History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Piper Gibson's bat sizzles in 18-4 MACA triumph

MACA put superb finishing touches on an 18-4 win over Benson on the softball diamond. A ten-run sixth inning put an exclamation point on this success. There was only one inning in which we did not score.
Benson had a decent start, assuming a 4-2 lead after two innings. But after that our engines got humming. We plated two runs in the third, three in the fourth and one in the fifth before erupting with the big inning in the sixth. We were perfect in the field: no errors. Our bats resonated with 15 hits. Pitchers Brooke Gillespie and Ashley Solvie held Benson to seven hits. The Benson error total was three.
It was Ashley Solvie getting the pitching win. She allowed no hits or runs over four innings. She fanned three batters and walked one. Gillespie got roughed up a little: six hits allowed and four runs over two innings. She fanned three batters and walked no one. Emily Miller was a trooper as she pitched for Benson and wasn't able to contain the Tigers. She allowed the 15 hits in six innings. Better days will come for Emily.
Gillespie's bat produced a double and triple. Piper Gibson was a force at bat with three hits in five at-bats, all three of them doubles, and she drove in a whopping five runs. Karly Fehr had a double as part of a two-for-four performance. Bailey Marty had a two-for-three boxscore line. Liz Dietz and Karli Siegel both had a hit in their only at-bat.
Emma Bowman rapped two hits in five at-bats. The Solvie girls, Ashley and Nicole, each added a hit to the mix. Overall a boffo hitting performance.
For Benson, Nicole Berens and Lizzie Staton each had two hits. It warms my heart to see that the Berens and Staton names stay so closely associated with Benson! Courtney McNeill and Miller also hit safely for the Braves.
Tigers 6, Benson 4
It was a doubleheader day for the MACA and Benson softball squads. MACA chalked up another win in a 6-4 final as this time we took control early: a 3-0 lead after one inning. We went on to score two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Our line score was six runs, ten hits and three errors. Karly Fehr "touched 'em all" with a home run, part of a two-for-three line. Emma Bowman's bat sizzled as this Tiger went two-for-four with her hits a double and triple. Bayley Marty and Brooke Gillespie each had two hits. Liz Dietz and Karli Siegel also hit safely.
Nicole Berens had two hits for Benson. These Braves also hit safely: Courtney McNeill, Grace Lee, Presley Gonnerman, Mackenzie Kurkosky and Knutson (first name N/A).
On to pitching: here the story had Liz Dietz getting the 'W' with five innings of work, six hits allowed, three runs (two earned) and no walks or strikeouts. Ashley Solvie logged an inning of work and she sat down one batter on strikes. Kurkosky took the pitching loss.
Baseball: Tigers 4, Benson 1
The MACA boys got the job done in the fifth inning. We rallied for all four of our runs in this 4-1 triumph over the Braves of Benson. Each team had five hits. Benson committed two errors while MACA had one.
Chandler Vogel pitched the whole way for the orange and black. He set down six batters and walked one in his seven innings. The one run he allowed was unearned. He allowed five hits.
Tyler Reimers picked up an RBI despite having no hits. Denner Dougherty had a double and a run scored. Ryan Bowman went one-for-three and crossed home plate once. Toby Sayles had a double and an RBI. Ryan Dietz had a one-for-two line and scored a run. Brenden Goulet went one-for-three.
Tigers 9, Montevideo 0
The MACA boys were dominant in this success vs. Montevideo. The shutout win showcased Ryan Bowman on the mound. Bowman allowed a mere three hits while striking out four batters and walking two. The losing pitcher was Derek Kilibarda.
Bowman got lots of support right at the start, as MACA plated four runs in the first inning. We scored four again in the fifth, and added our last run in the sixth. We had a hit total of eight and committed one error. Monte had its share of struggles in the field with five errors. The three Monte hits were by Kilibarda, Ian Jahn and Jackson Snell.
Mitchell Dufault had a potent bat for the Tigers as he doubled and drove in three runs. Alex Dougherty smacked a hit and drove in a run. Tim Travis smacked a double. Bowman doubled and picked up a ribbie. Other Tigers hitting safely were Chase Metzger, Toby Sales and Ryan Dietz. Add up the hits and you get seven, but the line score in the Willmar paper had eight.
ACGC 7, Tigers 1
The pitching arm of Kobe Holtz stymied the Tigers. Our only run was unearned in this 7-1 loss to the Falcons. The most telling stat about Kobe's effectiveness was strikeouts: 13. He walked no one in his six innings. Michael Dallman kept the sheen going through the seventh inning as he sat down the Tigers.
Jeremy Nelson went two-for-four and drove in three runs for the Falcons. Plus he stole a base. Adam Johnson had a two-for-four line including a double - he scored two runs, drove in one and stole a base.
Payton Kinzler went two-for-three, scored two runs and stole two bases. Jaren Kaddatz went one-for-three with two RBIs. Ethan Schultz stole a base. Michael Dallmann scored a run.
For the Tigers, Toby Sayles had two hits in three at-bats, and Chase Metzger and Jared Rohloff each connected for one hit. Sayles was the pitcher of record for MACA. Parker Dierks also employed his pitching arm for the Tigers.
We're looking forward to seeing increased signs of spring!
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, April 15, 2017

