1959 Senior Band

1959 Anchor, p. 49 1959 Anchor, pp. 57-9 1959 Anchor, p. 57
Band Sweetheart Evelyn Thomas ('59); Drum Major Norman Dick ('60); and Color Guardsmen ?, ?, ?, and Steve Gillis ('61) Senior Band

(This image enlarges in two sections.)

Varsity Flagtwirlers - Evelyn Thomas ('59), Juanita Whitaker ('59), Carolyn Smith ('60), Mary Catherine Todd ('59), and Joan Sammons ('60)
03/13/04 03/14/04 03/13/04
New Contest!
Too many details will spoil
the fun!

Guess the identity of this pretty former NNHS flagtwirler from 1959, and win a prize.

(No, Jim and Eleanor - the prize is NOT $20,000!  - See the pictures on the front page.)

Send your entries - along with your class year and your full mailing address to:



 Early April 2004
A 1959 Flagtwirler holding her 1959 NNHS Flag!

 Within mere hours of its posting, JoAnn Stewart ('64) of TX
became our winner for correctly identifying the still gorgeous
Mary Catherine Todd Kilpatrick ('59) of VA.

Congratulations, JoAnn! 
Send me your mailing address - and, uh, be patient!


Here’s a picture for you that I took two weeks ago in Virginia during a recent visit to see my mother and sister in Newport News. This is a picture of a an "official" 1959 NNHS Flagtwirlers Flag along with an "official" NNHS Flagtwirler from the Class of 1959. Perhaps it would be fun to see if anyone from that era can guess the identity of the mystery twirler. Thanks for all the updates. 

- John Todd ('64) of AK - 04/22/04

This WAS fun, John!  Thanks to you and Mary Catherine, and to JoAnn for being so clever!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 04/23/04

Webdoll & Flautist,

As a follow-on to your stunning Junior Band portrait in the 1961 Anchor, I opened my 1960 Anchor and this picture fell out. As the Blues Brother exclaimed in their moment of enlightenment, "THE BAND!" This "official" photo shows the musical trio of (from left): me, the classy Bill Gruver (’62 - of Northern VA, like me, a Preacher's Kid [PK]) and always energetic Solo Trombone First Chair Bill Prillaman (’60, matriculated at VPI) decked out in our white dinner jackets, pegged pants and Penny Loafers. Sorry you can't see the late Verlin Smith ('61), Billy Fowler ( '61, he drove a great Studebaker), and Ken Lipscomb ('63 - of Northern VA), who comprised the T-Bone section.

Trombone Trip playing,
"Trio for Trombones"
Norm Covert ('61), Bill Gruver (’62 ), and Bill Prillaman (’60)
  We were outfitted at Spigel's, just around the corner from Washington Avenue on 32nd Street (across from Nachman’s). Memory fails me on the name of the wonderful old guy who fitted us.





The indefatigable James P. Wilson directed the Typhoon Marching Band in this picture of the Spring 1960 concert. We played an arrangement called, Trio for Trombones. Also, identifiable in the pictures include (far left): Mary Ann Milne (’60) on flute and (center) Wally Craver (’60) on tenor saxophone. We were privileged to be part of a terrific band -- both musically and as a marching unit. As in 1961, we met each weekday morning at 7:45 a.m. and practiced our routines for the football halftime shows, parades and concerts. Several of us, including Drummer Donnie Baker (’61) met early for a light breakfast at the Dog House on 29th Street before heading down to the daily rehearsals. Thanks James P., wherever you are.  
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Mr. and Mrs. James P. Wilson
of Emporia, VA

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 08/15/07
WOWZERONI!!! Thanks, Norm!


The photo of the trombone trio forwarded a few days ago was probably taken May 28, 1959, not 1960 as originally claimed.

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 08/22/07
OHHH!!! Thanks again, Norm!


 Newport News High School Music Department Annual Spring Concert
Thursday, May 28, 1959, 8:00 PM
A discovery in my basement “archives” reveals the official program for the 1959 Annual Spring Concert by the NNHS Music Department and it includes the listing of  “Trombero” by Frank Cofield, with the players listed in order: “Bill Gruver (’62), Bill Prillaman (’60) and Norman Covert (’61).” The picture being stored in my ’60 Anchor fooled me. I did not receive a ’59 Anchor, having been transferred from Warwick High School in February and probably stuck it in there for safe keeping. The same musicians, however, would have been in the same positions on stage in 1959, except that Bill Gruver was in the "Solo Chair" (that week anyway) and we three traded chairs a lot in the ’59-’60 school year. The 1960 program would help my dilemma.

The program fortuitously lists each member of the band -- as well as the chorus, then directed by Virginia Lapides, who had replaced the long-time Typhoon Chorister Eleanor Sherman.

