In the last two days, two of our classmates have sent remembrances of John Muir Junior High School, one of the feeder schools for Burbank High.
The first came from Steve Raine, who reported the death of Doug Dillard on May 16, 2012 at the age of 75. If you, like me, didn’t remember who the Dillards were, they were a bluegrass group from Salem, Missouri, who gave evening performances in the Muir auditorium all three years that we were there 1962-1965. The group consisted of Doug Dillard, Rod Dillard, Dean Webb, Mitch Jayne, playing banjo, guitar, mandolin and double bass.
According to an obituary in the New York Times,Doug Dillard was a banjo virtuoso who helped to “introduce a generation of listeners to bluegrass and ended the decade as an early advocate of country-rock.” Steve remembers “They had a playful sense of humor, poking fun at themselves for their ‘Ozark roots’. They were very popular with the Muir students.” One of Steve’s banjo teachers–Bill Knopf–has a music degree from UCLA. When Doug (Dillard) produced a book, Bill was the one who provided the music tablature Bill has an article on Doug coming out in the July BANJO NEWSLETTER.
The other message came from Kenda Vaughan, who posted this photo of the John Muir directors and accompanists on her FaceBook page. Sitting at the piano is Cheryl Boyd and next to her is Linda Duffendack (BHS ’67). Marilyn Williams is on the far left, I’m next, and next to me is Kenda Vaughan. Anyone else recognize the other girls in the photo? I know that quite a few of us are still accompanying! The teachers at the bottom are Carroll Manning – with the glasses (orchestra) and Graham Young (chorus).
I do have one vivid memory of Mr. Manning scolding the pianists who were all assigned to play in the percussion section. He said we weren’t playing the bass drum forcefully enough!