UMM and the marvelous Seattle World's Fair of 1962

This Seattle landmark needs no introduction.
UMM was showcased at the Plaza of States at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. The 36 singers of our men's chorus opened the festivities for Minnesota Day. The young men sang four numbers. A group photo of that historic group is part of a display by the entry to the HFA Recital Hall.
Minnesota Day included royalty of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and Minneapolis Aquatennial. Four bands and another vocal group also represented Minnesota. Our men's chorus sang for ten minutes and was featured again later in the day. One of the tunes was "Born to be Free," a composition by my father, the late Ralph E. Williams, the chorus' conductor.
He was a prolific composer. He never encouraged me to learn that craft. He was more interested in directing me toward hunting and fishing.
The chorus traveled to the west by train. How quaint. Train would be their mode again two years later for the New York World's Fair. I remember being introduced to the "vista dome car" in the New York trip.
The 1962 Seattle World's Fair was also known as the Century 21 Exposition. It was held April to October. It made a profit unlike some other World's Fairs. Nearly 10 million attended. There were two clear symbols: the Space Needle and the monorail. It was the time of the "space race" (with the USSR). There was the scary specter of the Cuban missile crisis. JFK announced he could not attend the closing ceremony because of a "cold." The truth is that he was preoccupied with the Cuban missile crisis.
The world's fairs in Seattle and New York presented futurism. No one can really foresee what the future will bring. If we really knew, we'd move there immediately. The "Back to the Future" movie series imagined a future that was really just a jazzed-up version of the present. Cars were imagined that really just had more "sexy" design with the metal.
"Computers" in the '60s were big, bulky, mysterious and kept in back rooms. I guess it was hard imagining the "personal computer."
Culturally speaking, America in 1962 was still embedded in the 1950s. I have read that the torrents of change we experienced in the mid- to late '60s were simply bubbling under the surface in the 1950s.
Seattle gave us exotic futuristic visions like a "commuter gyrocopter." But no "drones." The Four Seasons gave us "Big girls Don't Cry" and "Sherry." The Ford Motor Company gave us the Fairlane. Adolph Eichmann was hanged, having been discovered in South America. The big screen gave us "West Side Story." John Glenn orbited the Earth in "Friendship 7." The first Wal-Mart store opened in Bentonville AK. Marilyn Monroe was found dead on August 5.
Oh, and the Beatles were turned down by Decca Records.
The Seattle World's Fair envisioned a future based on tech-based optimism. It did not anticipate the waves of social change that would set in, not far off. The Fair suggested that American power would grow and "social equity would take care of itself."
The Fair's monorail system became permanent. Today it carries something like two million passengers per year. It is a privately-run business. It carried over eight million guests during the six months of the Fair, easily paying for the cost of construction.
Elvis Presley sang "Good Luck Charm" in 1962. He would star in a movie that had the Fair as its inspiration and backdrop: "It Happened at the World's Fair." I seem to recall watching the movie at the Morris Theater. I remember vividly the opening scene of Elvis flying a cropdusting plane. The movie made $2.25 million. Elvis and his partner, played by Gary Lockwood, "are in financial duress due to the Lockwood character's gambling." The two need money or they'll lose their plane. They hitchhike. Remember hitchhiking? Outdated Americana indeed, like having a gas station attendant pump your gas, check your oil and wash your windshield.
Elvis and his partner are picked up by an apple farmer. They end up in Seattle for the World's Fair! Romances develop. We see the Space Needle and monorail.
Adding to the rich texture of the event was the UMM men's chorus and their trademark maroon blazers. My father had a special affinity with those world's fairs, probably reflecting a cosmopolitan outlook. He had "been around" in WWII. How nice to enjoy the placid atmosphere of a world's fair.
Will we ever hear a UMM group perform Ralph's "UMM Hymn" again? How about at graduation?
Listen to the golden sounds of the original UMM men's chorus by clicking on this link:
-Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, April 3, 2017

Morris had a presence at 1964 New York World's Fair

The UMM men's chorus at the Fair, directed by Ralph E. Williams
I remember the wonderful atmosphere at the 1964 New York World's Fair. It's a bittersweet memory. America was on the cusp of the contentious stuff that would come to largely define the 1960s. You could not have guessed that any of that was in the offing. Boomers thus look back on that fair as a touchstone event.
How sad that the tranquility of that fair could not prevail or set the tone. So I'll look at it in isolation. The UMM music department was there. Our men's chorus shared its wonderful sounds. UMM itself was very young. But we had already been to another World's Fair in Seattle. The Seattle trip was in 1962 when the U.S. was worried about nukes in Cuba. Our travels served to elevate the presence of our fledgling liberal arts institution. I made the trip in 1964.
If I could change one thing, I'd like to have been equipped with a high-quality camera. Could I have handled this at age nine? I'd love to have tried. My, how those photos could be mined and shared online today. Back then, we heard names like Canon and Nikon in connection with high-quality cameras. There was a perception that such cameras cost a fortune.
I have heard that even high-end cameras had flash units that were challenged for anything but close-ups. So maybe it would have been tough getting the indoor performance shots. But in other situations, what a bonanza I might have.
You can hear the sounds of the early UMM men's chorus by clicking on this YouTube link. Thanks to Gulsvig Productions of Starbuck for getting this material online.
The New York World's Fair hailed itself as a "universal and international exposition." The theme was "peace through understanding." It was dedicated to "man's achievement on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe." We saw a showcase of mid-20th Century American culture and technology. The "space age" was a high-profile theme.
Over 51 million people attended. They saw what amounted to a grand consumer show. Many got their first interaction with computer equipment. Such equipment was kept in back offices away from the public. This was decades before the Internet and home computers were at everyone's disposal.
How I remember Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It was in that wondrous borough of Queens. The still-new New York Mets, still in their early mediocrity, played so close, they seemed like part of the Fair.
A reflective online piece proclaims "the world came to Queens."
"It came in a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors, fountains of dancing water and mouth-watering Belgian waffles."
The grand World's Fair of 1964 sought to nudge us toward optimism. I remember the inspiring, joyous sounds of our University of Minnesota-Morris men's chorus, directed by my late father Ralph E. Williams. Ralph left us four years ago. His legacy lives on both with the music he composed and the permanence he helped ensure of our UMM. I could use some of those Belgian waffles.
Click on this link to read a post I wrote in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Fair. It too reflects on the Morris experience. Thanks for reading.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Remembering the fleet of foot Tommy Harper

