‘California Here We Come’ theme for 1969 MHS Band trip

CONTRIBUTED MATERIAL Former Marshalltown High School band member Ann Stephens contributed vintage T-R memorabilia chronicling 1969 Rose Bowl trip. Pictured is MHS band leading Disneyland parade Dec. 29, 1969.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of four articles featuring the Marshalltown High School band’s 1969 trip to Anaheim, Calif. to play at Disneyland, before the Iowa Club in Long Beach, Calif, and and in the Rose Bowl parade. Band member Ann (Schlesinger) Stephens of Lawrence, Kan. provided material and photos.

Forty-nine years ago on Dec. 28, 1969 MHS band students under the leadership of Band Director Jerry Ellingson and associates departed from the Des Moines Airport for Anaheim, Calif. They were eagerly looking forward to an activity-packed trip which included visiting and performing at the renown Disneyland amusement park.

The band led the park’s “Fantasy on Parade” featuring more than 300 Disney characters before a crowd estimated at 80,000.

Additionally, there was a performance for the Long Beach, Calif.-based Iowa Club.

The trip centerpiece was performance at the nationally televised Jan. 1, 1970 Rose Bowl parade.

CONTRIBUTED MATERIAL Former Marshalltown High School band member Ann Stephens contributed vintage Times-Republican memorabilia chronicling 1969 Rose Bowl trip. Pictured front row is Tom Brintnall and Ginny Graves Leyen. Second row, standing - Robin McEntire; sitting - Jeff Wheeler.

Accompanying the group was Times-Republican reporter Lois Jacobs, Stephens said.

She reported daily using a portable typewriter.

“Parents may drive over to Des Moines to see band off – but students will ride bus,” was the directive on the schedule. “For the plane, students should have only coat and a small overnight case provided by the (Marshalltown) Chamber of Commerce. No radios or food. Meal served on the plane. Board the plane quickly and quietly. Sit in assigned seats.”

From official schedules:

Sunday, Dec. 28

– Students check in at Senior High by 9 a.m.

– Departure by bus 9:30 a.m.

– Departure from Des Moines Airport at noon.

– Arrive at Los Angeles National Airport 1:30 p.m. California (Pacific) time.

– Lunch on flight.

– Visit Disneyland 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Students will receive $2 for a meal, admission and 10 ride tickets. (This was the first of two trips to Disneyland. The second was Dec. 29 to perform).

Monday, Dec. 29

-Breakfast – 6 a.m.

-Band practice 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

-Visit Disneyland 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will receive $2 for a meal, admission and 10 ride tickets.

– Perform, 3:30 p.m.

– Dinner at Charter House – 5 p.m.

– Departure for Long Beach – 6:15 p.m.

– Perform for Iowa Club – 8:00 p.m.

Jacobs wrote 87-year-old Marshall Craig, formerly of Allison, lobbied for the band’s Long Beach performance. He guest conducted “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” An audience member requested an impromptu encore of “California, Here I Come” and band complied. Audience members included many former Marshalltonians including Peg Lasson Heald’s aunt.

Stephens has encouraged others to share their personal memories and memorabilia on the band’s Facebook page: MHS 1970 Rose Bowl Band Reunion. She may be contacted at ann-stephens@sbcglobal.net.

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Contact Mike Donahey, 641-753-6611,

or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com