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Honoring music makers

WHS Alumni Band members (from left) Justin Wass, Brenda DeSmit and John Nordell applaud as director Jon Loy unveils the new Glenn K. Evensen plaque for the school, while Naomi Evensen looks on, at the conclusion of Tuesday night's Band Bash at the Worthington High School. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Tuesday evening's Band Bash featuring the Worthington High School Trojan and Middle School bands ended on an especially high note -- the presentation of a plaque honoring one of the band program's most beloved past directors, the late Glenn K. Evensen.

The presentation was the culmination of a 2012 band reunion that paid tribute to the careers of Evensen and his predecessor, Gerald Niemeyer, over King Turkey Day.

"A group of 45 alumni musicians spanning the years of 1948 to 1984 gathered to remember and celebrate the careers of two directors, Gerry Niemeyer and Glenn Evensen," explained John Nordell, who presented the plaque on behalf of the alumni group. "We rehearsed for two days and then took part in the parade and put on a memorable concert on Saturday evening."

Evensen was band director in the Worthington schools from 1962-1982. His family was on hand for Tuesday's plaque presentation.

"I was a member of the Trojan Band 42 years ago," continued Nordell. "Every day when I went to band rehearsal, I saw the plaque remembering Mr. Niemeyer, but I didn't really appreciate its significance. Now I have come to realize that the plaque does much more than honor the memory of a teacher. It reminds us of the love for music that a music teacher instills in a student."

Addressing the student musicians, Nordell encouraged them to pay attention to the plaques -- the new one honoring Evensen and an older one commemorating Niemeyer -- that will hang in the music hallway at Worthington High School and use them as inspiration to make music an important part of their lives now and in the future.

"The group of alumni that gathered last Turkey Day wanted to give future generations of students a reminder of the legacies that they are building on," said Nordell.

In conjunction with the Evensen wall plaque, Worthington High School initiated a new student honor --the Leader of the Band Award -- given to a deserving senior band student. The award recognizes the legacies of three prominent music directors: Victor Moeller, founder of the WHS band, composer of the school song and winner of 15 state championships; Niemeyer, who succeeded Moller and took the band to new heights, including a 1954 appearance at the world-renowned Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Ill., before his untimely death in a 1961 auto accident; and Evensen, who was known for his showmanship, LP recordings of the Trojan Band and for elevating the marching band program.

The first Leader of the Band Award was presented to two students: Megan Blanchard and Gordy Moore.

The inscription on the award reads as follows:

In recognition of an outstanding senior instrumentalist who has shared boundless energy and musical versatility in pursuit of musical excellence and participation within the Worthington High School Band Program.

This award is annually sponsored by WHS Band Alumni and honors the lasting legacies of WHS Band Directors Victor Moeller, Gerald Niemeyer & Glenn Evensen.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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