Look down the roster of the 1969 Seattle Pilots and it seems an interesting team. Interesting, yes, but not winning. Why? As Don Mincher would explain years later, the Pilots were a standard expansion team full of players either on the way up (green) or on the way down (maybe washed-up). Mincher was trying to stick up for the team's manager, Joe Schultz, who he felt was unduly criticized by Jim Bouton in the book "Ball Four."
Mincher was a power merchant in the 1960s. He became a journeyman. Tommy Davis was a big name who batted in the No. 3 spot. Davis had been spectacular with the Dodgers. An injury slowed him. Then we have Tommy Harper. You might say Harper was in his prime for that 1969 season. You might note it was the Pilots' only season. They have been described as an "orphan" team, based on Seattle now having the Mariners and Milwaukee only caring about the Brewers.
The Pilots moved to Milwaukee after the 1969 season. The Braves had a fine run in the brew town before moving to Atlanta.
Harper was a speed merchant with the '69 Pilots. Students of sports journalism will associate the Pilots with Bouton and his writing. I was perhaps too much a fan of Ball Four back in the day. It was a book that had to come out at some time. Journalists were itching to get past the established template for sports books. It was decided that the traditional way was too dry, superficial and predictable. Questioning the orthodoxy in everything was fashionable back then. "Ball Four" fit right in.
We sometimes revise such thoughts. Today I have no problem reading the traditional sports biography. We all know human beings have warts. In '69 I guess it was some sort of revelation. Mickey Mantle was not a Greek god. Roger Maris was a jerk? Well, I really don't think Maris was a jerk. Harper was treated pretty generously by Bouton, as I recall. Bouton tended to be easy on players of color.
I'm certain that Harper deserved generous treatment. His odyssey in the big leagues began in the Reds organization. First he sizzled in the minors with Topeka as he batted .324. He climbed to AAA which saw him play for San Diego in its pre-big league incarnation. Harper batted .333 for San Diego. That's one hit in every three at-bats, my modest grasp of math deduces. He hit 24 home runs. He got a taste of big league ball, getting the starting nod at third for six games.
Harper would develop into a versatile player in the field. He played with the big league Reds on a platoon basis in 1963-64. Mostly he saw work in the outfield. It was in 1965, the same year our Twins won the American League pennant, that Harper blossomed. Playing left field, he batted leadoff, stole 35 bases, hit 18 home runs and scored a league-leading 126 runs. He became a fixture at leadoff. He proved capable at all three outfield positions. He could be tapped as a backup infielder.
But as is so common in baseball, he'd have to move along to another team. It was on to the Cleveland Indians for 1968. His bat lost some of its pop, nevertheless he was drafted by the new Seattle Pilots as the third pick in the expansion draft. He doubled to left as the first-ever Pilot to come to bat. He scored on Mike Hegan's home run.
Making mark on the basepaths
It was in stolen bases where Harper really carved out his niche in Pilots/Brewers history. He was off to the races for 73 stolen bases, the most by an A.L. player since Ty Cobb burned up the basepaths for 96 in 1915. The 73 still stands as the standard for franchise history. Harper helped the Pilots with his sheer versatility, making starts all over the diamond.
The Pilots felt they had to pull up stakes after their '69 season. Bouton would say that Seattle at that time cared more for its art galleries and museums than for sports. He meant that as a compliment. We all know that Seattle today is ga-ga for its sports franchises. The interest in the arts probably remains too. The '60s were different times in many respects.
Harper was at his best in 1970 for the new Milwaukee Brewers. Harper made his only All-Star Game appearance that year. He posted several statistical personal highs. He made the 30-30 club by hitting 31 home runs and stealing 38 bases.
Harper moved on to the Red Sox after the '71 season. He became a fixture in center field and at leadoff for those early '70s Red Sox. In '73 he led the A.L. in stolen bases again, with 54. That stat was the franchise best up to that point.
A negative specter
We don't like to be reminded of racism in baseball's past. Harper was a target for unpleasant experiences in Boston. He got some satisfaction with a lawsuit. He sued the Red Sox for firing him in 1985 for complaining in the media about the club allowing the segregated Elks Club in its spring training base of Winter Haven FL to invite only the team's white personnel to its establishment. Back in the '70s I played some gigs with a dance band at Elks Clubs. I'm rather ashamed when I read about Harper's experience. There's an incantation in Elks lingo where they talk about how "the great heart of Elkdom swells and throbs" (at a certain time of the evening). That great heart was rather a myth, I might suggest, or an outright travesty. (In an irreverent vein, I might quote my trombone friend Leroy B. who said one night, "it has to swell before it can throb.")
Harper not only succeeded with his suit, he was elected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010. He coached for the Red Sox in 1980-84 and 2000-02. He would also coach for the Montreal Expos (1990-99). He returned to Boston as a player development consultant.
Harper has been described as "a central figure in the troubled racial history of the Red Sox." He persevered and is warmly remembered today in all cities where he played. That includes Oakland where he had a renaissance in 1975. Joining a contender appeared to give him a healthy jolt. He batted .319 in August and September. He got penciled in at first base. On the basepaths he showed his forte by going 7 for 7 in stolen bases. His versatility allowed a long-of-tooth Billy Williams to play at DH - the former Cub could still hit.
Harper was age 34 when when finally making the playoffs. He batted just once and drew a walk. The A's got swept by those Red Sox. Harper got his release and then had one more stint, an uneventful one, with Baltimore.
I'll always remember Harper as that Pilot who streaked from base to base in 1969. I can put "Ball Four" aside. Harper, Mincher and Davis were standouts in a lineup that could be quite interesting. And Jim Bouton threw the knuckleball.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

