Portland Reunion-Goers Laud Organizers of Event
Former members of the USAREUR Headquarters Band, spouses and friends who attended the Portland reunion over the Fourth of July weekend had nothing but high praise for Scott Phoenix , who, in collaboration with his wife Carol and Ken Erion, coordinated this years' wonderful event. Scott was specifically singled out for his skill and aplomb in handling the innumerable details that accompany such an enterprise. Included in the testimonials devoted to the success of this years' reunion were the following:
Carol and Scott Phoenix - Reunion Hosts
(56-57): "The people who organized and conducted the recent
Portland reunion all deserve a hearty "Well Done!!" Although the
attendance was somewhat limited due to the 4th of July holiday, all of the
participants had a great time. The special activities , including the
river cruise and the Columbia River Gorge and Oregon Coast tours, were well
attended and showed off Oregon's spectacular scenery. The Rose City
(Portland) itself was beautiful and the public transportation systems,
particularly the light rail, were unique and very efficient."
"It was fun renewing old friendships, drinking a beer or two, and reminiscing about our days in the 33rd. Bonnie and I are looking forward to doing it again in a couple of years."
(55-56): "Doris and I enjoyed every minute of our reunion and the
many sights of the beautiful state of Oregon. It was so good to see old
friends and to meet the band members and wives who were in the band at a later
date than my service. It was great fun to remember events that took place
many years ago and hear the events ("war stories") that took place
after I returned home. The numerous meals we had together were delicious -
good food and good company. The trips out to see the Columbia River Gorge,
the river cruise lunch, and the trip to the coast were all events we will never
"We want to thank Scott and Carol again for all the preparations they made for us and for being such wonderful host and hostess during our stay. It was one of the most delightful trips we ever had."
Lou Driever (55-56): "We had another fun time at our recent
reunion. Scott and Carol did a fine job of getting things organized.
The hotel was great, the food was good and we appreciated having our family from
Oregon join us for the dinner Saturday night. We have been in Portland a
number of times but have never seen the city from the river. And thank you
for the exciting taxi ride to catch the boat!"
"We look forward to seeing you in two years somewhere in the East."
(56-57): "I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and
thank you, Scott and the rest of the committee on planning and hosting the
reunion. When I first heard of the small number that would be attending, I
had my doubts. Regardless, I knew that I would have a good time.
Instead, I had a Great Time. Because of the smallness of the group, there
was plenty of time to meet, visit and interact with new friends. I
especially liked hearing everyone speak at the dinner. It was good to hear
the thoughts of those from a different era than mine, a few older, some
younger. As you know, Yosh kept everyone entertained and many of the women
could not keep their eyes off of him."
"For those that did not attend, I would like to say that the event was well organized and everything went smoothly except for the taxi drivers that got lost. The lunch - river cruise was great, along with the weather. The van trips to the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Coast were spectacular with sights to behold and ones that Elaine and I will long remember. When Scott retires, I am positive he will have no trouble getting a job as a mountain tour guide or or as a transportation coordinator at the Hilton Hotel."
"In closing, I would like to say how impressed we were with the city of Portland and the transportation system. Where else can one get a ride from the airport to downtown for 85 cents?"
"Once again, thanks to those who planned it and thanks to those that attended. For those that did not attend for whatever reason, we hope to see you at the next reunion no matter where it is. Please do not let this organization dissolve."
Bob Granzow (80-85): "What a great time we had, "reunioning"
with a former compadre from Bob's time in the 33rd (Dan Rickard), and meeting
numerous others...I (Linda) pre-dated Bob in Germany by about a year and a half,
so I remembered Ken and Celia Erion from those mid-to late- 70s days (even
though I was a member of the 8th Infantry Division Band in Bad Kreuznach, I
often "hung out" in Heidelberg with my friends there, too, such as
Lorelei Giddings, and the late, great Andy Eschelman, David Nutter, Jan (Van
Meter) Bjorklund, and so on)."
"Bob told me right as the reunion wrapped up that he wasn't sure about attending such an event where he knew so few people initially, but afterward, having met so many wonderful folks, he said he was really glad that we had indeed attended. Ditto for me! Our personal favorite tale from the banquet had to be Dr. Melvin Good's piccolo story...what a riot, but truly believable, of course. We also were delighted to have finally met Frank and Carole Schlatter in person, as well as our most congenial and gracious Portland hosts, Scott and Carol Phoenix."
