I've related that ASU Band Day story in many e-mails during our reunion organizing.  I've never blamed Boyd for that fall.  It was at ASU Band Day in the fall of 1969.  We were marching in the "old" ASU stadium (which I think has now been torn down), and it had rained the week prior.  The field was a sloppy mess, and every band that marched that day had trouble with footing.  I guess Boyd was trying extra hard to make a sharp turn.  Anyway, I was marching right next to him, and the routine called for a sort of "peel off," where each member in line turned 90 degrees at two step intervals.  Boyd turned right two steps prior to me, as per the plan.  I remember him completely disappearing from my peripheral view, and when I turned right, there he was on the turf.  Of course, he immediately picked himself up and continued on.  The Charger Band didn't have a great day in general that day, which resulted in a rating of "3" or "Good," the only non-"Superior" we received during my four years in the band.  Larry Mabbitt was very philosophical about the whole thing--I remember him on Monday morning holding up the "Good" plaque (as opposed to the "Superior" banners we were used to), and saying something to the effect that we could chalk it up to experience.  We watched the film of the performance, and of course saw Boyd's swan dive (I'd rate it a 9.5 under the Olympic scoring system, just behind Beth Crounse's 9.6 header during our group picture the year before).  Larry never said a word about it to us as a group, and of course never blamed Boyd either (now, the b-flat he played while falling instead of a b-natural is another matter.....).  As a band, we earned that "3" fair and square, and we stopped burning Boyd's image in effigy years ago.   :-)

John Dunstan '72
Tell us your story!
Questions, I get questions.  My narrative on Boyd Dunn’s swan dive generated several, such as, “How do you remember these events in such detail?” (Answer:  You mean you actually believe my stories?), and “What’s the capital of Albania?” (Answer: You have entirely too much time on your hands).

The most common question was “What did you mean by “Beth Crounse’s 9.6 header during our group picture the year before?”  Well, for those who weren’t there or forgot about it (how COULD you?), here’s the scoop:

It was the Fall of 1968, and we were posing for a splendid fold-out picture of the Charger Band for the yearbook.  Anyone who has a copy of the 1968-1969 Historian, you may go and get it now.  I’ll wait………………………..OK—there we were, formed up on a small rise next to ASU’s Grady Gammage auditorium, although by the cropping of the picture you can’t really tell.  Now, if you will focus your attention to the lower left of the foldout picture, you’ll see Freshman Beth Crounse standing in the front row, second from the left, right next to Senior Kathie Dunstan, who appears to be about nine years old (and as the only Charger Band member who knew Kathie as a nine-year-old, trust me on this one).  Now, notice the serene, almost whimsical look on Beth’s face.  This, ironically, is the physical manifestation of somebody who is in the process of passing out STONE COLD.  Beth is actually beginning her journey to the grass, leaning slightly right, towards Junior Mona Sandoval, whom at this point she barely even knew.  Historically, it’s a bit of a shame that the photographer didn’t click the shutter about a half-second later, or he would have captured a rather artsy “Leaning Tower of Pisa” effect.  A full second later, and Beth would have been at about a 45-degree angle.  Then the photographer could have cropped out the trees and light pole, and kept future observers eternally guessing if perhaps Beth wasn’t the one standing upright, with all the rest of us leaning 45 degrees to the left.

Lest you accuse me of being too flippant about the entire episode, let me emphasize that Beth landed in the soft grass and was OK, and recovered so well that she ended up as Charger Band Vice President 3 years later.  Please, I do request that you not tell your children or (gulp!) grandchildren that part.  There are probably scores of young high school students who are secretly yearning to enter the rough-and-tumble, power-brokering world of high school music politics, and may see fainting during a group photo as a way of getting their foot in the door.  Nobody wants to see that.

As a footnote, for those wondering why Kathie Dunstan looks like she could go on the kiddie rides in Disneyland (which she did—when she was nine), looking far younger than our years is a family trait.  You can see this by looking at my image in the same picture.  Look in the back row, left-hand side and locate Mr. Irvin Coin, our assistant director that year.  Now move right to the third student, and you’ll be struck with the commanding presence of a blond, handsome, dashing, debonair future U.S. Air Force Academy graduate.  That’s Jon Stapley.  Now go down one row and left two students, and you’ll see what looks like a blond, pasty-faced, six-year-old albino dwarf.  I rest my case.



John Dunstan '72


I Remember When I made a terrible mistake on the marching field one Homecoming Game.  We were doing a "picture" show which told the history of our school.  Part of the band was in rectangle formation that was to supposed represent the school cafeteria.  The rest of the band was standing in the rectangle mingling around.    The announcer was to say his line, the chimes were to ring  and we were all supposed to yell and run to the next formation.  Well, I got a little ahead of myself and Iforgot to wait for the chimes to ring.  When the announcer was done with his lines I suddenly let out a yell and starting running out of the formation.  When I realized what I was doing I stopped and thought, "Oh well, no one will know it is me because of my Band hat.  But I was wrong.  As I stood frozen in place, separate from the entire band, I heard a voice from the stands yell, "Look!  It's Al."  I thought I would die.  Then when I went to the Homecoming dance after the game everyone was saying, "Good move Al."

