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Fullerton College Professor Of Music 1957-1998

1957 – I was the third person in the Fullerton College Music Department. Ken Helvey and Paul Ingham were the others. The department prospered and grew much larger over the years. I taught all the large and small instrumental ensembles plus woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, keyboards, music history and music theory. One year I even had a choral group. In 1958, I began doctoral classes at USC and continued during the summers and spring semesters.

During my first semester, it was quite a shock coming from a high school band of 117 players to a college band of 14. The half-time shows depended on the girls dancing group called the Hornet Honeys. They saved the day. The band grew to 30, then 40, then 50, but we always had the Hornet Honeys, the twirlers and the flag girls in their short skirts, to make us look much larger and lots better.

The dedication of the Richard Nixon birthplace in Yorba Linda was a very important event. The planners asked Dr. Stanley Warburton, the District Superintendent of Schools, if the Fullerton College Band could play for the occasion. In full uniform, they all sat in the hot sun, waiting to be asked to play. As speaker after speaker droned on and on, I got more upset. When are they going to ask us to play? Dr. Warburton spent the whole time trying to calm me down. The dedication ended, and the Fullerton College Band never played a note.

When Paul Ingham left in 1959, the college hired Scott Coulter, a tenor who was a fine composer and a talented painter. He had taught both music and art at California High School in Whittier before coming to Fullerton College. Shortly after he arrived, he and I were returning from a music conference at USC and stopped at his house for sandwiches. While he and his wife were preparing the mail, I admired a large painting that he had done. I told him “I sure like your painting, but one of the numbers is showing through.” He and his wife burst out of the kitchen screaming “Where, where?” “There are no numbers,” as they examined the painting. Then they realized that I was laughing. This was the start of a wonderful friendship that lasted until he died in 1979. He and I were always playing tricks on each other and telling each other bigger and better lies.

During my first few years, the Fullerton College Music Department shared space with the Fullerton High School Music Department. When the board decided to build a music building on the college campus, the music faculty asked me to draw up a plan, since they knew that I had at one time planned to be an architect. I drew up the first plan and the music faculty suggested changes. I incorporated their ideas in the second drawing. Still more faculty suggestions resulted in a third drawing. Finally the music faculty thought we had a good plan, but wondered what this architect would do with it. He liked our plan and made minimal changes to allow for air conditioning and baffles to keep sound from leaking from one room to the next. But I’m reminded of the advice my drafting teacher in Lincoln High School gave me back in 1940. He said “Don’t go into architecture. There’s no money in it.” Well, he was right. I drew the original plans for the Fullerton College Music Building that sits on the northeast corner of Lemon and Chapman, and I didn’t get paid a dime for it. The music faculty members got exactly what they wanted, and the new building turned out to be a great place to teach.

1971 – When people started calling me Doctor Fredrickson, I felt uncomfortable. Also, the name was so long. The music faculty started calling me Doctor Dar. Most of my students began calling me Doctor Fred, and that seemed to work OK. However, my two sons, Scott and Dan, spread the rumor that I was demanding that they address me as Doctor Dad.

When I finished at USC, Norine and I decided to take a trip to celebrate. We decided on a 31 day trip to Europe with Nick Borah, an art teacher at Fullerton College. There were only twelve people in Nick’s Fullerton College group, but about 80 people total in the entire College Abroad group. The others came from all parts of the country. We visited London, Rome, Orvieto, Siena, Florence, Venice, The Tyrollean Alps, Salzburg, Lengfelden, Vienna, Munich, Paris and London. Nick was an excellent teacher –we learned much and had a lot of fun. One day in Venice, when we became tired of museums and cathedrals, we took the vaporeto to Lido Isle and went skinny dipping in the Adriatic Sea. The beer might have influenced that decision.

1974 – The California Music Educators’ Association scheduled a state conference on the same weekend that MACCC had always had its yearly conference. MACCC had to cancel its conference because most MACCC members were members of CMEA. Their leadership was very apologetic about what had happened, and tried to make it up to me and to MACCC. This led to an excellent relationship between MACCC and CMEA.

The national arm of CMEA was the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). In 1974, the MENC scheduled a national conference in Anaheim. Community Colleges had never been represented at an MENC national conference. I was determined to have the California Community Colleges represented at this meeting, and the CMEA supported me. After all, we had 107 community colleges with over a million students. No other state had anything like that. I phoned the president of the MENC many times to try to arrange for MACCC participation in their national conference. For the first time, community colleges were included at an MENC national conference.

The state High School Honor Choir and the Community College Honor Choir with the Fullerton College Brass Ensemble were to perform at THE MAIN General Session before a large and selective group of music teachers from all parts of America and many foreign countries.

The high school group sounded good, but they had young immature voices. The community college group sounded like a professional choir. It was THE big surprise of the MENC conference. When a man learned that I taught at Fullerton College, he said “Boy is Fullerton College ever making a name for itself. Every place you look in the program you see Fullerton College.”

