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Front Page » July 1, 2003 » Local News » Heritage Days Grand Marshals: Glee Club
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Heritage Days Grand Marshals: Glee Club

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The Huntington Glee Club is Grand Marshal of Heritage Days.

The Huntington Glee Club has been named the Grand Marshal of the Huntington Heritage Days.

In the fall of 1919 at Huntington High School, music teacher, Every Johnson, organized a group of his male music students into a chorus. They became quite popular singing at school and civic functions throughout the area. This group became the nucleus of what was to become known as the Huntington Glee Club. The members of the first group of singers were: Lavar Black, Orlo Furlong, Merrill Furlong, Emmitt Green, Lee Guymon, Jared Ipson, Eldred Johnson, Myron Johnson, Rulon Johnson (Shine), Elwood Leonard, Perry McArthur, Ted R. Nielson, Frank Pritchett, William Rowley and Perry P. Wakefield. The conductor was Every Johnson and the accompanist was Verda Leonard.

This group performed together for a couple of seasons very successfully, but to improve the sound quality, more voices would be required, so male singers in the area were invited to join with the established group. The number of voices doubled and the Huntington Glee Club was born. This club has now survived for more than 83 years.

Names of the members of this group known as the Huntington Glee Club listed alphabetically are: Lavar Black, Eben Fowler, Orlo Furlong, Merrill Furlong, Charles Green, Emmitt Green, William Green, Lee guymon, Neal Howard Jared Ipson, Eldred Johnson, Myron Johnson, Elwood Leonard, Arley Marshall, Sam Mathie, Perry McArthur, G.S. Nielson (Bud), Ted R. Nielson, Frank Pritchett, William Rowley, Ray Smith, Amos Wakefield, Clint, Wakefield and Perry P. Wakefield. Bert Leitz was the violinist, Verda Leonard was the accompanist and Evert Johnson was the conductor. Other members were Zachary Farr, Rulon Johnson (Shine) and Bert Thomas.

This group of young men together with their fine accompanist, Verda Leonard, furnished musical entertainment throughout Carbon and Emery counties. They became quite popular wherever they performed and as a result were much in demand for concerts, shows, fund raisers and various civic and church programs.

For the first five years, the glee club was under the sole direction of its founder, Evert Johnson; but in 1925 he was to leave Huntington for work in Arizona.

In the spring of 1926, Perry Wakefield became the ward chorister and choir director. Soon he would get the glee club together once again and take over its direction. Later that year Perry was called to serve on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kentucky and would be gone for two years. During this absence, Bert Thomas would become the glee club's director until Perry returned in 1928. During this interim, the glee club lost some of its cohesiveness. Members formed quartets or sang solo as well as with the whole group, but upon Wakefield's return home in 1928, Bert Thomas relinquished the leadership back to Wakefield-a position he was to hold for some 37 years until his life was ended in a terrible accident in 1965. Nearly half the total life of the Huntington Glee Club.

During the tenure of leadership of Bert Thomas and Perry Wakefield, the glee club grew to as many as 40 members by 1950. During the 50s, Errol Litster would become an alternate director with Perry Wakefield. This would be the busiest years for the Glee Club since its inception. In 1950, the club president was Ted R. Nielson. Today his son, Hal, is the club president. Tradition has been an ongoing thing over the years.

The glee club has traveled to several cities and towns, not just in Carbon and Emery counties, but to Mt. Pleasant, Nephi, even as far away as Bountiful.

In Bountiful they created such a sensation that one of Salt Lake City's premier music companies, Daynes Music Company, publicized them throughout the Rocky Mountain area in the company publication, the Melodian as a group of artists giving outstanding community service far out of proportion for the size of the town of their origin.

Glee Club members will ride in the Huntington Heritage Days Parade at 10 a.m. on July 4.

Bryce Wilson is the conductor of the club at this time.

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