It’s interesting that in both Sandy Unrue‘s story and mine (Marty Boller), there were, in the early-to-mid 60’s, major job changes for both of our fathers. In 1962, the Unrue family moved into Elkhart, Indiana (see new house pics above), when Sandy’s dad, Jack Unrue, left a failing family insurance business in Goshen to pursue new opportunities in accounting with Miles Laboratory in Elkhart. Read more here.
In November 1965, my dad, George Boller, was offered an amazing advancement opportunity in his printing career with The Daily Iowan, the University of Iowa’s student newspaper. As a result, we moved from Mt. Pleasant to Iowa City in June 1966. Read more here.
In both of our cases, these major transitions in jobs for our fathers proved to be advantageous for us – placing both Sandy and me in schools where there were countless opportunities to better develop our growing interest in music. And with the arts being such a big part of our lives, we quickly discovered that involving ourselves in our school’s musical programs was an excellent way to build an identity for ourselves in our new school settings.
Concord High School served the growing population of un-incorporated Elkhart County, located between Goshen and Elkhart. Here, Sandy stepped into the music program during her four years of high school and she became known as a talented vocalist from the area, winning the Arian Music Award for Vocals in her senior year. Sandy also played violin in the school orchestra from 7th grade all the way through high school. Below, the Concord HS Marching Band performs in downtown Elkhart – and yes, that’s Sandy in the flag baton unit – third one in line – below right.
Sandy graduated from Concord on her dad’s birthday – May 27, 1968.
(P-0157) By my senior year at Iowa City High School in 1969, I was playing first chair tuba in the marching band, the symphonic band, and the symphony orchestra. I won an unprecedented two ‘Gold Key’ awards from the City High Music Department; one for leadership in band, and one for chorus.
As I said, Sandy excelled at winning over the crowds at Concord High School in Elkhart. As the lead vocalist in the choir department, she was getting vocal music scholarship offers from numerous schools and universities around the Midwest. Interestingly enough, we both preformed on stage in our high school musical productions of Camelot, with Sandy playing Nimue, which, in the Broadway production, is always matched up with my role as King Pellinore (above left). Hmm. A premonition of things to come?
In the fall 1968, Sandy ventured away from Elkhart, winning a vocal music scholarship at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Here, she became a tried-and-true Wildcat fan. Below is her 21st birthday party on campus in April, 1971. Most of the Unrue family ventured up to Evanston for the celebration.
One year later, in 1969, I started my music education degree at (where else?) the University of Iowa. One of my dad’s prouder moments in life was the four years his boy was a star sousaphone player for the Hawkeye Marching Band. Never mind the fact that the football team won less than 10 games my entire college career…people still packed Iowa Stadium (renamed Kinnick Stadium while I was in school) to root on our beloved Hawkeyes and to sing the ole Iowa Fight Song featuring me on the tuba solo!
(M-0072) Here’s a sousaphone Christmas ornament – a good reminder of my tuba days at Iowa. During my senior year, I had the distinct privilege of arranging a few tunes for the Hawkeye Marching Band, under the direction our HMB Mom – Dr. Tom Davis.
(L-0025) (M-0085) 1972 – Here’s one of my charts arranged for and performed by The Hawkeye Marching Band. Click here for more about my love for music and the arts.
Majoring in music was a real joy for both Sandy and me. By the time we graduated with music education degrees in 1972 (S) and 1973 (M), we were ready to find teaching positions in music and lay our claim to fame as a choral director (Sandy) and band director (Marty). As it turned out, God eventually charted both of our paths to a northwest suburb of Chicago – a Cook County village called Wheeling.
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.