They came from all over the state of Arizona. Some came from New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Washington, and Missouri. They all came home to Payson.
This past weekend, graduates from Payson High School’s class of 1994 came back to our little mountain town for their 20-year class reunion. They came to renew old friendships and catch up on the latest news of their Longhorn classmates. Some came just to have a good time.
The celebration commenced last Friday night with a meet-and-greet party at the Buffalo Bar & Grill, then continued on Saturday afternoon with a picnic at Green Valley Park, followed by dinner-dance that night at the Mazatzal Casino.
At the dinner party, reunion co-organizers, Heather Young and Trina Gunzel handed out 29 reunion “awards” to their classmates. Some of the more comical awards were the “Betty White award (first to become a grandma),” presented to Stephanie (Kaufman) Ryan, the “Brady Bunch award (having the most kids),” given to Nathan and Jessica LaFlesch (they have five), the “Ozzie and Harriet award (married the longest),” presented to Kayle Cobb and the “High School Sweethearts award, (still together after all these years),” given to Jon and Trina Gunzel.
But the biggest laugh of the evening went out when Heather presented the “Cliff Clavin” award (still living with your mother), to Rory Albers. (Believe it or not, Rory’s mother showed up at 9 p.m. and joined the party.)
In addition to the 45 PHS 1994 graduates and their significant others, guests included two former Payson High School teacher-coaches, Dennis Pirch, who gave a heartfelt and inspirational speech and Tim Fruth, who won the “LMFAO Award (I’m sexy and you know it).”
As was certain to be expected in this day of social media, the days following the weekend reunion saw an explosion of pictures and comments on Facebook.
A good time was had by all those coming home to Payson for a weekend that will surely be forever fondly remembered.
This week’s question
Can you name the operatic rock ’n’ roll singer-songwriter-guitartist who sang the song “Coming Home,” which appeared on his 1992 album “King of Hearts”? (Which was released four years after this artist’s death in 1988.)
This Texas-born singer debuted on the Billboard charts in 1956 with the single “Ooby Dooby” and charted songs through 1989. His last hit, “You Got It” reached No. 9. Some of his top hits were “Only The Lonely,” “Running Scared” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
Is this “Coming Home” artist: A) Paul Anka, B) Frankie Avalon, C) Roy Orbison or D) Gene Pitney?
If you’re caller number five and have the correct answer, you’ll win a CD of your favorite singer or genre of music.
Last week’s question
From 1962 through 1980, The 4 Seasons placed over 50 songs on the Billboard pop chart, including five that went to the top. Four of those No. 1 hits were recorded in the early 1960s — “Sherry” (1962), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (1962), “Walk Like a Man” (1963) and “Rag Doll” (1964).
Last week’s music trivia question asked if you could name the other 4 Seasons’ song that topped the Billboard chart — for three weeks in January of 1976. The choices were A) “Candy Girl,” B) Dawn (Go Away),” C) “Ronnie” and D) “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).”
The correct answer was “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).” The other three choices were 4 Seasons’ hits in the early 1960s.
Congratulations to this past week’s first-time music trivia winner, Don Cline.
Don was born and raised in Oklahoma City. When he was 11, his father began work for the Transcontinental Pipeline, so for the next couple of years, his family’s home moved west every two weeks until the pipeline was completed in Los Angeles.
After high school, Don served in the Air Force, went to college, then held many different jobs before recently retiring as a school bus driver. He and his wife, Teri, moved to the Valley in 1986, then to Star Valley two years ago.
Don’s interests include spending eight to 12 hours a day on the computer, aviation, ham radio operation and being a board member of the Payson Tea Party. He enjoys easy listening ’50s-’70s music and lists his three favorite artists are Enya; Peter, Paul & Mary; and the Kingston Trio.
A final note
If you enjoy outdoor music, this weekend is going to be your cup of tea. As part of the Fourth of July festivities on Friday at Green Valley Park, from the ramada on the north end of the park, we’ll be cranking out patriotic songs and other make-you-feel-good tunes from early in the morning until the always popular J. Powers Band takes over at 6 p.m. The quintet plays a mixture of R&B, soul, Motown, reggae, pop and classic rock.
Then, on Saturday night, parks & rec will be presenting its fifth of nine Concerts Under the Stars, with local band, Bonfire, performing on the ramada stage from 7-9 p.m. This country trio will bring you the sounds of Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, among other country greats. They’ll also be singing some favorite classic rock hits.
Happy Independence Day!
DJ Craig – (928) 468-1482 – www.djcraiginpayson.com