Write Again…Musical memories were made

Published 11:09 am Friday, January 8, 2021

He was a handsome man, with a very warm smile.

We were gathered together backstage, off to the right, out of sight of the audience.

When he left the stage, we were to then go on stage and do our entertainment. We, meaning the Washington High School Boys Quartet.

The venue was an outdoor facility, located in Wilmington, NC, used for part of the 1957 annual Azalea Festival activities. A big deal, for sure. Big star. Big crowd. And us.

When this well known TV and movie celebrity finished onstage he came off, stage right, past us.

We went on not a bit nervous, I remember. We had been singing together for several years, many, many times in many varied locations.

Our twenty minutes or so seemed to be well received by a friendly and receptive audience.

We sang our last song, acknowledged the applause, and came off the stage, using the same side, from where we had entered.
Standing there, with a really approving smile, there he stood. He told us he wanted to hear and see how we did on our first song, and decided to stay for our whole performance. He was very complimentary.

The Azalea Festival always had a popular entertainment celebrity as the main guest, and that year it was Dale Robertson.
My older (that is, more age-mature) readers will remember him from his western movies, his long running TV series, “Tales of Wells Fargo,” and later from a very popular weekly television show that aired in a prime time slot. (I forget the name.)

Dale Robertson was a graduate of the then Oklahoma City University, and a multi-sport letter-winnning athlete.

For twenty minutes or so one spring afternoon in Wilmington he listened to a high school barbershop quartet, composed of Will, Ward, Charlie Mike and me.

That was very near the end of the quartet’s time together, as two of us were seniors, and two were juniors.

Looking back, I like to think that during our time together we sprinkled a little musical sunshine.

And . . . we made some sweet memories.