Camden Arndt's 3's have impact but it's a loss to JCC

JCC 80, Tigers 71
I usually think of softball when I think of Jackson County Central. It's a southern Minnesota school that can be counted on to have top-notch softball. Those southern Minnesota schools have been an obstacle for our Tigers, and I'm not sure why because the weather isn't that much more mild in southern Minnesota. But that's the way it is.
And in basketball, we're learning that JCC can make noise too. Our boys basketball Tigers were matched against JCC in the section finals. We traveled south for this game, to Marshall - Southwest State University.
You can count on JCC scoring lots of points. That they did on Thursday, March 16, in an 80-71 win over MACA. So many points, it didn't matter that MACA had five players in double figures. Here's that list: Camden Arndt 21, Tate Nelson 13, Lukus Manska 12, Jaret Johnson 12 and Jacob Zosel 11. Arndt brought waves of cheers with his five 3-pointers. Manska and Johnson each made two 3's, and Nelson and Zosel each made one. Quite the attack in a losing cause.
The Huskies of JCC are now in the AA state tournament. The halftime situation had them up by eight. But they weren't able to go on cruise control for the second half. We got within three points with about eleven minutes left. That was the high water mark for us. The JCC offense was just too much.
The game's opening stages saw Arndt supply fuel as we gained a 19-16 lead. His 3's gave a feeling of real optimism among the orange and black faithful. That optimism got dashed when JCC caught fire on a 15-1 run, lifting them to a 14-point lead. "Their guys attacked the hole, and credit to them," our coach Mark Torgerson told the media.
Looking back, the 15-1 run was really the dagger that did us in. We needed Arndt to have another skein of 3-pointers. That's asking a lot. He's a sophomore with lots of fuel left in the tank.
The Huskies used fast-break layups to get a cushion on the scoreboard. We had an 8-2 run to close out the first half and keep things fairly interesting, score of 45-37. Nelson hit a '3' to make things a little more interesting. A Manska layup also furthered that end. So now the score is 60-57. The time remaining: 11:18. We would get no closer. JCC enjoyed a 10-3 run as our offense went into a drought.
One other Tiger scored in addition to the five double figures scorers cited earlier. Tim Travis scored two points. Jacob Christopher was the big gun for JCC with his 25 points. Ryan Christopher made noise with his 18 points. Nico Feroni put in 15 for the JCC cause. The rest of the list had Easton Bahr with eight points, Rudy Voss 5, Zach Bargfrede 2 and Chris Gumto 7. Jacob Christopher made three 3-pointers while Voss, Bahr and Gumto each made one.
JCC rules in Section 3AA. The Tigers have the consolation of No. 2. Our final season record: 16-13. Lots of nice memories.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

"Paul Revere and the Raiders": endearing '60s sounds

It was a big enough adjustment for our parents to accept the Beatles in the 1960s. Many of us kids took a step further and decided to be even more edgy (in the face of our parents) and go for the Rolling Stones. There was tremendous peer pressure in the '60s to be edgy. It was such a distinctive epoch in American history. The "generation gap" wasn't some fanciful thing to be tucked away with other passing cultural distractions. No, it was very real. I have heard it described as just as intense as the U.S. Civil War, minus the physical violence.
The cauldron of discontent did not snuff out our natural human longing for joy. Thus I present another musical exhibit. This exhibit was arguably No. 3 on the list of popular music groups appealing to the young. I'm referring to Paul Revere and the Raiders.
I recently felt a spasm of nostalgia when calling up the song "Happening '68" on YouTube. The irony is that such joy is felt in connection with a time, the 1960s, in which such incredible conflict was fomented. Mark Lindsay sang at the group's peak. The group gave us a string of such tasteful and yet intense songs that were on the cutting edge of popular music. This at a time when the older generation tuned in to Lawrence Welk.
Years later we would engage in revisionist thinking re. those older folks. Tom Brokaw gave us his book "The Greatest Generation." I guess time heals all wounds. The boomers put their parents on a pedestal. But how could we not? They sustained us in our younger years. They had become frail and were leaving us. We loved them dearly but in an earlier time, the bond wasn't quite like that. That greatest generation could have done more to help us with the bothersome issues of the '60s. Like war. Really it was the Viet Nam war that cemented many of our concerns. It reminded us of how dangerous ignorance can be.
Mobilized by the war, we got involved on other fronts like civil rights. Through it all, so many of us were attracted to the innocent, pulsating music of Paul Revere and the Raiders with Mark Lindsay. They were quite my cup of tea. They sprang from the Pacific Northwest. The organist and founder was Paul Revere himself, actually Paul Revere Dick, born in Nebraska. Revere was a restaurateur when in his early 20s. He actually owned several restaurants which indicated he came from an affluent background. He met Lindsay when picking up hamburger buns from a bakery where Lindsay worked. Sometimes I'm skeptical about stories like this - I feel there had to be more to the story. But maybe I should push my skepticism aside.
Lindsay joined Revere's band in 1958. At first they were called "The Downbeats." In 1960 they took on the name that would endear them to us. They had a regional hit in '61 with a song name that was so 1960s: "Like, Long Hair."
Dealing with Viet Nam war
Revere also had an ordeal that was typical of what U.S. males experienced in the decade: he was drafted and asserted himself as a conscientious objector. The war, in addition to being tragic on the face of it, impeded our economy because all young men were profoundly distracted by having to confront the specter of the draft. This has been cited as a reason why the British recording industry was ahead of ours. "The British invasion" didn't happen by accident.
Revere was given deferred service and became a cook at a mental institution. Meanwhile Lindsay got a job "pumping gas," an example of outdated Americana now. "Do you want me to check the oil?"
All this would give way to a renewed commitment to music. In 1965 the group emerged with a string of "garage rock" classics. They moved to Los Angeles. Their sound echoed British invasion bands. At the same time they gave us a generous American R&B feel.
These clean-cut lads got their first national hit in "Just Like Me," No. 11 on the charts in '65. The song's double-tracked guitar solo made an impression. Dick Clark took a real liking to the group. There was nothing like TV to vault an artist to national prominence. Carl Perkins would have been a bigger star had he not had car trouble on the way to an Ed Sullivan appearance.
Television gives a boost
The Raiders upped their popularity through the Clark TV show "Where the Action Is." This show was succeeded by "Happening '68" with its wonderful theme song, and then an iteration called "It's Happening." Revere and Lindsay co-hosted the "Happening" shows which I well remember watching. Lindsay was a hero to me!
In 1966 the group performed on an episode of the campy "Batman" TV series! The Raiders were the first major band to tour with all members amplified, even the horn players.
Drake Levin left the group in 1966 to join the National Guard. Gee, I wonder why. Why did George W. Bush join the National Guard? Or Rod Carew of our Minnesota Twins? Us Minnesota kids would groan when Carew had to fulfill his National Guard commitment. The National Guard was a famous haven for young men seeking to avoid combat in Viet Nam. Boys of privilege, CW told us, could get gently guided into Guard service by influential family members. I cannot blame anyone for using whatever means necessary to avoid the war. As the colonel character in "First Blood" said at the dramatic ending of that movie: "It was a hard time for all of us." The Raiders' music sort of floated out there as an elixir supplying comfort. We retained the tools for finding joy. Call it the resilience of the human spirit.
Joy bubbled from the Raiders song "Kicks." The song had an anti-drug message but was still totally cool. Other songs flowed like "Hungry," "The Great Airplane Strike," "Good Thing" and "Him or Me - What's It Gonna Be."
"Kicks" became a signature song for the group and reached No. 4 on those charts. The tech of today with its democratizing effect has enabled everyone to find precisely the music of their choice, to the extent that I think talk of the "charts" (a la Casey Kasem) has become quaint. We're not as beholden to the big music industry anymore. The barriers to distribution have come down just like in book publishing (where self-publishing has become respectable). Incidentally, "Kicks" was originally written with the group "The Animals" in mind.
The Raiders had racked up three Gold albums by mid-1967. They were Columbia Records' top rock group.
I found Nirvana when listening to the "Greatest Hits" album. That album, we are reminded years later, was a test for a higher list price for albums! Actually I considered it priceless. Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits was another such test. Of course, the fan base for all the popular new music was very young. You might think those artists made a fortune, but remember that so many of their fans were young and with negligible economic means. Today all these artists can play at the likes of casinos as "retro" attractions and make a true fortune! Well, I'm happy for them.
Tastes began changing in the late '60s. The Raiders were deemed not quite as fashionable. Still they churned out songs of note like "Too Much Talk," a strong personal favorite of mine. My, what a sense of "beat" it had. Also in this rather twilight period we got "Let Me," their first gold record. The group sought a newer sound, something more "relevant" (a buzzword from the decade).
"Collage" album: fine art, commercial floundering
The "Woodstock Nation" came along. Were the Raiders with their costumes falling into some irrelevance? Fearing this, no doubt, the group changed its name to simply "The Raiders" in 1970. The new thrust was to sound "heavy" and contemporary. We got the "Collage" album, artistically brilliant but groping for commercial appeal. The name change appeared to cause confusion. The group persevered and then came out with the unforgettable "Indian Reservation." Wow, this song shot all the way to No. 1, their first chart-topper in fact.
But. . . The song could not be parlayed into an overall pattern of success. The vagaries of the pop music industry could be strange. And depressing.
By 1975, Columbia Records had dropped the group. Lindsay and Revere went separate ways. Fortunately we have YouTube today to remember it all. If only we could wipe aside memories of the Viet Nam war.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

