LA CAÑADA DONS MUSIC CAMP 1961

The forerunner of the Bellis Music Camp.

Mr. Lawrence B. Bellis, music director at La Cañada Junior High School, organized an annual summer band and orchestra camp beginning in 1957. It took place shortly before the school year started. Incoming, continuing, and outgoing students were invited. Group leaders, identified by their white sailor’s caps, were alumni. The very youngest student attendees, going into the 7th grade, were not quite 12 years old, and graduates heading for 10th grade at John Muir High School were typically 15.

This 1961 event took place after the La Cañada schools separated from the Pasadena school system, and right before the start of the first year under the new organization. None of the teachers at the junior high continued with the new system.

Mr. Bellis moved to Pasadena’s Elliot Junior High, and Douglas Coe was hired to replace him at La Cañada. Both outgoing and incoming music directors worked together at this camp, easing the transition for us band and orchestra members. In addition, Olaf Frodsham of Caltech was choral director at the camp.

MrBellisResize
Lawrence B. Bellis (1907-1974)

There used to be an online bio of Mr. Bellis, but I could not find it. I do remember that he directed a band in Honolulu during the war in the 1940s, and there was a photo with everyone in Hawaiian shirts.

Everyone in this big photo loved Mr. Bellis, with his demanding direction of band and orchestra, but also with his sense of humor when dealing with us as individuals.

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Click this thumbnail to enlarge.

The large photo has been divided into 14 top-to-bottom slices, numbered 1 to 14, left to right. Each slice lists its camper names and you access a slice by clicking on its thumbnail in the above group. The top row has numbers 1 to 7 and the bottom row has 8 to 14.

A few attendees have entries in wikipedia, imdb, or other locations on the web, for which links are provided. These can be seen by clicking on thumbnails 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 14.

My copy of the big photo is creased, as is the greatly-faded roster attached to its back, but I did manage to decipher 115 of the 119 names. The school annual, Don Dias ’62, was instrumental in confirming some of them. Otherwise, the big photo actually did survive a half-century in the closet!

The 115 identified names are listed alphabetically by last name, with photo number. If you can supply any of the names, please let us know!

Bob Alder p6
Ellie Annin p1

Peggy Baker p3
Phil Barnett p7
Maryel Barr p4
John Beal p9
Gina Beane p10
Dick Bellis p6
Lawrence Bellis p8
Peter Bendheim p3
Helen Bennet p11
Mark Benson p10
Connie Blair p3
Jim Briggs p8

Judy Chisum p5
Douglas Coe p5
Nancy Coffman p5
Pam Coker p13
James Collado p9
Ken Collins p7
Vicky Conant p7
Doug Cooper p14
Linda Cornwell p11
Lenny Crowley p3
Alec Crowley p9

Dianne Davis p9
Richard DeGrey p2
Barbara DeGrey p4

Susie Feihler p11
Barbara Feldman p10
Nancy Fisher p13
Bruce Fraser p10
Mike Freeman p4
Susie Freeman p4
Carol Freund p10
Olaf Frodsham p9

Cathy Greene p11
Steve Griggs p7

Barbara Hale p1
Kathy Hangos p1
Tom Hangos p9
Susie Hanson p3
Mark Harmon p1
Tom Hazlett p7
Bob Hendersen p12
Barbara Henderson p10
Melinda Henry p4
John Herndon p3
Gaye Herring p12
Colleen Hickey p6
Darryl High p14
Virginia Hilton p3
Craig Hobson p14
Jerry Hogle p3
Bill Hoiland p6
Rodger Hudgens p9
Judy Hunter p6
Scott Hutchason p14
Sue Hutchason p8

Richard Johnston p14
Bruce Jones p2

Lee Knier p2

Don Laharg p4
Paul Laperruque p13
Jim Lathrop p5
George Lawatch p12
Susie Linn p5
Rene Loescher p1
Richard Lovejoy p9
Bob Lyons p9

Martha MacMillan p12
Barbara MacMillan p5
Bob MacNeal p5
Marlys Marsteller p14
Loren Marsteller p4
Linda Martin p1
Greg Martindale p7
Rick Munson p11
Ann Meriwether p6
Greg Millikan p5
Jim Mullendore p12
Diane Muller p4
Karen Muller p4

Jim Nunn p2

Kathy O’Niell p14

Pennye Parker p12
Dick Parker p9
Karen Patterson p1
Cam Patterson p5
Susan Putnam p14

David Robinson p14
Mrs. Ross Hutchason p6
Pete Roth p3
Chris Rowe p10
Chip Rubsamen p2

Anne Schmidt p12
Clark Sherer p12
David Sherer p13
Dean Sherer p13
Mr. Robert Shotwell p7
Mrs. Shotwell p7
Robyn Shotwell p1
Van Snyder p1
Connie Solomon p14
Dick Southwick p5
David Stevens p8
Larry Stevens p8
Jean Stoffer p2

Roger Vencill p11

Jim Wagner p12
Eric Williamson p8
Claire Woodson p13
Craig Woodson p6
Dean Wullenwaber p14

Fred Yowell p8

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One thought on “LA CAÑADA DONS MUSIC CAMP 1961”

  1. I was there in the summer of 1957 and was possibly an instigator of the whole thing. I had attended Arrowbear Music Camp in the summers of 1954 or 1955 thru 1957 and was a counseller there in 1958 (the year I graduated from John Muir HS). Came back to LCJH with tales of how beneficial the music camp experience could be.

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