Alumni Newsletter

We publish our newsletter twice a year in the spring and fall. The newsletter is our main source for raising funds for scholarships. We mail newsletters to over two thousand alumni and friends of Arrowbear. This is your chance to keep up with what's happening at Arrowbear, what alumni are doing, and get up-to-date information on future events.

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Enjoy past editions of our Alumni Newsletter on the Archives page.


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Cynthia Endriss Greer 
and Joe Burger

What Are They Up to Now?

Kathy Larsen
D. Wilson Ochoa
Marian Kent
Ray Nowak
Eric & Jane
Rejean Schweitzer Anderson
Bruce Sledge
Judy Arndt Henderson
Marvin Sippel
Larry Evans

In Memoriam

John Ervin

Fran Harding

Joe Burger

Martha Ebersole Eads

Myrtle Seymour Watilo

Kurt Holmes passed away unexpectedly on December 12, 2020. He was a fine clarinet and sax player who was a camper, counselor, and cook at Arrowbear from 1971 to 1988. Kurt was a music teacher and golf coach at his alma mater Wilson High in Long Beach. 

Dolores Delcoma passed away in November 2020. She was a violinist from the early days of Arrowbear. She was a camper and counselor from 1948 to 1954. Dolores was a faithful supporter of our scholarship program and remembered her days at camp with great fondness.

John Ervin passed away on August 29, 2020, after a short illness. He was a fine trombone player who was known as "Johnny Bone". John was a camper in the 1970s and played professionally, often with his brother, Cliff Ervin.

Michael Meckna passed away on May 23, 2020, after a long battle with both Parkinson's and dementia. He was a camper in the 1950s. Through much of the 1960s, Mike was a counselor, trumpet instructor, music theory teacher, and cook. He and Rick Ohlendorf spent at least one totally memorable summer cooking for the camp together.

Kurt Holmes

Mike Meckna

Fran Harding, affectionately known as "Sarge", passed away on May 18, 2020, at the age of 98. She first came to Arrowbear in 1953 to conduct at one of the junior high sessions. The next summer she joined the Choral Session staff and participated in teaching and running Choral Session every summer until 1982. She taught music in Long Beach Unified until 1982, but she remained active in music by playing the bassoon in several musical groups and was president of the Musical Arts Club for years.

Lee Smith passed away on February 29, 2020, after a seven month battle with cancer. Lee was a camper, counselor, cook, and staff member from 1949-1965. He enjoyed playing his violin with the Bakersfield Symphony for many years. 

Lee Smith

Joe Burger passed away on December 19, 2019. Known as "Mr. B.", he was Mr. Ohlendorf's Assistant Camp Director for 30 years. He taught elementary music in Long Beach Unified during the school year and spent the entire summer at Arrowbear helping to run the sessions. His impact on the campers who knew him and the hundreds of young people he started on violin during his teaching career can't be overstated. His passing is a huge loss to his family and to all who knew him.

Rick Bartkus passed away on December 4, 2019, from a heart attack. Rick was a fine trombone player who attended camp in the 1960s to the early 1970s. He had a particular talent of making everyone around him smile. Our hearts go out to his family.

Martha Ebersole Eads passed away on November 28, 2019, two weeks after suffering a stroke. Martha was a camper from 1947 to 1952. She later served as a staff member for a number of years into the 1970s. Martha was an active violinist who played in chamber groups in northern California. We all send our sympathy to her family.

Bruce Ford passed away unexpectedly on November 14, 2019. He was a choral camper who attended camp in the 1970s. His wife and all five of their children attended camp as well. Bruce was active in his church and in his community. He was a kind man with a big smile and an even bigger heart. 

Rick Bartkus

Bruce Ford

Myrtle Seymour Watilo passed away October 31, 2019. She and her husband, William, were campers at the first session of Arrowbear in 1942. Myrtle was a violinist, but enjoyed singing in her church choir. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Ellen Schinnerer Porter Deffner passed away on July 24, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. She was Carole Ohlendorf Dockstader’s first cousin, but she was much more than that. She was a long-time staff member and camp accompanist. Her dry wit, passion for music, and her love of Arrowbear will be missed.