MACA boys escape halftime hole, beat YME

Tigers 62, YME 54
The Willmar newspaper continues referring to us as "MCA," not "MACA." Boy, I sure am losing this argument. I have written about this before and to no avail. Maybe the Willmar paper is exercising its own judgment and concluding that "Morris/Chokio-Alberta" is more logical. Congratulations. But I learned long ago that media people should not cross certain lines when exercising judgment.
I have seen "MACA" on warmup shirts and on billboards here. It's "Morris Area Chokio Alberta." Insert hyphens or slashes if you wish.
Anyway, our MACA boys basketball team won its first-round post-season game Saturday over Yellow Medicine East. We were fortunate to win as we were down by seven at halftime, 27-20. That was rather shocking, considering our won-lost mark was quite superior. You can toss aside the won-lost records for the post-season. We got our engines humming for the second half, giving Tiger fans relief as we outscored the Sting 42-27. So the final score was 62-54 as we advanced to round 2.
Our foe now: ACGC. We'll vie at Willmar.
Jaret Johnson supplied important fuel Saturday with his 17 points. He made one three-pointer. Lukus Manska made two 3-pointers and Tate Nelson made one. Manska's point total was 12. Nelson and Camden Arndt each put in ten points. Tim Travis scored nine. Jacob Zosel added four points to the mix.
topped the rebound list with ten followed by Travis with five. Zosel supplied six assists while Arndt and Nelson each had four. Three Tigers each had three steals: Nelson, Zosel and Manska.
For Yellow Medicine East, Nick Peterson topped the scoring list with 16. Nicky Lindstrom supplied ten points. Three Sting players each scored six: Cole Richter, Tom Lindstrom and Trent Skjefle. Two Sting players each scored five: Will Jeseritz and Noah Christianson.
made a late push that created some suspense. We led by 18 with about two minutes remaining, and it turned out we needed that cushion.
Girls: New London-Spicer 62, Tigers 50
The smart money always seems to be on the New London-Spicer girls, right? My, what a long-lasting dynasty. NL-Spicer was the roadblock for our MACA Tigers in the sub-section title game. Our Tigers were buoyed by a somewhat surprising victory over the Minnewaska Area Lakers. Alas, we could not parlay that success one step further. We met the Wildcats and certainly we were not blown out, but we did get defeated.
The score was 62-50. The site was Southwest State University, home of the Mustangs. So the Wildcats, coached by Mike Dreier - toupee or no toupee? - took the Section 3AA-North title.
-Spicer entered the Thursday, March 3, game with a win streak of 12. But our Tigers boasted a similarly impressive skein: nine straight. But something had to give. The team with the longer win streak took charge early. But finally, midway in the second half, the orange and black showed new life. We got the NL-Spicer advantage whittled down to seven. But we couldn't overcome the Wildcats and the special defensive resolve they showed on this night.
Coach Dreier complimented the Tigers on being well-coached. Of course, that's easy to say when you've won the game.
I remember writing about Wildcat Shea Oman last year. Well, she's at least as good this season. She's the junior point guard, orchestrating a pretty slick attack. On Thursday she poured in 23 points and had six assists. We outscored the Wildcats 37-36 in the second half.
The Wildcats worked to minimize the damage done by Ashley Solvie in the post. Ashley scored just nine points. Dreier noted that she certainly got the main focus of his team's defense. NL-Spicer conceded some points to Correy Hickman. But all in all his team's defense jelled as planned. Hickman did come through with 19 points.
NL-Spicer advanced to face Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (from the South) in the 3AA final. So, the Tigers' season ends with a record of 18-10.
We need to acknowledge the Tigers' three-point shooting on Thursday. It was most impressive with Hickman making four 3's. Riley Decker made three and Maddie Carrington two. Hickman was followed on the scoring list by Decker and Solvie each with nine. Carrington put in seven points and Malory Anderson six.
Oman was followed on the NL-Spicer scoring list by three teammates each with nine points: Brooke Beuning, Emma Hanson and Morgan Swenson. Then it was Kabrie Weber with seven points, Erin Tebben with four and Michelle Johnson with one. Beuning sank three shots from three-point range. Oman and Weber each made one long-ranger.
snared six rebounds followed by Swenson with five and Weber and Hanson each with four. Oman had six assists followed by Beuning and Weber each with five. Beuning had four steals followed by Swenson with three. Congrats to our MACA Tigers on their 18-10 season, full of neat memories.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Down for the count? No, GBB Tigers beat Minnewaska!