1972 – One of the most successful classes that we developed at Fullerton College was the Creative Arts class. Nick Borah, Jim Henderson and I worked on this class for about six years before we attempted to offer it. It covered music, art, theater, television, etc. The class attended rehearsals of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, special theatrical performances for our class by the South Coast Repertory, plus visits to all the main art museums in Los Angeles. Fullerton College musical and theatrical groups performed for the class. Each two hour class period dealt with a different subject in the arts, so it took enormous amounts of preparation time. The class was packed (150 students) each semester, until Propositions 13 and 9 wiped it out. It was too expensive.

During the 1980s, I was involved in several European Study Tours. The 1981 European Study Tour (26 days) was with Dr. Martin Hebeling of the Fullerton College Social Science Department. We went to Frankfurt, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Munich, Salzburg, Venice, Ravenna, San Marino, Florence, Assisi, Rome, Pisa, Lucerne, Paris, Versailles, Calais, Dover, Canterbury and London. We took an overnight train from Lucerne to Paris, and a ferry from Calais to Dover. Our guide was good.

We spent the first night in Rothenburg. Our room faced the town square. We had a beautiful view, but we were about 20 feet from the town clock. It went off every 15 minutes all night long. We were exhausted in the morning.

The 1982 European Study Tour (26 days) went to the same places essentially, but we skipped Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Ravenna, San Marino and Pisa. Dr. Hebeling’s group and my group were supposed to be together, but the tour company put us in different buses and different hotels. In my bus there were three groups, each with a totally different objective. The Fullerton College group was a Study Tour, the Pasadena City College group was a fun tour, and the Florida Wine Drinking Society had another objective. Our two busses did not always stay together. When my bus was headed from Munich to Salzburg, some people in our group talked our European Tour Director into detouring to Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. We took a bus to the top, walked some distance in a tunnel and then took an elevator to the Eagle’s Nest. One of our ladies panicked and when she got off the elevator at the top and didn’t see anybody she knew. She caused a big scene as she fought her way down from the Eagle’s Nest. When our group returned to our bus she was missing. Everyone we asked “Have you seen a dark haired lady in a red dress?” “Oh you mean the crazy woman.” “She went that way.” Eventually we found out that “the crazy woman” took a taxi to Salzburg. We followed her across the German/Austrian border where they all remembered the “crazy woman in the red dress.” After several hours of search, we found her in the lobby of our hotel in Salzburg. She was OK the rest of the tour.

I chose to not do a tour in 1983 and the threat of terrorists prevented a 1984 tour. However, the 1985 European Study Tour was the best one of them all. We spent 26 days in Fankfurt, Wurzburg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Danube River cruise to Vienna, Klagenfurt, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Pisa, Vevey on Lake Geneva, Lausanne, Dijon, Paris, Versailes, Calais, ferry to Dover, Canterbury and London. We had a great guide—Dr. Martina Meyers. She spoke five languages. Our tour group was the only one that she led that summer because she worked full time in the Austrian Department of the Interior. Her salary was $600 a month. She could survive on that amount of money because she lived with her mother. She led our tour to make some money from tips so that she could buy some new luggage. We had a bunch of great people on this trip, including those girls from Auburn University. We all had a wonderful time.

The 1987 European Study Tour was with Kate Johnson from the Fullerton College Art Department. We spent 26 days in Frankfurt, on the Rhine River, Heidelberg, Munich, Salzburg, Venice, Rome, Montecatini, Florence, Pisa, Portifino, Nice, Monte Carlo, Chateaux country of the Loire Valley, Paris, Calais, English Channel, Dover, Canterbury and London. We used a tour company from France. Our European guide was a cute French lady. She tried to explain to us the proper pronunciation of German, Austrian and Italian cities and places—with a French Accent. This brought quite a few smiles. We had and excellent group of people from Fullerton. We shared the bus with another group from an Orange County college.

The two most obnoxious people in this group were a 19 year old guy who had “been to college,” and his uncle who was 49 going on 19. They were abusive to everyone on the bus and they bragged continually about their sexual conquests to all the impressionable college kids in the back of the bus. In Nice they enticed two Swedish girls to the beach late at night for a little fun until the men hosing down the beach rocks with fire hoses cooled their ardor. They took the two girls back to our hotel and sneaked them into their room. In the morning when our bus was ready to leave and these two fellows were missing, the police found them with these two girls. They made them pay extra room rent for the two girls or go to jail. It took every cent they had. They were then escorted to the bus by the police. For the first time on the tour, these two were silent and embarrassed. During the rest of the tour, they tried to borrow money from everyone on the bus. No one would loan them any. They whined and sulked during the rest of the tour. Everyone else was enjoying this turn of events. I guess “Whatever goes around comes around.”

In June 1998, Norine and I retired. Norine retired after 25 years with the Fullerton High School District. I retired after five years in Nebraska, five years in Wyoming and 32 years at Fullerton College. At the 1989 Fullerton College graduation ceremony, five faculty members retired. Each of us was honored with a full page write up in the graduation book. This book was printed in the Fullerton College print shop. Paul Miller was the print shop department chair, and he retired the same night, but did NOT attend the graduation ceremony. The four of us who DID attend the graduation ceremony suddenly realized that each of us was listed as a “Teacher Emeritus,” but that Paul Miller had listed himself as a “Professor Emeritus.”

From left, Dar Frederickson, Jim Henderson, and Nixson Borah.