The December 2012 Bridge is Ready for Download

At long last, the fall issue of The Bridge is being mailed out and is ready for download. It is on our newsletter archives page, or you can download it directly from the link below:

The issue includes letters from Dave Edmunds, our current president, and Peter Blaise, our past president. Also, there are submissions from John Norton about the upcoming Alabama Music Educators Association Conference, where the AKO will be setting up a display, and the successful AKO Homecoming Swing Dance this past November.

All of these articles will be posted on the blog here in their original unedited (mostly) versions in the coming days assuming the Mayans were wrong.

Contact me with corrections or complaints. The next one will mail in April.

Patrick McCurry, editor

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July 2012 Bridge Available for Download

A PDF version of the July 2012 edition of The Bridge, our newsletter, has been added to our newsletter archives page, and here is a direct link to it:

Due to its late publishing, this issue is serving mainly as a last-minute reminder issue for the 2012 reunion. It does, however, include an important article about a new silent auction we’re adding to the reunion mix. There’s also the registration form again and an updated schedule with one change. The 70s/80s Era Band will rehearse at different times than on the schedule in the May Bridge.

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‘Cause It Took So Long to Bake It

First Row, left to right: Rick Verra, Willie Hammett and Hubert Liverman. Second Row, left to right: Rick Bean, Duke Pickett, Bob “Fop” Richardson, Sam Timberlake and Steve Scott.

Submitted by Victor Atkins, Jr. (AKO ’47-’48).

This is a picture of Bob Richardson’s birthday party in November of 1964. I found out from Hubert Liverman (AKO ’65-’66), who was one of the ones who attended the party that someone brought a big beautiful birthday cake covered in white icing. When Bob cut the cake, inside, instead of cake, were a bunch of cans of Budweiser beer (see picture). Bob said it was the nicest birthday cake he ever got.

I had a hard time identifying everyone in the picture, but with the help of Hubert Liverman, Sam Timberlake, Jane Drake, Sonny Harris, Fritz Siler, Dale Quillen, Boots Butenschon, Ken Hammett, Willie Hammett, Teeny Mahaffey and Norm Bolden I believe we got them correctly ID’ed.

UPDATE – 5/7/2013 – from Steve Scott (’61-’65)I worked in the girl’s dining hall at Auburn, in the quadrangle. I bought a case of Budweiser, wrapped it in white butcher paper, iced and decorated it. When it came time to cut the cake, Bob was being silly (like the rest of us) and stabbed the cake instead of slicing it. The puncture resulted in a “geyser of ‘weiser.”  Bob got glassy-eyed and said “Gentlemen, this is my finest hour, I have struck Bud.” The picture was taken on my Brownie camera. Don’t know why the date is November, except I was usually broke and it probably took that long for me to afford to get the film developed, ha ha.

My wife Adleyn (Adleyn Sturkie, in those days) and I have a “wall of fame” which has her mentors and heroes (Flo Hiatt, Bob Eakle, Billy Tamblyn, etc.) and mine: Bob, Bodie Hinton and Tommy Goff. The snapshot is one of the pictures on the wall.

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Teeny’s New CD – Jus’ Jim

Jus' Jim

Jim "Teeney" Mahaffey's latest CD

Jim “Teeny” Mahaffey (AKO ‘57-‘61) has released a new CD called Jus’ Jim of 20 original compositions for big band. To order, email Teeny at:

San Antonio jazz radio station, KRTU 91.7 did an hour interview with Teeny which aired recently and played cuts from the CD and the 1960s AKO CD Happy with Dave Edwards (AKO ’59-’62) and Toni Tennile (AKO ’62). We are trying to find a good link to a playback of that interview and will update this post once we do.

UPDATE: KRTU is using Google Calendar to keep its schedule. If you are signed up and logged into Google Calendar, you can see the station’s South Texas Jazz Project show page for May 31, 2012 here But you should be able to access the interview file directly here:

If that doesn’t work, see Teeney’s comment to this post for another way to get to the file.

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May 2012 Issue of The Bridge Available for Download

A PDF version of the May 2012 edition of The Bridge, our newsletter, has been added to our newsletter archives page, and here is a direct link to it:

There is information in the issue not posted here in the blog area and vice versa. My apologies as editor for the delay. It will be mailed out in the next few days.