Tigers 57, Minnewaska 54
The GBB Tigers produced a dramatic victory Tuesday in a game that could have spelled the end of the road. This was post-season game No. 2 for coach Dale Henrich's Tigers. My, we just barely survived our opening game which was against Yellow Medicine East.
The second game would pit us against a higher-seeded team. We were up against a familiar rival: those Minnewaska Area Lakers. But the site was neither Morris nor 'Waska. It was Montevideo. There the Tigers came from behind, finding new life and posting a 57-54 win.
We thus have the right to face those Wildcats of New London-Spicer, a real nemesis team. Our win over Minnewaska Area was our ninth straight.
The situation was bleak at halftime as we trailed by nine. 'Waska scored the game's first four points. A persistent full-court press was bothering the Tigers. The Lakers seemed especially resolved to neutralize Correy Hickman, our point guard. Our offense stagnated in much of the first half. Bayley Pooler of the Lakers scored eleven first half points. The score was 28-19 at halftime of this Section 3AA-North semi-final game.
We were hindered by Ashley Solvie picking up three early fouls. She was advised to play more conservatively on defense and turn up her intensity on offense. The Tigers simply needed her to score. She indeed ended up coming through.
We picked up steam thanks to a pair of 3's close together. There's nothing like three-pointers to pick up that jump start. Ashley Solvie maneuvered to score off an offensive rebound. Her putback shot got the score tied at 52-all. A Riley Decker freethrow put us up by one with less than a minute left. Then it was Hickman sinking a pair of freethrows to account for the game's final points.
"A fun win," a proud coach Henrich commented to the media.
Decker made five of her seven 3-point shot tries - essential fuel.
Coach Henrich is now exuding confidence, but a truly stellar effort and maybe some luck will be needed to challenge the Wildcats coached by the legendary Mike Dreier. Coch Dreier has his team ranked No. 6 at present. Henrich said "we're mentally more aware. We just can't chase them." We now own 18 wins on the season.
Ashley Solvie had a point harvest of 17 in the win over 'Waska. Decker's thrilling three-point shooting performance lifted her to 16 points. Her five 3's were complemented by one by Maddie Carrington. Malory Anderson came through with ten points. Three other Tigers scored: Hickman 7, Nicole Solvie 4 and Carrington 3.
Hickman led in rebounds with eight followed by Anderson and Nicole Solvie each with six. Decker and Hickman each produced four assists, and Carrington with her three steals led there.
Bayley Pooler and Carley Stewart each scored 16 points for 'Waska. Ellie Danielson scored 12. Then we have Abby VerSteeg contributing six points and Emma Thorfinnson four. Pooler made four 3-pointers and VerSteeg made two.
'Waska closes the books on its season with a win total of 20. We're two wins behind that but who cares now? It will be interesting to see how hard we can come at the Wildcats.
Tigers 57, Yellow Medicine East 56
Wow! That was closer than it should have been. The MACA girls may have won their first-round post-season game, but there was more suspense than their fans could have expected. The Tigers met the Sting of Yellow Medicine East on Saturday, Feb. 25, at home. The fans went home happy over the fact we simply won. It was mission accomplished.
But it was mission accomplished by a margin of just one point. We got past the stubborn Sting by a score of 57-56. This was a Section 3AA-North sub-section quarter-final game. We opened play as the No. 3 seed. Our win over the Sting was our 17th overall on the season. YME closed out its season with a 10-14 record.
We led 29-25 at halftime. We were outscored 31-28 in the second half. We dodged a bullet. Maddie Carrington and Correy Hickman supplied some most essential three-point shooting. Each of these Tigers made three 3-pointers. Riley Decker's three-pointer ended up most essential too! Three Tigers scored in double figures: Hickman 15, Ashley Solvie 14 and Carrington 13. The other point contributors were Malory Anderson 6, Decker 5, Jenna Howden 2 and Nicole Solvie 2. Anderson and Hickman each grabbed eight rebounds while Ashley Solvie grabbed seven. Hickman was an assist whiz with eleven, and Decker contributed four in this department. Hickman had five steals followed by Carrington and Ashley Solvie each with four.
Boys: Sauk Centre 65, Tigers 61
The first half was a disaster for the MACA boys hoops squad on the same Saturday that the girls played YME. The first half spelled defeat in the end for our orange and black, at home. It was our fifth straight home game.
We may have done well in the second half. In fact we outscored the Sauk Centre Streeters 41-28 in the second half. If only those numbers dictated the complexion of the whole game. They did not. Those Streeters crushed us 37-20 in the first half. This 65-61 loss left us one game shy of .500 at 13-12. Sauk's mark: 18-6.
Tanner Rieland was a thorn in our side. This Streeter burned the nets for 19 points. He was one of a threesome of Streeters doing real damage. Cade Neubert scored 18 points and Simon Weller put in 16. Sauk had an "iron man" type of look with only five total players scoring. Isaiah Westby scored seven points and Casey Schirmers put in five. Congrats to this tightly-functioning unit.
and Schirmers each made a three-pointer. Westby and Weller each had seven rebounds. Weller dished out four assists.
Let's review the Tiger numbers: here it was Jacob Zosel setting the pace with 15 points. Tate Nelson scored 11 points and Camden Arndt  ten. The rest of the list: Tim Travis 9, Lukus Manska 7, Jaret Johnson 5, Connor Koebernick 2 and Denner Dougherty 2.
A total of six Tigers made three-pointers! Nelson and Zosel each made two. Travis, Arndt, Manska and Johnson each made one. Johnson collected six rebounds while Nelson had five. Zosel executed four assists. Manska stole the ball twice.
From the memory closet
I remember the days when girls basketball was still climbing the ladder to total legitimacy along with the boys team. What? You mean we weren't totally equitable? Actually no. For a very long time, the bleachers were pulled out on only one side of our gym: the 1968 gym. This state of affairs remained for more years than many of us would want to remember or consider.
This was such a visible gesture of saying "girls basketball isn't quite there yet!" I heard hardly any mention of it. I often thought it would be nice to pull out all the bleachers even if attendance didn't seem to justify it. One problem was that in the 1980s, our girls basketball program was not competitive. Unfortunately there is a correlation between attendance and team performance. The 1980s were when Hancock and Wheaton tended to rule in this area for girls basketball.
Hancock had the aggressive, flashy and unfortunately doomed Dennis Courneya as their coach. He got into legal trouble. He ended up in the crowbar motel for a time. The Wheaton coach in that heyday was Earl Steffens. Nobody spoke about our Tigers in the same breath with Hancock or Wheaton. Maybe I should write a book someday. I have joked with Del Sarlette about what the title of my autobiography would be: "Add Dreams of Glory." (This is a line we remember from Jim Bouton's book "Ball Four.")
Our 1968 gym was a huge deal in this community when it first opened. Before that we used a facility - what would later be called the "elementary auditorium" - that would be appropriate in the movie "Hoosiers." BTW did Gene Hackman really get the girl?
I saw a few games in our old facility, part of a complex now razed. Weeds now grow there. I remember watching the great Paul Kelly. The 1968 gym seemed absolutely glitzy compared to its predecessor. But alas, time passes and now the '68 gym seems downright obscure. Maybe even forgotten? The sands of time cannot be stopped. We're just here to mop and dry.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwily73@yahoo.com