Linda Zeigler Nicholson passed away on March 31, 2019, of complications of ALS. She was a cello player who attended camp in the 1960s. Her friends remember her passion for music. Our hearts go out to her family. 

Ellen Deffner (left) and 
Carole Ohlendorf Dockstader

Lost Arrowbearites

Every spring and fall we receive numerous newsletters back stamped, “Not Deliverable as Addressed. Unable to Forward.” Not only are we sorry to lose an address, but it costs us $1.09 per piece to get a newsletter back. We also receive regular address changes for every newsletter. These pieces cost us $0.57 cents each. Now we’re having the problem that we’re not getting back all the address changes from the Post Office. Your newsletter is being updated and sent on to your new address, but we’re not being consistently notified as in the past. This is where you come in. Please try to remember us during the stress and craziness of moving. We need your new address as well. You can send the new address to our PO Box or you can email it to Many thanks to those of you who let us know when you move.

If you know how to contact any of the following Arrowbearites, please let us know. It's really helpful if you have their mailing or email address rather than just telling us you think they moved to a certain city.

Eric Robinson

Aaron Ziegler

Randy Swanson

Daniel Lusher

John Choi

Denise Amling

Frances Lee

Kevin Giser

Adienne Scarcello

Lois Yum

Jamie Brown

Sachin Pandya

Presley Schlarb

Brad Coleman

Monique  Boustani

Chris & Sue Toppen

Eugene & Sammy Yoon

Andrew Aram Patzsch

Carla Palmer

Morgan Conway

Adam Ainsworth

Jessica Jones

Sally Butterworth

Alan & Karen Bennett

Dean & Natalie Hegenwald

Jesse Sonntag Garcia

Julie Freeman Luckey


Camp Songs

Remember the fun of camp singing in the Orchestra Bowl (now called the Ohlendorf Bowl) and at camp fire? Every year we receive a couple of requests for lyrics to songs sung at Arrowbear. We've typed them up and shared them here so everyone can have easy access. Let us know if there are any songs you'd like to see added to our song list. Just email us or include your request when you send in a donation.

Arrowbear (Fast)

Arrowbear (Slow)

Circle Game

Little Cabin in the Woods






The Cat Came Back

Oh, Give Thanks


Camp Memories

Gary Wrench (1945-1950) recalls that he and Marvin Sippel were proctors for the boys' dorm at night and did gofer stuff for Fred and Edna, including sectional rehearsals, during the day. Runs to the dump at Running Springs in Fred's old Chevy with trailer in tow were a highlight. Somewhere in there was time for fraternization with the girls' counselors.

Marvin Sippel (1942-1950) shared, "I played French horn at both junior high and senior high camps from 1945-1951. I participated in many weekend work parties with my parents, Bill & Vera Sippel. My father, Bill, drove the stake bed truck the first year of camp and many more subsequent years. My mother worked in the kitchen over several summers. I also served as a junior high counselor for two years. I helped take the camp trash to the dump using Fred’s car and trailer. I have a memory of riding in Fred Ohlendorf’s Willy’s coupe with the large trunk filled with instruments, and sometimes all of us too, for All City Senior High Orchestra and All Southern Orchestra rehearsals. Wow, what a ride!" 

Richard Cummings (58-62) recalls that while he was at camp, Ricky and Carole Ohlendorf were his age, and they went on outings in the back of a flatbed truck with sideboards. Maestro Akira Endo was a young counselor. His father, Stanley Cummings, tuned for the Ohlendorfs and for the camp. He has many happy memories of camp and was familiar with the infamous and forbidden “Happy Gap”! Richard was a tuner for Long Beach City College too.

Jayne Lanners Horn (54-64) says that one of her fondest memories of Arrowbear in early June was the work camps. Her family would all go fix, clean, etc. to get camp ready for the first session.

Deborah Trutanich Faust (64-69) remembers the Ohlendorfs as wonderful people. She used to go to their home in Long Beach and pick up boxes of candy bars to sell 'em in order to go to camp. She loved her time at Arrowbear.

Bernice Mitchell Hallam (42-47) remembers the cafeteria with its delicious food such as hamburgers, spaghetti, and pizza. In her home they only had chicken, rabbit, fried liver and onions, fish, and other healthy foods. She remembers Skit Nights in the cafeteria where each table wrote and presented their skit. She believes the prize was you didn't have to clear the table.