"Chalk it up to a most "wunderbar" encounter, all around. We are looking forward to the next reunion already".
(72-5, 82-5): "This is my third reunion (04 & 06) and what a
blast it was. The numbers were down a little but I did reconnect with some
old friends and met some new ones. The setting was spectacular and the
planning was great and all went off without a hitch.. It's amazing how the
common bond of the 33rd Army Band alumni makes anyone who served there an
instant friend. And so many of them are still busily involved in music in
their local communities. I met someone who served a year or so before me
(Fred Rose) but we knew a common friend and caught up on a lot of memories,
including the late Peter Schwan who was a wonderful friend of the band and its
"The highlight of the weekend was the memories each of us shared Saturday evening during the banquet. What a wonderful way to rekindle the memories. That is not to downplay the gorgeous scenery we experienced around the Portland area. From someone who lives in the really flat part of Ohio it was awesome to say the least. Scott and Carol Phoenix did a great job as tour guides and were meticulous in their planning of everything. Kudos!"
"Of course we had to eat at a German restaurant--it was surely reminiscent of many, many wonderful places in Germany where we ate, mostly for free of course! I am looking forward to 2010 for another great time with old friends--hoping to see lots of alumni since we sort of planned to have the reunion on the east coast."
(68-70): "The reunion was a truly wonderful event! As it
was the 1st reunion for me I was unsure what to expect. My wife Rosemary
and I felt so very welcome by everyone. Scott & Carol & Ken really
made certain we were well taken care of. The excursions really provided
proof of the incredible beauty of Oregon."
"The best part of the reunion was to hear all the stories of the "good old days" in Heidelberg. I know I took a chance at boring everyone in attendance when I read my letter from 1969 describing our "4 day gig" in Mons, Belgium-but what incredible memories!!! We were and are part of a very special group of people who seem to have remained constant over the years. I know I was very lucky to be in the 33rd Army Band in 1969-1970 and was reminded of that again by meeting some really super former members of the 33rd."
"Hopefully we will see more of our former members at the next reunion. We are really looking forward to the next one! Thanks again for all your work in keeping our organization going."
Yoshioka (56-57): "Like the rest of the reunions,
Frank. I consider them outstanding. We will no longer have a chance to see
and greet the people who left us. I was glad to see them in previous
meetings, but regret not being able to see them again. The events that I
attended, the riverboat, reminded me of the times we went on the boat up the
Rhine. I didn't pay too much attention to the scenes, but enjoyed talking
about the old times and about the present. Never knew some of the things
the old guard told me about their lives. I enjoyed it."
"The dinner at the Berlin Inn, reminded me of the times we used to go to the train station to eat. Simple, but great and with the friends and buddies that we made for a lifetime. How can you match that!"
"Meeting new people that I have not met before that have emailed me to say how glad they were to meet me. Exchanged some war stories again."
"Wherever you pick for the next meeting will be OK with me. Leaving time to meet and breaking bread with our buddies is the reason why we go! At least that is the reason why I go."
In April, Staff Sergeant Alan J. Herold of Plans, Operations and Training with the Texas Army National Guard's "Lone Star" Band informed us that Ross Whitlock (93-96) is currently at the Armed Forces School of Music. His email address: email@example.com
Daniel Rickard (72-5, 82-5) informed us
in April that his new address is 319 Liberty St., Ada, OH 45810. He noted
that just the street address changed--nothing else.
I was a saxophonist in the 433rd Band at Ft. Irwin, CA '66-'68. I was company clerk, and my First Sgt. and golfing buddy was Mike Oniffrey, flutist extraordinaire. He'd planned to retire as SFC and join a symphony (I think San Diego was calling) but took a promotion to MSGT in '68 and another 2 yr commitment. I never kept up with anyone there, came back to Texas to finish up my degree, got married, kids, etc.
Rick Rawley of San Antonio, Texas wrote us to talk about Mike Oniffrey (71), saying that he "would have liked to have kept up in retrospect. Mike was the top flutist in the Army at that time - he established pro-pay standard.
"Spent many evenings after golf bbqing ribs, drinking brews, and munching on dried seaweed (!) at his home. He was also the finest pool player I'd ever seen - said he grew up in a pool hall in NYC."
