MEMORIES IN FOCUS: When bands were big, 50 years ago
The Marion High School Band of the 1969-'70 school year posed for this portrait in the band room (originally a gymnasium) on the lower level of the high school building.
Fifty years ago, before Title IX mandated that sports be co-educational, high schools typically participated in only football, basketball, track, and golf, all for boys.
Occupying a much more central position were musical organizations, including high school bands.
More than one-third of the 233 students at Marion High School in 1970, before consolidation with Florence High School, performed with the high school band.
Band practice began even before classes started, with members marching up and down city streets to prepare for performing at the county fair in Hillsboro, Labor Day in Florence, Old Settlers Day in Marion, and at halftime of most football games.
The band traveled to Kansas State University to participate in Band Day there and was the only high school band selected to perform for a sixth consecutive year at an annual music festival at Kansas State Teachers College, now Emporia State University, where the band competed against schools from larger enrollment classifications.
Directed by Conrad Steinel, the band was considered one of the finest in the state and performed at winter and spring concerts in Marion in addition to its other engagements.
Front row, from left — Shirley Helmer, Denise Wiens, Pamela Slusser, Karen Kjellin, Denise Schlehuber, Betty Linn, Joann Popp, Joan Elling, Jane Lentz, Debra Link, Beverly Bowers, Melinda Hett, Marilee McGinness, Patti Vinduska, Jeannie Widler, Rae Jean Woerz, and Deborra Case.
Second row — Patricia Wood, Rita Lais, Sandra Anderson, Shelley Batt, Pat Regnier, Pamela Griffith, Dorothy Lentz, Brenda Richmond, Geraldeen Warneke, Cathy Newlin, Darlene Vinduska, Diana Weber, Cynthia Druse, Jeffrey Longhofer, Willabeth Meier, Rebecca Wood, Jack Loomis, Daryl Enos, Jo Mueller, Jonell Friesen, Ginger Helmer, Janel Klose, and Teresa Hett.
Third row — Brenda Foth, Melanie Hett, Howard Gantz, Sandra Hoover, Cherri Ottensmeier, Katheryn Regnier, Linda Wray, Pamela Harp, Teresa Case, Karen Pankratz, Janet Stika, Kendra Lundgren, Lisa Holmes, Helen Annis, Mark Rathert, Marcia Steinel, Dale Hanson, Deborah Vogel, Kenneth Lundgren, Leo Waner, Patrick Heinz, Edward Hett, Dannie Jewett, Roger Hannaford, Paul Swan, Michael Jackson, Sherie Christensen, Clare McGinness, Brad Case, Richard Britain, and Steve Widler.
Back row — Linda Bernhardt, Sue Wood, Michael Edmunds, Gregory May, Christopher Costello, Sharon Kroupa, Laura Brose, director Conrad Steinel, and Eric Meyer.
Last modified May 7, 2020