Monday, February 27, 2017

Prelude to 3AA play? MACA boys edged by Monte

Montevideo 58, Tigers 55
MACA may not be done with the Thunder Hawks of Montevideo this season. Twice the teams have met and it was anyone's ballgame. The Tigers and T-Hawks battled into triple overtime once. We took that contest. Then on February 23 (Thursday), another game with a close complexion developed.
We had our home fans hopeful in the first half. We led 26-23 at halftime but would not seal the deal. Monte found the tools to surpass us in second half play. Those T-Hawks had a 35-29 advantage in the second half, which lifted them past our Tigers and deflated our home gym crowd. Monte won the ballgame 58-55.
But wait, a third matchup could be in the cards. We're both in Section 3AA. It would be nice this season to see MACA boys hoops exceed post-season expectations. That has not been the norm. But hey, a new "March Madness" chapter will be opening up soon.
We had a chance to tie the February 23 game at the end of regulation. However, a three-point try that would have knotted the score was a no-go. The shot deflected off the front rim.
Hats off to T-Hawk Travis Dreyer who was at the fore of his team's offense: 17 points. There were four T-Hawks in the double figures scoring circle - quite the balanced attack. Hats off to Isaac Douglas with 13 points, Andrew Sweeney with 12 and Riley Emery with ten. Isaac Hoogeveen put in four points and Henry Strunc two. Dreyer attacked the boards to collect eleven rebounds while Sweeney had nine. Derek Kilibarda stoked the offense with his four assists, and Dreyer had four steals.
On to the MACA Tiger data: here it was Jaret Johnson making noise with his 15 points. Then came Tate Nelson with his 12 and Tim Travis with ten. The rest of the list: Lukus Manska 7, Jacob Zosel 5, Camden Arndt 4 and Kyle Staebler 2. Three Tigers each made one 3-point shot: Nelson, Johnson and Manska. Travis with his six rebounds led there. Zosel with his six assists topped that category. Johnson stole the ball twice.
The MACA boys will debut in Section 3 play on Saturday, March 4, at home against the YME Sting.
Girls: Tigers 56, Benson 34
Benson hasn't mounted much of a challenge vs. MACA girls basketball in recent memory. Sometimes these patterns drag on a while. We saw a continuation of the norm on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the local gym. We took it to the Braves by a score of 56-34, Hey, the win pushed our win skein to seven!
We owned the game in the first half, drawing considerable cheers from the home crowd with a 28-9 scoring advantage. A fairly close second half developed in which our Tigers cruised. We cruised to our 16th win of the season with a final score of 56-34. We came out of the win at 16-9 while Benson was left at 0-23.
Don't worry, Braves fans, better times will come.
Each team had a leading scorer with 14 points. For MACA it was Ashley Solvie, while Danielle Himley set the pace for Benson. But Ashley had much more of a supporting cast. Correy Hickman scored 12 points. She was one of three Tigers each making a three-point shot. She was joined by Maddie Carrington and Riley Decker. Carrington's point output was nine. Then it was Nicole Solvie with eight points followed by Decker with seven. Jenna Howden, Jen Solvie and Malory Anderson each added two points to the mix.
So, there are three Solvies? Keep your program handy. It was Ashley Solvie setting the pace in rebounds with nine. Howden collected six rebounds. Hickman led in assists with five and co-led in steals with four. She co-led with Nicole Solvie.
was followed by these Braves on their scoring list: Amanda Nissen 11, Presley Gonnerman 4, Megan Amundson 2, Grace Lee 2 and Claire Ricard 1. Himley and Nissen each made a three-point shot. Nissen was team-high in rebounds with five followed by Courtney McNeill with four. Amundson produced three assists. Three Braves each had one steal: Himley, Gonnerman and Ricard.
I repeat: Better times will come for those Braves of Benson. We've had a nice partnership in hockey.
The Camden Arndt show
The Tigers and Knights took centerstage for hoops action, both boys and girls, on Monday, Feb. 20. Our orange and black Tigers prevailed in both contests in front of appreciative home fans. The boys game had a 71-50 final score.
Oh my, Camden Arndt was most certainly "in the zone." He missed only one shot from the field and scored 26 points. He was three-for-three in his three-point shooting! We owned this game at halftime with a fine 42-28 lead. This was our 13th win of the season against ten losses. It's nice to elevate a little over .500 with the post-season so near. The Knights of WCA came out of this game at .500 with 10-10 numbers.
Manska joined Arndt to form a 1-2 punch. Manska's point total: 17. Tate Nelson and Jacob Zosel each scored eight points. Also scoring: Connor Koebernick 5, Andrew Anderson 3, Tim Travis 2 and Jaret Johnson 2. Arndt was part of a most potent long-range shooting attack. Zosel like Arndt made three long-rangers. Nelson and Manska each made two 3's. Koebernick sank a long-ranger.
led in rebounds with six and in assists with four. Nelson with his three steals led there.
Girls: Tigers 69, West Central Area 49
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls took care of business on that day of competition vs. the West Central Area Knights. It was a nice tune-up game for the post-season.
High School is in Barrett which is the temporary home of yours truly. Mom and I are at the very nice Barrett Care Center. while Mom makes a recovery from health issues.
The MACA girls took care of business with a 69-49 final score. We picked up steam as this game went on as we outscored WCA 39-24 in the second half. We got our 15th win of the season. We were assigned the No. 3 seed for the post-season (North sub-section).
Ashley Solvie put on a show with her talents just like Camden Arndt did for the boys. Ashley poured in 24 points. You might say that Correy Hickman put on a show too, as this Tiger's point output was 22. Indeed, a 1-2 punch just like with Arndt and Manska.
Malory Anderson contributed seven points and Nicole Solvie had six. We wrap up the list with Jenna Howden 4, Maddie Carrington 3, Riley Decker 2 and Jen Solvie 1. The amazing Solvies contribute quite a bit.
Ashley Solvie led in rebounds with eight while Hickman had six. Hickman made a three-pointer and led in assists with six. Nicole Solvie was tops in steals with five while Hickman had four and Decker supplied two.
I'm still a little active
Yes, I announced on my primary website, "I Love Morris," that I'm in hiatus from this activity while all our stuff is going on. I have been able to shoehorn in a little time for writing, so today I'm sharing a little on one of my favorite subjects: MACA basketball. I'm in Morris right now for a quick visit back, then it'll be back to (Knight country of) Barrett this evening! Good luck to all.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Groundhog Day: halftime lead but loss to Melrose