Chan Johnson (56-59) wrote to provide his new E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In June Dr. Mitchell Lutch, Director of Bands at Central College, 812 University St., Pella, IA 50219 wrote to discuss briefly his "research on the United States Army Band(s) stationed in Germany from around 1952-1962 and an wondering if you know of any recordings that may exist of the 33rd Army Band (and/or any other U.S. Army Bands stationed in Germany during those years)? And if so, might I be able to obtain copies of any recordings?" If you have any information that you can send to Dr. Lutch, his email is as follows: LUTCHM@central.edu
Mandisa Templeton, daughter of Robert Templeton, wrote to indicate that he played trumpet with the 33rd from 1972-74. She said: "Whether he is living or not was not noted in the directory, but he is still alive. He currently resides in Statesville, NC. If at all possible, could you update the directory to reflect this information. I am traveling home to NC from FL July 2nd. I am going to make sure he is aware there is an alumni association. My sister was born in Germany, and my dad looks favorably on his experiences when he was in Germany. Thanks so much for your help in advance."
In late June Scott Phoenix wrote to indicate that "George Masche (54-56), the proprietor of Etched in Glass will be providing each of the attendees a mug that has the Sword of Freedom etched on it." And George did indeed provide beautiful mugs for all the former 33rders who were in attendance at the Portland reunion.
Frank Schlatter (56-58) indicated in his correspondence with others that in June he directed a play at the Roswell Community Little Theater entitled "The Little Theater's Production of 'Hamlet.'" With a cast of six women and two men, the play provides playwright Jean Battlo's insightful production of a West Virginia amateur theater group's attempt at William Shakespeare's "Hamlet". (Naturally, with comic results. But at the same time, the play relates to a problem faced by many community theaters: finding a cast that will give credible performances.) Frank cast his wife Carole as the down-on-her-luck New York director who has been hired to produce "Hamlet." Fortunately, she and the other members of the cast turned in stellar performances, all to Frank's great satisfaction---because it was during the rehearsal schedule that he found himself in the hospital for a few days with anemia and then experienced a cancer scare delivered by an attending physician, an assessment that, after an extensive series of tests, has been reversed by Frank's oncologist.
Robah Ogburn (87-91) wrote in early July to say that he "was looking at the alumni directory for the 33rd Army Band and noticed my name was missing. Please add the following information: Robah Ogburn, Trumpet, Home address: 1035 Trinity Place Road, Tobaccoville, NC 27050, Home Phone: 336-983-9018."
LOOKING TOWARD THE NEXT
--THE EAST COAST BECKONS--
When you have had what all participants feel has been a highly successful reunion (as is the case with the Portland gathering over the July 4th weekend!), it is only natural that the thoughts of those who have experienced the previous gatherings will turn to the next event. During our informal business meeting at the Hilton in Portland, it did not require a great deal of time to decide that our next reunion should be on the east coast, where many former 33rders live. With that in mind, CEO Frank Schlatter provided the meeting with information about an organization known as Reunion Friendly News (RFN), which has been instrumental in working with planners of military reunions since 1991. As a previous planner of 33rd ABAA reunions, Frank has been receiving the RFN newsletter for a number of years, thus obtaining a good deal of information about possible reunion sites for our organization.
Each year RFN selects seven or eight locations across the United States where, over the course of several days, invited planners can learn at a "Confam" the ins and outs of holding a reunion and also be provided with site visits to various hotels and attractions within the area. From September 11-14, 2008, one of the Confams will be held at the Hyatt Fair Lakes Hotel in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Frank and Carole are signed up to attend.
It is their hope that during the Confam they will be able to zero in on one or two hotels that would be appropriate for our 2010 reunion. (And let's all pray that the economy improves by then!)
It might be noted that Frank and Carole plan to spend some additional time in Virginia, so it is possible that they may be able to conduct some personal hotel site inspections in places beyond Fairfax County. If you live in Virginia and can recommend other cities and hotels in the region that should be checked, Frank would very much like to hear from you. Indeed, if it can be arranged, it would be great if a meeting in the area with one or more interested former 33rders could be held. It is always important to have local people available to assist with the planning of the reunion. So, if you're interested in helping, please email Frank at email@example.com or call him at 505-622-6898, or write him at 3111 Futura Dr., Roswell, NM 88201.
Relating stories at the banquet. (Left to right, top to bottom): Dee Tonning, Ken Erion, Melvin Good, Bob Granzow, Lou Driever, William Woodworth, Fred McCall, Doug Youra, Ken Winkle, Dick Ernsting, Dan Rickard, Ray McCallister, Phil Jones, David Yoshioka, and Frank Schlatter.
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