Arrowbear Music Camp
Hall of Fame
For the 55th Reunion in 1996, the Arrowbear Music Associates Board of Directors created the Hall of Fame to recognize the staff members whose contributions to Arrowbear made the experience of a summer music camp magical for the campers. We have added additional names at each of the successive reunions. The honorees are recognized with a bronze plaque that is permanently affixed to the back wall of the Orchestra Bowl which was renamed the Ohlendorf Bowl some years ago.
Cliff Kusaba’s original idea for this came when he suggested to the Board of Directors to recognize those individuals who made a difference in the lives of the campers when they attended Arrowbear Music Camp. The Board voted to recognize Joe Burger, Fran Harding, Robert Gibson, and Dr. Michael Pappone as the first group of inductees to the Hall of Fame.
Music educators from Long Beach and across Southern California have had a major influence in the lives of thousands of students. The Hall of Fame is one small way to recognize and remember their positive impact on young musicians.
Joe Burger came to Long Beach in 1953. He was an elementary music teacher in Long Beach for 35 years and spent each of those 35 summers at Arrowbear as Mr. Ohlendorf's Assistant Director. In 2005, Mr. B. was awarded The Veteran Teacher Award in recognition of his dedication to Music Education by the Southern California Schools Band and Orchestra Association. He was one of the conductors for our Reunion in 2006.
Ellen first went to Arrowbear at the age of 10 to spend part of the summer with her aunt and uncle, the Ohlendorfs, and Rick and Carole, her cousins. She did this for several summers, until at the age of 14 she actually became a camper and began accompanying soloists for the Musicale evenings. That experience was huge fun for her and invaluable for the sigh-reading opportunities and getting to know so much repertoire. Eventually, Ellen became a counselor and then a staff member, often filling the role of accompanist at the Musicales.
Phil was the vocal teacher at Wilson High School In Long Beach with Nicolas Furjanick as instrumental director. Mr. Ellithorpe directed the Choral Session in the 1950s and 1960s. He always chose selections from popular musicals for the campers to learn at their session. The choral campers enjoyed this as a chance to perform music that was different from the more serious compositions they learned in their schools.
Ellen Deffner (left)
Carole Dockstader (right)
Akira graduated from Wilson High in Long Beach where he played under Nicolas Furjanick. In the late 1960s, Akira led the Long Beach Symphony while he was teaching LBCC. He was a camper, counselor, and conductor at camp during the 1960s and 1970s. He was particularly remembered for leading the Reading Sessions and his skill at playing ping pong. He held conducting posts with the American Ballet Theatre and several major orchestras in Texas. He was Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Conductor of the Colorado Ballet until he retired.
Bob taught in Long Beach for 30 years, first as an elementary instrumental music teacher, then as assistant superintendent of music, and finally as orchestra director at Millikan High School. Bob played with the Long Beach Symphony for 28 years, serving as assistant concertmaster from 1960 until 1970. Many of Bob’s summers were spent at Arrowbear where he conducted the junior high orchestras. He was good at construction and even built his own home. He used those skills to help build some of the buildings at camp.
Fran, or "Sarge," as she is affectionately known at camp, first came to Arrowbear in 1953 as a teacher at one of the Junior High Sessions. In 1954, she joined the Choral Session staff and helped run the Choral Session every summer until 1982. She rehearsed sectionals, conducted a girls group, and was Dean of Girls. She worked in Long Beach as a music teacher for 30 years. She continued to work as a substitute choral teacher in Long Beach long after her retirement.
Carl was on the faculty at the very first session of Arrowbear in 1942. He was a fine conductor who worked at Camp until 1947. He could play anything on the piano and loved jazz piano especially. He led the jazz band at Arrowbear and served in many other capacities. He had a fabulous personality and the young people adored him. Carl was also in the USC Marching band and a good friend of the USC Band Director, Dr. Clarence Sawhill. Carl died of a brain tumor at age 47.
Fran "Sarge" Harding
Allan is a recognized authority on conducting pedagogy and wind repertoire, was the Professor of Music, Chair of the Conducting Faculty, and Director of Bands at University of Colorado at Boulder from 1978 until his retirement. Considered one of the world’s leading teachers of conducting, Allen McMurray has guest conducted and taught in 45 states and 15 foreign countries. Allan conducted the band at Senior Session from 1985-1994. During several of those summers, he offered a conducting class at camp for his students from the university who came with him to work with the campers.
Jim was the Dean of Boys and Mr. Ohlendor’s assistant during the 1940s and 1950s, a job that would later become Joe Burger’s. He taught band and orchestra at Jefferson Junior High in Long Beach before moving to Wilson High to teach English. He was an excellent teacher who never pestered his students. He just put the assignments on the board and expected the students to follow through. He was great with the campers. He was very easy-going. He remained calm and never got mad or raised his voice. He could do any task needed at Camp because he was a man of many talents.
Dr. Clarence Sawhill
Dr. P. was a conductor for many years at camp. He started teaching in Long Beach in the 1950s at the junior high level. He moved on to conduct the orchestra at Millikan High School and then to Long Beach City College in the early 1970s where he remained until his retirement. He always conducted one week of the Senior Session at camp. He loved music and was very passionate when he conducted. It was crucial to keep a close eye on his baton since one never knew if he was going to change the tempo to better express the musical emotions he felt while conducting the concert.
Dr. Michael Pappone
Dr. Sawhill conducted the High School Session band at Arrowbear for 20 summers. Dr. Sawhill was Director of Bands at UCLA for 20 years until he retired in 1972. He liked to rehearse a piece from back to front. Often the group wouldn't play it from beginning to end until the concert. When he was pleased with how the music sounded, he shouted, "That's the time!" Dr. Sawhill was patient and kind. He loved the Kitchen Symphony. After his passing in 1982, the former Band Bowl was renamed "Sawhill" in his honor.
Charlotte was one of the counselors and staff members at the first session of Arrowbear in 1942. The Note biography from that first summer said about her, “Charlotte Brejcha is a graduate of Redlands University where she majored in music. Charlotte is an excellent pianist, French horn, and string bass player. At camp she worked with the brass section. Besides her splendid help musically, Charlotte’s pleasing personality and social leadership aided greatly in the success of the camp activities.”
Sarah first attended Arrowbear in 1966 on a campership from the Glendale Rotary Club. Sarah was a camper for three years before applying to be a counselor. She spent many summers in that role with wonderful colleagues at Arrowbear. As a camper and staff member, she helped organize a wide range of activities: swimming relays, English dinner, festivals, carnivals, the Lions' Club dinner, and The Kitchen Symphony. Fifty years later, many of her friends are from her first few years at Arrowbear.