Melrose 56, Tigers 45
So, how did we get to play the Melrose Dutchmen twice in a short timespan? Melrose has been a steamroller type of BBB team this season. Man, how they rack up the wins. They racked up their win No. 22 at the expense of our Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers. So they're 22-0! Can anyone stop this I-94 gang?
The MACA Tigers were left with a 10-10 record. The final score: 56-45.
It must have seemed like Groundhog Day - playing the Dutchmen yet again and coming up shy. Oh, but we also led at halftime of both games! In the most recent showdown we were up 27-26 at the halfway mark. The second half was when Melrose revved up their engines. Melrose outscored MACA 30-18 in the second half. 
The game was played on Tuesday, Feb. 14 (yes, Valentine's Day) at Melrose.
Dillon Haider is a primary talent for the Dutchmen this season. He poured in 22 points to lead his team. Brady Birch was the other double figures scorer with 12. Here's the rest of the Melrose scoring cast: Francisco Cervantes (7), Hunter Rieland (6), Traeton Keaveny (6), Damon Van Beck (2) and Justin Middendorf (1). Haider connected four times from three-point range, while Keaveny and Cervantes each made one long-ranger. 
Haider and Birch each had four rebounds. Haider dished out six assists. Cervantes stole the ball three times. 
For the MACA Tigers, Jaret Johnson connected three times from three-point land. Lukus Manska and Jacob Zosel each made one long-ranger. Those Johnson three-pointers elevated him to team-best status in scoring with 16 points. Zosel was second-best with 12 points. Other Tigers who scored: Camden Arndt (8), Tate Nelson (4), Manska (3) and Tim Travis (2). Johnson led in rebounds with five. Zosel was tops in assists with five. Manska and Connor Koebernick each had two steals.
Looking at local papers
I'm writing this post at SCMC. A family member is dealing with some health issues and I strive to always be optimistic of course. I took a break earlier today to visit our public library (one of the chief assets of Morris) and there once again I saw how big and thick the Elbow Lake newspaper is, compared to our rather pathetic Morris paper. 
A library staffer told me we shouldn't be surprised, given that the Morris paper became a "chain paper." It is not locally or independently owned. Is it true that Forum Communications didn't even have the balls to tell us who to vote for, for president? They have had no problem advising us in other years. So they decided we could be trusted to make the right decision? I hope we didn't blow it. 
The Morris paper runs large photos with a lot of fluff articles that just take up space. Anyone who says they like the Morris paper, ask them what they've been smoking. At the very least the Morris paper ought to be acquired free of charge. Senior Perspective has far more value and it's free. 
It's totally hypocritical for the Morris paper to advise us in occasional editorials about how we ought to shop in Morris. If it is nothing else, the Morris paper is a vehicle for promoting those big businesses in Alexandria. 
The Elbow Lake area is sparsely populated with towns remindful of Mayberry. Not that that isn't charming. But we don't expect to see a far more vibrant newspaper serving that area. That's what we get, though. Morris needn't shrug off the current state of affairs. A concerted effort to ignore the Morris paper could force that company to depart, whereupon some sort of new venture could get going, on an independent basis to truly serve Stevens County. It's time for us to become proactive.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com