The July 2013 Issue of our newsletter, The Bridge, is ready for downloading. Included is information about the upcoming reunion, just days away! You can still mail in the registration form with payment up until Friday, June 12, 2013. If it’s after that, hold onto your form and register in person at the reunion.
In 2011, The History Press published a book titled Alabama Musicians that mentions Knights alums Jim “Teeny” Mahaffey (AKO 1957-’61), Toni Tennille (AKO 1959-’60) and Dave Edwards (AKO 1959-’62). The author is C. S. Fuqua who has an extended description and reviews of the book on his website. Below is the description from the publisher’s page.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, legendary artists like Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan traveled to North Alabama to record with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm section, also known as the Swampers. But Alabama hasn’t just attracted musical stars with its talent—it also has a history of creating stars of its own. Join author and musician C.S. Fuqua as he showcases the breadth of Alabama’s musical talent through the profiles and stories of its historic performers and innovators. From the “father of the blues,” W.C. Handy, to Hank Williams, the originator of modern country music, to folk music hero Odetta and everyone in between, this is an unprecedented compendium of Alabama’s groundbreaking music makers.
As happens a lot, and is understandable, the pages that mention us tie us more closely with the university than we actually are. The section on p. 118 opens, “Auburn University’s big band, the Auburn Knights has been performing professionally since September 1930.” Aside from that, it’s a very nice three-page mention and has a great, half-page picture of the band with the three above musicians.
Below is a link to the publisher’s page for the book. If the link expires, the ISBN is 9781609491574.
The May 2013 Issue of our newsletter, The Bridge, is ready for downloading. Included is information about the upcoming reunion. Please note that the deadline to reserve a room at our special rate is June 17, 2013!
Bobby Adair joined the Auburn Knights in 1938 and went on to front the band as a featured soloist on clarinet during one of its heyday periods, the early 1940s. In this article, submitted by Charlie Kinzer (AKO ’78-’83), Adair recalls a couple of disctinctly Knight-ish experiences:
During the late 1930s the Knights made regular pocket money by playing for lunches (a 30-minute set) and dinners (a 45-minute set) on weekdays at the College Inn across from the campus on College Street. A drum set, piano, and small sound system were kept in the restaurant’s balcony, where the band played, but the horn players had to lug their instruments in and out, and Tobe Griffith’s upright bass had to be hoisted over the front of the balcony.
Bobby Adair recalled that the band had a view of everything in the restaurant below as it played: “We’d be in the middle of a tune, playing along nicely, and every now and then someone would spot a big gopher rat in the grill area, which ran along the side of the building. This would get our attention in a hurry. Sometimes the rats would scurry onto the cooking surfaces and lose their footing in all the grease. Man, nobody could play at all when that happened. We’d roll with laughter and have to regroup!”
Throughout the year the Knights also played frequently on the campuses of other colleges and universities. The musicians especially enjoyed traveling to Judson College, an all-female institution in Marion, Alabama. “The ballroom was near one of the dormitories at Judson,” Adair remembered. “Whenever we went there, the guys in the band would call out toward the open windows and flirt with the girls as we loaded our equipment up after the dances. To tease us, some of the girls would pull their blinds down over the windows and kind of ‘fake’ a risqué dance with the shadows from the light in their room. Of course, that would result in all sorts of hollering, horn-tooting, and drum-beating from the fellows! It would only last until the dorm mothers would come outside and threaten us, you know, but it sure made for some excitement on those band trips!”
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Scott Berry (AKO ’92-’93) sent this one in. The War Eagle Reader is self-described as, “Part city paper, part game-day program, part yearbook, part academic journal, part Beat novel, The War Eagle Reader is a online-publication dedicated to the proposition that all college towns are not created equal.”
In September, 2012, it posted an article on the creation of the Interlocking-AU logo by then AU band bass-drummer Fritz Siler (AKO ’65-’74). Below is from the article.
“For some, it might be an image of Samford Hall. Others, the Toomer’s Oaks or the back of a No. 34 or No. 2 jersey. But for the last 46 years, the image that has come to mind for most when thinking of Auburn is the interlocking AU logo, thanks not to the work of a marketing firm or a professional artist but a 19-year old Auburn University student who just wanted his drum to look a little cooler.”
In May 2012, honorary member Vic “Brother” Atkins, III , had an arrangement performed by trumpeter and singer Kermit Ruffin featured with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Embedded above is the video from LPO’s YouTube channel (lpomusic). The video is part two of a full concert, so it’s long. Brother’s arrangement of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s “I’ve Got the World on a String” starts at 35:15. This link should take you right to the beginning of the piece.
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On Friday night before the 2012 AU homecoming game, the Knights played at the Marriott ballroom, site of our reunion concerts, drawing over 400 people, mostly students, who danced the night away to the swinging sounds of the AKO.
The first hour was a group class on swing dancing, which turned out to be a big attraction. During breaks, the dancers kept swinging to the beat of a combo of AK alums and friends including Jane Drake, Susan Woody, Richard Garrett, Bob Jemian, and John Norton.
The most frequently heard comment was “when are you doing this again?” The Knights are hoping to schedule another dance on the weekend after Valentines Day. Stay tuned for more details. Link to photos is http://bit.ly/2012AKOfalldance.