Graduation Is Finally Here

DJ's Music Trivia

Wyatt Taylor hugs school staff upon receiving his certificate of promotion at the eighth-grade graduation ceremony held May 21 at Tonto Basin School.

Wyatt Taylor hugs school staff upon receiving his certificate of promotion at the eighth-grade graduation ceremony held May 21 at Tonto Basin School. Photo by DJ Craig.

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“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks!”

Yes, it’s that time of the year once again, when the school year comes to a big-sigh-of-relief end. Adrian Kimberly’s fun 1961 song, “The Graduation Song” couldn’t have expressed it any better.

The end of May is always a welcome relief to not only students, but to teachers and other school staff, as well. And with the ever-increasing accountability demands placed upon our school systems, I’m sure everyone involved with our school system is just glad to lock up the doors and call this year done and over with.

To those teachers and students who will be returning for at least another year of education in Payson, please take the next couple of months to relax and recharge your batteries. The end of July will be here before you know it.

And to all of Rim Country’s graduating seniors — it’s here, graduation is finally here! Congratulations to all of you on your completion of 13 years of hard work and perseverance to earn your high school diploma. You are the future of our country — go forth in the next stage of your life, whether your journey takes you to college or into the workforce or the military, and give it your all. America is counting on you.

This week’s question

Can you name the pop vocal group that introduced the1959 Top-40 hit “Graduation’s Here”?

This trio was one of America’s most popular doo-wop groups in the late 1950s. The original members of the group, Gary Troxel, Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis, met when they were seniors at Olympia High School in Olympia, Wash.

Originally a female duo, they initially recruited Gary to play trumpet. The girls had composed a song while, independently, Gary had written a hook that went “n-do-be-do dum dum-dum do dum.” They put the two together and “Come Softly To Me” was born.

Chart fame was instant for the distinctive trio and the haunting and catchy song, on which the vocal was recorded a cappella, shot to the top in the U.S. charts, holding the No. 1 slot for four weeks in the spring of 1959. Six months later, “Mr. Blue,” a Dewayne Blackwell song originally written for the Platters, also went to No. 1 and made Gary one of the leaders in the teen idol stakes.

In the midst of the trio’s success, Gary was called to serve two years of active duty in the Navy. His place was taken by later solo star Vic Dana. Despite Gary’s absence, the hits continued and the vocal group totalled nine Top-40 hits between 1959 and 1963, including the No. 10 hit “Tragedy,” a revival of the Thomas Wayne song.

After their last charted hit in 1963, the trio performed a few “oldies” revival shows in the early 1970s. When Gretchen decided she wanted to stay home and be a wife and mother, Gary and Gretchen teamed up with Cheryl Huggins and performed in concert together until 1985.

Is the name of this “Graduation’s Here” doo-wop trio A) The Fleetwoods, B) The Belmonts, C) The Classics, or D) The Monotones?

If you’re the sixth caller this week with the correct answer, you’ll win a CD of your favorite artist or genre of music. Good luck!

Last week’s question

Since its release in 1985, many people’s favorite baseball song has been one in which the writer-singer, John Fogerty, imagines himself to be a rookie sitting on a pinewood bench in the dugout, wanting to get into the game. The eager ballplayer pleads with his coach, “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today. Look at me, I can be …”

Last week’s music trivia question asked if you could finish John Fogerty’s lyrics above.

Was the ending “Look at me, I can be ... A) the guy you’re looking for, B) your ace in the hole, C) a star, or D) centerfield?

The correct finish was “centerfield,” which was also the title of Fogerty’s song.

Congratulations to last week’s multiple-time music trivia winner, Bill Andersen.

A couple of final notes

The 2014-15 Tonto Community Concert Association series, starting in September, has been set and season tickets are now on sale. The concert season will again feature eight concerts over nine months by accomplished artists and groups from around the country. Subscribers will be treated to jazz, blues, country, folk, Celtic, bluegrass, R&B and a whole lot more. Season tickets are $85 before June 30 and $90 thereafter. Individual concert tickets are $35 per person.

Brochures and subscription forms are available at the Payson Public Library and the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. You may also google “Tonto Community Concert Association” for a description of each of the eight upcoming concerts. For more information, call TCCA president, Eloise Jones, at (928) 478-4363.

And finally, be sure to mark your calendars. The Parks & Rec summer outdoor concert season is just around the corner. The nine-concert series will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Saturday in June and July at Green Valley Park. Kicking off the season on June 7 is the seven-member group, MC6, which will bring your doo-wop favorites from the ’50s and ’60s to the stage.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair (and maybe a light coat) and enjoy the free shows!

DJ Craig – Phone: 468-1482 – www.djcraiginpayson.com

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