outside. On the Inside was the classroom where we had Acapella but that's all I can recall on the ground lever, although at the north end of the east wing there must have been an entrance to the girl's locker room near the exit there.
There were three doors coming into the school in the front or the closed end of the U and all of them required a person to climb steps and enter the building on the second floor. Going east from the center door I seem to recall the school offices but I don't remember what was on the west side of the center door. I know we got into the auditorium from the second floor and it occupied the third floor at the front of the building I think. Up on the stage was a basketball court that was also used for any activities on the stage like Operettas or any programs we attended. Now that I think about it I guess we could also enter and exit the auditorium at the side into the hallways that ran in both wings.
There were lockers along both sides of the hallways that we used and I think they must have been on all levels, but am not sure about that.
I remember having Chemistry classes on the third floor in the west wing in an outside classroom but that's about all I can recall as to what classes where held where.
Perhaps if this gets posted on your website others might write to you with their perceptions of what was where in 1958. It could spur some interesting remarks I'm sure.
We are having the reunion the second weekend in July next year. It will be held at The Plains Art Museum in Fargo. The notice will be in the next Cynosure. We are having a meeting next week to firm things up and will be sending out a mailing sometime after that. Andrea
Here's a note from Buddy McCroskey regarding the efforts of getting a DVD out on the show they did: "The Cynosure is doing a story on our show with pictures for the next issue. The DVD situation is difficult. We have to secure releases and rights to legally distribute it and we are concerned about it. We have what they call an archive copy and we may just leave it at that...we can't distribute it without jumping through all the hoops. We would need the rights for 32 songs, releases from 23 musicians and approval from the Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and JP Richardson (The Big Bopper) estates. It's too complicated for a one time deal. I didn't plan to get this involved. If there's interest, we can run it at our 50th Reunion in 2008. Buddy
04/05/2007 Some other gathering notes from Buddy:
Dear Friends, Let's put a Fargo group together for this event April 26 and 27 (see below). Kathy and I will be on a trip but will try to get back in time to attend. Steve Wroe (Class of '60) is coming from Costa Rica. I'm not sure who's being inducted. Maybe Steve can enlighten us. Buddy
>I'm planning to attend the "Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame" reunion concert on April 26-27 at the Medina Ballroom, near Minneapolis http://www.rockcountryhall.com/ . I don't know whether any of the Fargo crowd is going to make it this year, but I hope so. Circulate the word, please. Thanks. Your friend, Steven Wroe
>Dear Friends, Please note Steve's comments about the Rock/Country 2007 Reunion Show. Sounds like a good reason to get together. The induction of the Furys next year will be a must for the Fargo group. Spread the word. Buddy
>Actually, except for Morris Finney (an outstanding sax man from Grand Forks who had a band called the Charms), I don't think I know any of the award recipients personally. But anyway, the bands and performances have been great every year that I've attended. Next year (they tell me) the Furys are going to be inducted. That'll involve a lot of Fargo musicians, so we'll be able to roust up a crowd to bring down for that event, I'm sure. Saludos, Steven
Hi! Just a note to say that Terry and I, along with some friends, attended the program at the Fargo Theater "The Night the Music Died". It was terrific and we truly enjoyed it. It was a bitterly cold night, but not inside!! Very nostalgic, and so well done. It was fun to see some familiar faces, also. To those who weren't there, you missed a great evening. Mary Olson
Just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed getting the updates on Fargo and the Great Class of 1958.
Mary Jo and I are in the process of moving back to Fargo. Both my wife's mother and my mother are in a nursing home in Fargo and we have to go home and help out.
We have purchased a condo near the nursing home and will be on our way as soon as we sell this house in Virginia. The housing market has been "in the tank" for over a year but we hope it will be good in the spring.
In terms of retirement, I am still "riding the tiger" and hope that my company will keep me on as a consultant while I am in Fargo.
Thanks again, Lon Cooke
Several comments suggesting this show be done at our 50th Reunion. Also many queries if there will be a DVD of it. The answer from Bud McCroskey is 'yes.' We'll post on eMail listing when it's ready.
Mike "Dino" Peterson
I too have fond memories of Mr. James D. Ployhar. I learned to play bass from this very talented man and continued through high school under Mr. Ray Moreau's direction. What wonderful years those were. I was touched greatly a few years ago when I attended my daughter's high school band concert in Tallahassee, FL where we lived at the time. The band played two of Ployhar's band arrangements. I got this warm and fuzzy feeling inside and couldn't help but remember all of the great times that we had in Junior and Senior High School Bands so long ago. After the concert I introduced myself to the band director and told him that the author on these pages were my former band director. Thanks so much for the wonderful memories.
This brings back a lot of memories...I was in Storm Lake with Buddy Knox that night and I was getting ready to go out on the road with him. Thanks for the poster picture. Thanks again
Below are some follow-up notes on the Event from Bud. Also, the most recent Alumni Newsletter has a great article on this subject by Jerry Quam, '58.
Mike "Dino" Peterson
Thanks for sending the poster to our class. I just got word that the show is sold out. We may have to take it on the road.
860 seats in the Fargo Theatre. Thanks for the feedback. Dick and the Shadows plan several more shows. Plan to attend during the week of the Fourth in Detroit Lakes...how about our 50th reunion? Only one show this time.