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Spreading the News – AKO and AKAA Working Together

A letter submitted by John Norton (AKO ’66-’72)

John Norton

John Norton (AKO '66 - '72)

In 1971, the original Articles of Incorporation of the Auburn Knights Orchestra stated several purposes of our organization. Among these were to “…assist the succeeding generations of musician-students who shall constitute the Auburn Knights Orchestra”, “…assist said orchestra in perpetuating itself as an independent student organization on the campus at Auburn University”, and “assist in protecting the traditions created by the Auburn Knights Orchestra…”.

The AKAA and the Auburn Knights Orchestra have recently cooperated in a couple of activities that we believe will help fulfill those purposes, and, as Chairman of the AKO Board, I wanted to share a few details with you.

On January 19th and 20th, the Auburn Knights exhibited for the first time ever at the Alabama Music Educators Conference in Montgomery. This annual event attracts almost a thousand music teachers, band directors, administrators, and students from all over the state. During the two days, our exhibit was manned by a total of four current AK’s and six alums, who registered attendees, promoted the AKAA Scholarship Program, and distributed a new AKO brochure, which was produced with the assistance of our own Jana Calano (see related post with links to brochure and flyer).

Of the several dozen registrants, there were 4 graduating seniors who asked for more information on auditioning with the AKO and 23 educators who were interested in having the Knights present a program at their school. Interestingly, there were many educators who were not familiar with the AKO at all, so our presence at the conference was useful in building awareness of the band.

We felt that some kind of follow-up was important, so the AKAA Board authorized additional funds for a mailing to 369 high school band directors who are members of the Alabama Bandmaster’s Association. The mailing included the new brochure, as well as a flyer suitable for posting on school bulletin boards. Thanks again to Jana for her help with the flyer and the brochure!

While these activities should certainly be useful, I believe that the best way for us to promote and support the AKO is by our individual efforts in our local areas. For example, John Conner asked for additional flyers which he hand-delivered to two high schools in Nashville that have exceptional jazz band programs. Kudos to John for taking this initiative and I encourage all of you to look for similar opportunities in your local schools.

If you would like additional copies of the brochure or the flyer, please e-mail me at The PDF files for these documents are posted on our website, so you can also download and print for yourselves.

Thanks for your support, see you in July, and long live the Auburn Knights!

John Norton

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Now’s the Time! – The 82nd Anniversary Auburn Knights Alumni Association Reunion: July 19-21, 2012

This post is a letter from current AKAA Board president, Peter Blaise. Read on below his letter for details about registering for the 2012 reunion. The weekend’s two concerts are Friday, 7-11 PM, and Saturday, 7-10 PM, at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National and are open to the public at $10/night. All proceeds go toward the association’s college scholarship program.

Peter Blaise

Peter Blaise, AKAA President

Spring is here, we’ve paid our taxes (at least, most of us have), the insects are out in full force, and the April edition of The Bridge (link) is running late. In other words, things are normal!

Most importantly, our 2012 AKAA reunion is less than two months away—sweet! I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to our annual pilgrimage to the Plains for another weekend of big band jazz celebrating the 82nd birthday of the Auburn Knights Orchestra.

I certainly hope you’ve already made your room reservations at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National. If not, I highly recommend you do so soon. You seasoned veterans know the Marriott staff consistently does a superb job taking care of us and are always genuinely delighted to host the AKAA.

Once again, our indefatigable Charlie Higgins has done a masterful job with the lion’s share of this year’s reunion preparations. He’s incredible! Please do me a favor and tell him that when you see him!

I’ll see you in July!

Keep Swingin’,

Peter Blaise


Please Stay! For reservations at the Marriott, call (800) 593-6456 and say you are with the Auburn Knights Reunion. If they tell you that our $83-plus-tax rooms are sold out, don’t worry. Go ahead and make the reservation and contact Vicky Powers at the hotel at (334) 737-2130. Final date for group-rate reservations is June 17, 2012.

(For non-members: the special rate is only for regular, associate and honorary members of the AKAA.)

Please Pay! Don’t forget to fill out the Registration Form inside the May 2012 newsletter and send with payment to Wade Johnson (address on form). All membership dues help keep the reunion going and support the current band. All concert admission and extra donations go to the scholarship program for current band members.

(For non-members: You can use this same form to prepare us for your visit. We would love to have you join us at our reunion for the concerts.)

Please Play! If you have any desire at all to revel again in the feeling you get from playing in this iconic instrumentation of swing, please contact your era’s bandleader (see table inside the May 2012 issue of The Bridge, linked above). Even if it’s for just one tune, if you want to play, then you will play, chops notwithstanding. This is why we exist! Turn page for rehearsal schedule.

(For non-members: seats in the bands are for regular, associate and honorary members only.)

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