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Willow Creek Continued...Chapter 38- Sound's of Music- The 60's were an era for music in Willow Creek. Folk music had gained wide popularity and bands like Peter, Paul and Mary and the Kingston trio were topping the charts. One of my favorite teachers had gotten several students together and formed a folk band. They got a couple of gigs up state at a few clubs. I loved to listen when they practiced wishing that I knew how to play a guitar. Sometimes I would sing along as they played. For some reason the teacher contacted my folks and told them they should get me a microphone. Not knowing anything about this sort of thing they gave the teacher money to purchase one for me for my birthday. The music industry was changing fast enough to make your head spin. The British Invasion had started.The culture of the young people in Willow Creek was also beginning to change. The days of Fabian, Bobby Darrin, Frankie Avalon, Spin the bottle, drive ins and make out party's were now things of the past. Beetles the Rolling Stones and a few other groups like the Troggs were holding claim to popularity. But there was also a new up welling of local bands that started to make their mark on the charts. Rascals, Four Seasons were finding their way the top ten. The California sound of the Beach boys and Jan & Dean were also very popular. By the late 60's many of these music styles began to melt into each other. With all the racial unrest and protest of the draft and the war in Vietnam some of the fast slipping folk groups found new life in the recording studios. Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs popularity at the collages put then back on top. Rock bands like Crosby Stills Nash & Young and The Byrd's started encasing protest into their song, To quote the words from one song by Bob Dylan{ the times they are a-changing} I can recall one particular student in our high school in Willow Creek. His hair was long almost shoulder length. He wore the strangest looking color coordinated cloths and shoes.. He was given the nickname Surfer Joe for the lack of any other way to describe his appearance. Most people looked at him as one very strange fella. Who would have believed that he was a mirror for style that would become the norm. He was mod before anyone even knew what it was. Funny how people laughed at him for his appearance. Only to try and look just like him in the years to come. He was also a gifted artist and I had heard he found some fame with his drawings in the days that followed after high school.
The Beetles popularity hit our town like a runaway train. I can still recall the day we all combed our hair down in a mop style worn by this new favorite group. Although our hair was sum what short we all did our best to try and capture the Beetles look. Our principal and all the teachers went crazy limning us all up against the hallway wall. They insisted we all put the part back in our hair stating that this was unappropriated dress for school. Boy if they only new what was coming just around the corner. This was the beginning of the local basement or garage band. Music was starting to go on an uncontrolled collision course with it's self. Rock, Folk, Pop, Blues even Country were all crashing into each other. Once the smoke cleared what we were left with was the sound of our generation. I'm not sure what caused so many of us to start up bands but at one point you could walk down the street I lived on and hear guitars and drums blasting on almost every block. This strange phenomenon was noticed by the major TV networks. The Baby Boomers as they are currently referred to were spinning far more turntables than TV tuners. FM radio station's were also raking in a large share of this music minded generation. Networks would have to come up with a way to pull us back. Some of my friends started jamming together and suggested we put together a band of our own. We had a friend who lived up the street who was a drummer. I took out the microphone my music teacher had gotten for me and we started our band. Now it was just a coincidence that there was a family who lived up the street from us who's father worked for one of the major TV networks. He had been given an assignment to do a special on the rise of the Basement or Garage bands. Our band was contacted for a part in the special. Fame was already knocking at our door. We worked as hard as we could to get several songs down tight for the show. It was all set they gave us the date for the film shoot and suddenly everything came crashing down around me. Our vacation reservation was for the same week as the film shoot. My first big shot at fame just flew out the window. Our band did do the interview although I personally never got the chance to watch it. The guys said it went well although nothing more ever came from the airing of the program. By 1965 Television networks started airing more music based programming. Their was one show in particular that was based on the older Dick Clark's show, American Bandstand. The show featured many of the best American and British acts of the time also spotlighting new rising stars. The reason I bring this up is because although my dreams of fame had somehow slipped through my fingers there was another local group of my friends from the other side of Willow Creek that seemed to be about to make it big. This had all come about with the help of one of our own Willow Creek teachers. This teacher was somewhat of a world traveler it appeared. Recalling how on one particular occasion the entire school was sent to the auditorium to watch a film of a trip his family took to Europe. The film showed many of the famous places such as the Eiffel tower and Notre dame. We found it to be interesting although several of my friends and I couldn't help but wonder why we never saw our teacher in any of the film footage. Eventually agreeing that he must have been the only one to operate the camera. Anyway some how it seemed this teacher had contacts in the entertainment business. So after choosing one of our local garage bands I have previously told you about he began a promotional campaign for the band. I remember how every Friday the band members would get out of school early in order for them to fly out to California. They all were wearing the same outfit that distinguished the group. Boy was I envious of those guys. The entire school was very excited to have one of the local bands making it to the big time. They even put on a special concert for the school and that was really cool. The band got their spot on the Action TV show and it appeared they were on their way to fame and fortune. But something strange was going on in the background of all this excitement. In between classes some of us would hang out in the boys room. Sometimes taking a few puffs from a cigarette. On two of these occasions the teacher I've spoken to you about entered the bathroom. The first time he grabbed me by the back of my neck and lead me out. This seemed strange because teachers never touched their students. The next time he again grabbed me by the back of my neck but this time he threatened to put my head in the urinal if he caught me in the bathroom again. At that point I decided to mention what had happened to my folks. I was told to try and stay clear of the teacher and there was to be no more hanging out in the boys room. As far as I was concerned that was that, I just went about my business. What I didn't know was the fact that my parents had brought this information to the school board. party dresses for teens
Now by this time some of the parents of the band members were starting to become concerned. It seemed that the teacher had taken a considerable amount of money from them under the rouge that is was needed to put the band over the top. As things seemed to slowly come to a halt with band their concerns grew. The school started to look closer into the teachers credentials. I can't even imagine the shock when they realized he actually was not a teacher at all. His papers were fake and he was an impostor. He was quickly arrested and that was the end of the bands career sadly some of the parents got stung for a large amount of cash. After that not much more was heard about the whole incident until the day one of my friends did a strange thing. He decided to take a corvette from a local dealer for a joy ride. He was always a bit crazy and this was one of his best stunts ever. The cops chased him through five towns before he finally pulled over. When they placed him in lockup he was shocked to see his teacher in the next cell. We all had a good laugh after hearing that story. It wouldn't be till years later that I would bring up the subject of the teachers abusive behavior with some of the band members. It seems they all had a similar problem only on a larger scale. I guess it was a good thing they caught this guy when they did. Still I cant help but wonder that after he finally got out of jail did he decide to change his profession. Maybe he is in some small town somewhere in the Midwest practicing law or medicine. Just a thought!