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 08/22/07
WOWZERONI-RINI!!! Thanks again, Norm!

I'm sure there's some perfectly good reason why I never posted this picture of the Dance Band from the 1959 Anchor before, but nothing really comes to mind. It's been sitting in my files ever since I scanned in on 03/30/04!
 Newport News High School Dance Band

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 08/24/07

   And by the way, the old first floor Band Room is where Summer Band classes were held. 
I attended those for several years myself.

Newport News Summer Band School - 1959

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 08/24/07

Web Maestro,


Thanks for all the corrective work on “THE BAND,” plus your posting the picture of the ’59 Dance Band.


A quick attempt (front row from left) shows Wally Craver (’60), my good pal Jack Harrison (’61) of VA, Ed Harris ('60) of VA, Bob Cohen ('60) (both terrific guys), Sammy Lipes (’60) and Jim Workman ('61) of NC on saxes (alto, tenor and baritone); trumpets, don’t recognize far left, then Chuck Anspach (’60) of NC, Al Simms ('60) of VA; and Drum Major Norman Dick (’60) of TN; only recognize Bill Prillaman (’60) and Bill Gruver (’62) of Northern VA on trombones; can’t see the Sousaphone player nor drummer.

It does bring to mind the Dixieland Band we put together in late Spring 1960, mostly from the urging of Jack Harrison (’61) (before he met Edna Whitcomb Harrison (’65) of VA and ‘lell in fove’). With tenor sax in hand, Jack convinced Joel Margolis (’61) of Northern VA that he could play his clarinet as well as Pete Fountain (real close!); Jack and his Dukes of Dixieland records helped me learn the Dixieland genre on the trombone; he coaxed Donnie Baker (’61) to play drums; and we handed Trumpeter Robert (Buddy) Helterbran (’61) of PA sheets of music we had put together and the band was off and running. There were a couple others who sometimes “sat in” with us, but I regret I don’t remember their names. We played for a couple pep rallies (especially “On Old Newport” and “Washington & Lee Swing”), as extra act at a couple after-school events, plus a Christmas Party for employees of Nachman’s in December 1960. Sorry I don’t have a picture of us performing. Joel was the heart of the band and no one beat the drums like Donnie! James P. Wilson never fully adopted us, but we were free spirits, playing by the rules and he helped us when he could.

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 08/24/07
 WOWZERONI!!! I never had any idea that the Dance Band was initiated by the students themselves!
Thanks so much for that valuable bit of history, Norm!


One correction and 3 more names for the Dance Band in your last newsletter.

Bob Cohen on Sax was Class of 59 and not Class of 60
John Nickey, Class of 59, was the trumpet player on the left
Dance Band Drummers were  Joe Carney, Class of 59 and Donnie Baker, Class of 61

- Al Simms ('60) of Northern VA - 08/27/07
AHA!!! Thanks, Al!

Hi Carol

I went onto the Skyline Drive this past October and visited Luray Caverns. I had lunch in the town of Luray and afterwards drove around a little. What great memories that came flooding back. I think it was 1959 but not sure. Anyway it was the first time that NNHS band won best band in the Apple Blossom Festival. We stayed in a motor hotel just out side of town. I don’t remember it looking as nice as the photos now show, but anyway I remember being a little jealous of some of the other school bands, because they were staying in the Hotel Mimslyn. The motor hotel we stayed in is now called The Luray Caverns Motel. Some of the trumpet players (about five of us) stayed in one room. I only remember being with
  Chuck Anspach ('60 - of NC). There is a clock tower across the road from the motel but I don’t remember it being there then. It could have been, maybe someone else will remember?

I do remember one night a bunch of us walked the mile or so to the Mimslyn to crash the parties that were going on and we got stopped by a local Deputy on the way back to our room but can’t remember exactly why or what the outcome was. I think he contacted Mr. Wilson and then let us go. I do remember one neat thing. It was after the parade and a bunch of us were gathered closely around the only phone, which was an outside pay phone. Mr. Wilson called the Festival Director to find out how we did in the standings. Well, as I said we were all gathered around closely. I was standing about two feet away with Chuck Anspach only about a foot away. We were all watching and listing intently to Mr. Wilson when all of a sudden his expression changed dramatically. He let out a loud Whoop and jumped straight up in the air. The only problem is that when he came down it was directly on top of Chuck’s foot. I think Chuck ending up loosing his big toenail.

This coming year it is being held April 23 – May 2, 2010!
My, how it has grown. SEE YOU THERE.

- Dicky Dawes ('60) of VA - 11/28/09
YOWZERONI - Poor Chuck! Thanks, Dicky!
I believe you're right about the May of 1959 date.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall that it was the first year that Norman Dick ('60 of TN) served as drum major.....

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