Like many of us I was at the Moorhead Armory waiting for Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. And then word came of the plane crash. Tragic. Thanks for the poster.
I hope this poster gets through to you his poster is here. . We're having a ball putting this show together. We think it's the first time the acts from the Moorhead Armory have been together since Feb. 3, 1959. Bob Korum ('58) and Dick Dunkirk ('57) are in The Shadows picture and Dick is doing the Big Bopper. Many of our classmates attended this show so pass it on for their information.
Jim Ebsen, class of '59 is the emcee and I'm producing and directing.
Bud McCroskey, class of '58
Greetings class mates, I'm afraid I left the band before I developed fond memories of the experience. I wanted to play the flute at Agassiz, but they were gone by the time I was invited into the band room. Mr. P. insisted I would like his instrument(French Horn). I carried it home every night because I understood my grade would depend on it. The bruises on my calves lasted as long as the kickerino scabs (I don't expect you guys to remember our "Fargo fashion boots!) from winter walks to and from school. I also remember the time an eraser went flying past my nose on the way to connect with someone in the percussion department! I don't blame any teacher for the outburst of temper as I know how easily students can pull even the best teacher down to their level. My short career in teaching Jr. High made that abundantly clear for me. It occurs to me that if Mr. Ployhar admitted to being 80, he was a very young man when he started at Agassiz.
In spite of these less than desirable memories, I have a love of music and respect for musicians who have devoted their lives to their art. I often think about the advantages of the "good old days in public education". Imagine any school providing free instruments these days, or passing out art appreciation books on Friday afternoon in primary school. I can still smell those little brown books filled with masterworks. Precious memories indeed!
Fondly, Susan Bohlig McBride
Yes Donn that makes sense because i'm sure it didn''t fit DAWN... Brooks
Don McLellan! Roger Aus! How great to read your recollections. I'd like to add my own, as a (miserable) second violinist in orcjestras at Agassiz and Fargo High. I have told people in NYC about how Fargo kids were tracked in Junior High by their musical abilities, and they don't believe it. Well, it's true. How great an education we had and didn't know it at the time...Catherine Revland (P.S. These days I'm a not bad classical guitarist.)
Thanks for passing on the Forum article about Jim Ployhar's death. I learned to play the alto saxophone from him in the seventh grade at Agassiz Junior High, where he had a great deal of patience with raw beginners like myself. If I recall correctly, he also (at least occasionally) directed the senior choir at Olivet Lutheran Church, in which I sang. He was indeed a very gifted man and very generous with his talents. May his memory be blessed. Roger Aus
Oh, and I should have added this trivia question: Why was I chosen to be the drum major for the marching band for a couple of years? Reason #2: I definitely was NOT indispensable as a member of the tenor saxophone section. Reason #1: I fit the uniform. --Donn
Yes, and as many of us who played in Ray Moreau's band probably recall, Ployhar occasionally came to our morning band classes, passed out hand-written parts, and had us try out some of his newest pieces. ... I look at the Forum news most days and saw this piece today, but thanks for giving it wider circulation. --Donn McLellan
The Forum - 01/04/2007
James D. Ployhar, 80, died Tuesday, January 2, 2007, in his Fargo home. He was born September 22, 1926, in Valley City to Helga and Roy Ployhar. He graduated from Valley City High School and served in the Army in the Philippines before returning to continue his education, earning a B.S. from Valley City State University and an M.A. from the University of Northern Colorado. He did doctoral study at UCLA. He married Ruth McLain on August 22, 1948, in Durango, Colorado.
Mr. Ployhar began his career as a music educator in Lakota, ND, then spent 19 years as a teacher at Agassiz Junior High School in Fargo. He was a frequent clinician and guest conductor at the undergraduate and university level throughout the United States and many foreign countries.
James D. Ployhar is considered to be one of the most prolific writers in the field of music education. His credits have appeared in well over 800 music publications, his compositions and scores have aired on network TV, and his music is performed internationally in Europe and Asia. Mr. Ployhar's extensive background in orchestration includes work with the Danish Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Ployhar is the author of numerous band courses, arrangements, and compositions. He is the recipient of the National Band Associations Citation of Excellence offered for outstanding contributions to bands and band music. He received the Distinguished Alumnus award from his alma mater, and has been elected into membership of the American Bandmasters Association. He was commissioned by the North Dakota legislature to write a state march, the Flickertail March, and the Centennial Overture.
In addition to music production, he formed and directed the Fargo Theater Big Band All Stars and co-produced the Disney adventure film, Iron Will. He and Ruth enjoyed many activities together including camping, concerts, church activities, and travel.
Mr. Ployhar is survived by his wife, Ruth, and their five children: Steve (Maria), Carol (Paul), Debbie (Larry), Jane, and Doug (Peggy) and 11 grandchildren: Sarah (Jeremy), Michael (Lauren), Laura, Katie, Taylor, Cory, Amanda, Thomas, Timothy, Maggie and Michael, and one great-grandson, Brett.
Memorials are preferred to Valley City State University Music Department, American Cancer Society, Peace Gardens International Music Camp or Hospice of the Red River Valley. Visitation: Friday from 5 to 7 with a prayer service at 7 at Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home in Fargo and one hour before services Saturday.
Funeral: Saturday, 10:30 AM, Olivet Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND.
Burial: Woodbine Cemetery, Valley City, ND.