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.
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 the band members wearing 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 individually.
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! Continue reading LA CAÑADA DONS MUSIC CAMP 1961