Alicia Elias '71

What do I remember. Well, I was only a member for one year. But this is it. I remember getting yelled at by Bruce and Leann and Blake for not stepping high enough and then getting yelled at by Leann for prancing when I tried to improve my marching. And yes, I was there for the dive by Beth Crouse. I also saw the Dunn incedent in all it's glory! I was there for the imfamous 3 rating on ASU band day. I also remember it was that year that we lost our Homecoming game to Casa Grande the worst ranked triple A school in the state. Having said all that... I also remember being allowed to learn French Horn under the tutalidge of the master for Concert Band. That was a rare experience. We had one french horn player( Junior - All State member) and the rest of us were drawn from the ranks. Let's see Pam Stapley, Bobby Sandoval and I rounded out the section. What an interesting group! I must admit, it was fun. I was a treble cleff baritone player and that was the kiss of death so it was an easy transition for me(besides, I would rather have been a french horn player). The rest were rather accomplished as I remember. Me, it took some practice. How many of you still have the album we recorded that year? I do. What an experience. The Victory at Sea Medley(directed by Mr. Mabbitt), The Synphonians(directed by Mr. Coin) and a number of others. If anything Mr Mabbitt gave me an appreciation for Schostakovich and Russian composers in general. Now I've said all that to say this. I enjoyed my time with the band and wish I had persued it more.
Beyond that, I have a personal story about Dan Malone. Happy go lucky easy going and the statute of limitations has expired on any possible legal ramifications to this story. Yes, folks, he has a dark side. I know this is a bit away fronm the band but, bare with me.
I was hanging around the park by my parents house and Dan and someone else that I don't recall the identity of rode up on their bicycles. Dan said to me we're going to pull a prank on(name removed to protect the innocent). We have this one pound bag of flour with an M-80 in it. We're going to go up put it on his porch and ring the bell. So away they go down the street and a minute later thay come back. Yep, they lit the M-80 rang the bell and away they went. What happened next is too amazing(and I am glad nobody was at home at the house in question). As we are standing there watching the M-80 in the flour bag explodes sending flour up in a cloud. The flour ignites creating this huge fireball tht engulfed the whole porch of the house. Fortunately the porch didn't catch fire but we scattered like a bunch of mice when the lights go on.
I also remember getting rides home from Pat Lacey in his little van( I can't remember the manufacturer). He had a siren attached to a speaker and we would go down the street with the siren running and I do remember a number of cars pulling over for us.

Jim Munzer 72




Tell us your story Okay, a few years have passed... I think I can tell this story:
  In my junior year, during marching season, Jeff Schneck and I had some fun at others' expense. It was all harmless, but it almost got us into a lot of trouble one night.
  After marching the half-time shows, our loyal Band-Aids brought water to us in our seats. We got all we wanted so Jeff and I always asked for more. We were trumpet players, who sat higher up in the bleachers - above the walkway below the bleachers, actually. We didn't drink all our water, but used some of it to pour on unsuspecting football fans walking below where we sat.
  Jeff and I could see passers-by through the gaps in the floorboards of our row. It's was kinda like we were bombadiers flying high over WWII Germany, only instead of explosives we attacked those below us with water. There was a science to this process: you had to take in peoples' pace and let that dixie cup of water drop at just the right moment. We would help the other with the command, "fire," to let the water go at just the right moment.
  It was just water. Most of our 'victims' quickly figured it out, but it was fun watching them jump and shriek and such - you could see a lot through that little crack in the floorboard. We'd laugh and laugh!  
  Occasionally someone would be steaming mad and come running to our area of the bleachers. Everyone calmed down when they saw all the water being handled and realized it was just water spilled on them.
  Except one time... One guy in a cowboy hat knew it was more than water being spilled. His pride was injured, he felt his honor had to be vindicated. I still think, more than anything, he wanted to impress his date. He ran up to where we were sitting and knew the Band-Aid didn't spill water on him. He was right - he was a victim of a prank. No one had ever been so mad, so hell-bent on pay-back. We were a little scared of what he might do to us. After all, band members do not have a reputation for being tough guys. He might have thought he had an easy target to throw a couple of punches and really impress his girlfriend that night.
  Jeff and I already had experience looking the other way when people came up looking for us. Jeff was the smart one that night. As Cowboy ran up the bleachers to our left Jeff instructed me just to look his way as if we were in an intense conversation and not to look his way at any cost. He knew this guy could be trouble. Nobody ever came running up so high or quite so angrily.
  I looked Jeff's way and out of the corner of his eye he described to me how the cowboy was looking and asking about who could have done such a dirty deed as get him wet. It was too noisy, not even the people sitting next to us could hear what Jeff or I said. Plus, we were safely in the middle of our row.
  Cowboy must have been a teacher or combat soldier  because he was clever at trying to trick us into giving ourselves away: he walked back down the bleachers a little bit and turned back quickly looking for the guilty party's eyes who he thought would follow him down the steps. Jeff, who is now an attorney, was much too clever for his tricks. He told me Cowboy would try something like this and not to look his direction until he gave me the 'all clear.' We kept up our phoney conversation.
  When Cowboy left we decided not to drench any more people under the bleachers. We liked our fun, but we weren't going to risk Cowboy staking us out or something like that.
  Band was so much fun!!!

Ron Abrahams




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