RIP Richard B. Wagnon

During a time of change in the U.S., (desegregation), some men were outstanding in their leadership, inspiration and unbiased fairness.  Mr. Richard B. Wagnon was a great trumpet player and, at one moment, the Band Director at Santa Monica City College (as it was then called). He was one of the Outstanding whom I’ll always remember, and who helped me grow immensely as a person (and musician).

RIP, Dick. The band plays on.

SMCC Mr. Wagnon 1963

Mr. Wagnon is easily recognized.  We won second place in the Junior Rose Bowl band competition in 1963.  But, does anybody recognize Tim Wiseberg?  😉

Below is a copy of a news article concerning the band in 1963 as provided by CDNC (California Digital Newspaper Collection):  For additional articles on their web site do a Search from their Home page.

Corsair Band, Coronettes Place In Pre-Jr. Rose Bowl Parade

Eighty-five and seventy are the magic numbers when it comes to spearheading school spirit and winning awards for Corsairville. The numbers represent the 85-member Corsair band, and the 70-member Coronettes drill team. Garnering awards is nothing new to the college band, which proved its musical proficiency Saturday by marching away with the second place award in the annual pre-game parade at the Junior Rose Bowl match in Pasadena. Over the last five years, the band has participated in the Junior Rose Bowl parades and never placed lower than third. Last year, and in 1959, the band placed first in open competition. Defending their championship against 20 bands from three states, the baud Saturday played “American, We.” The Corsairs were judged on musicianship, marching, showmanship, and inspection of instruments and uniforms. As an “auxiliary unit,” 11 members of the Coronettes’ drill team provided “additional flash for showmanship,” according to band director, Robert Zachman. The band had spent one and a half months preparing for Saturday’s competition, said Zachman. Part of their practice was appearing in the Huntington Beach parade, in which they won the first place award. At last year’s televised Pro Bowl game, the Corsair band and Coronettes won further praise when the Los Angeles Times called their half-time performance “the best musical since the Greek Theater closed,” according to Mrs. Kay T. Crawford, Coronettes director. The band again appeared on television last summer when it performed on the Vic Damone “Lively Ones’ program. The band, which will appear at the Pro Bowl game in the Coliseum on January 12, is “larger than most junior college bands,”  while Coronettes is the “largest junior college drill team in the nation,” according to Mrs. Crawford. “1001 Nights” and the “African Safari” show, two examples of the programs that the band and drill team present, are “100 per cent original,” as are the rest of the shows, according to Mrs. Crawford.

SMCC BAND PLAYS AT JR. ROSE BOWL—The 85-member Corsair band is shown performing in Saturday’s Junior Rose Bowl pre-game parade in Pasadena. The Bucs garnered the second place award.