Jim Lanners (53-67) remembers that he worked several summers as head and only dishwasher when Lee was the camp "master chef". Lee drove a 1951 2-door Ford Business Coup with no back seat. On the weekends, the kitchen staff would pile into Lee's Ford and off they'd go to World Famous Lloyd's or all the way to Arrowhead. But his favorite trip was to the dump. Lee would allow Jim to drive the stake bed truck back to Highway 18. 

Larry Evans (57-63) remembers that a bunch of counselors would go up with Fred Ohlendorf in the winter, spring, and fall to help with repairs at camp. He and Rick Ohlendorf used to drive a work trailer around. The whole Arrowbear experience was very formative for him and one he remembers well.

Eileen Marrison Halcrow (62-67) remembers being mesmerized by listening to jay Kohorn telling the story of "The Engulfed Cathedral" followed by his performance of an enchanting Debussy piano prelude.

Valorie Fairchild Beer (69-72) shared that at the very first band rehearsal of Summer 1971 first Junior High Session (her third year at camp), the French horn player sitting behind her decided to tickle her. She was startled and dropped her bassoon, cracking off the long section right at the base where it fit in the boot or bottom section. Valerie was heartbroken, thinking her week at camp was ruined. Sarge Harding to the rescue! She lent Valorie her own bassoon for the week, and Valorie got to play the whole time, not missing any rehearsals or concerts. She is so thankful to Sarge for lending her own bassoon to her.

My Next Door Neighbor

by Jim Lanners

It was the first day of Easter vacation in 1958 or 1959. Everybody’s on vacation, my mom, dad, my sisters, me, and  . . . my next door neighbor. My dad says, “You going?” You bet! My dad was already sitting in our Plymouth station wagon, and here comes my next door neighbor. Off we go down Clark Ave, across PCH, turned right on Anaheim St, almost to the river to Paramount Truck Rentals. They had it all ready to go, a really, really big red stake bed truck. My dad says, “You ridin’ in the truck?” “Yup,” I replied. But to myself I said, “Not in the cab.” I climbed into the back of that truck. Standing on my tip toes, I could just see over the cab. Said my next door neighbor, “Jim, you ready?” “Yup.”

When we got back to Heather Road, they already had one of them on the dolly. We’re not talking a baby grand, here, no siree. This was the biggest dang piano made by the hand of man, and not just one, but there were two of them. Rick was there with some friends. My dad and Mr. Rausuer lent a hand. I was told to stay out of the way. And into that big red stake bed truck both those giant pianos went. With my next door neighbor at the wheel of that big red stake bed truck and followed by my piano teacher at the wheel of a well-packed Chevy station wagon, off they went. We’d join them the next day as we always left right after Mass. Where were we all headed? Where else . . . to Arrowbear Music Camp.

It was time to get the camp ready. The first session would be June 14. We had this vacation week and a couple of weekends, and we might just be ready. Oh, there’s Running Springs. Right at the Trading Post. There’s Arrowbear Lake and Don Bosco Boys Cap. The road was worse than last year with some snow and some dust. Finally, we made it. There was that old split log cabin, and up on the hill, the water tanks. There was the mess hall, orchestra bowl, boys’ dorm, girls’ dorm, and Happy Gap. My mom and older sister joined my piano teacher and Carole doing tasks that needed to be done. For my dad, an industrial arts teacher at Lakewood High and jack-of-all-trades, my next door neighbor, and Rick, it was plumbing time. Frozen pipes, septic tank, and lots more. Out came the tools, pipe wrenches, screw drivers, hammers, nails, paint, and brushes.  I left my violin at home, but I did bring my Daisy Red Ryder BB gun . . . but first, there was work to be done.


We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) that provides scholarships to young musicians to any accredited summer music camp in the United States. Scholarships are made possible through the generous donations from the alumni and friends of Arrowbear Music Camp, matching grants, and from members of the general public who support music education.



PO Box 1294
Lakewood CA 90714-1294

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We send out our Newsletter electronically to every alumnus who has given us a valid email address.


Make sure it doesn't end up in your Spam Folder by adding

to your contacts list.

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