Franklin High (1966) – 1st high school recording? – LOUIE of Week

This week, I’m awarding the LOUIE of the Week award to a thrift store special. My pal Jeff Miller of Wiley’s Golden Oldies of Tacoma sent this LP to me. As luck would have it, I’m thinking this could very well be the world’s FIRST high school recording of the iconic melody.

This is a performance of the Franklin High School Choir Orchestra and Stage Band from the album entitled “The 1966 Bel Cantos Concert.”

Check out this little video clip I slapped together tonight with some photos of the album and some crusty old public domain footage….

There’s nothing on this record to provide information about what part of the United States that this particular “Franklin High School” was based. As people tend to move all over the place, dragging their record collection with them across the country, this could have been from any one of the 50 states, but I’m guessing that this was probably from the “Franklin High School” in Seattle, Washington. Richard Koehler was the choir director, and Waldo King was the band director for this group. Nobody thought about posting the city this school was based, much less a mailing address.

If you can positively identify which “Franklin High” this band was located, that would be appreciated.

Maybe you, or someone you know is on this recording? Stranger things have happened…

UPDATE: Mike Hintze did some research on this album, and this is what he came up with:

Yes, I think this is Frankiln High School in Seattle. I did a search on Richard Koehler and Waldo King, and got several hits on Waldo King – mostly from articles in the Seattle Times. Turns out he was a jazz music education pioneer in Seattle. Was at Roosevelt High School for a number of years. Didn’t find a direct mention of him at Franklin, but its a logical conclusion that this is the same guy.

6 comments to Franklin High (1966) – 1st high school recording? – LOUIE of Week

  • Mike Hintze

    Yes, I think this is Frankiln High School in Seattle. I did a search on Richard Koehler and Waldo King, and got several hits on Waldo King – mostly from articles in the Seattle Times. Turns out he was a jazz music education pioneer in Seattle. Was at Roosevelt High School for a number of years. Didn’t find a direct mention of him at Franklin, but its a logical conclusion that this is the same guy.

  • I attended Franklin High School in Seattle, graduating in 1969, and sang in the Bel Canto Choir under Dr. Koehler’s direction for 3 years. Waldo King was indeed the Jazz Band conductor. The great art teacher Mr. Frank Fujii designed the album cover. Hope this is clarifying.

  • Jolene K.

    6/20/09 There is no doubt. These students attended Franklin High in School, Seattle Washington. This is the Stage Band performance under the direction of Waldo King (band director). The Stage Band and the Bel Cantos Choir (Under the direction of Dr. Richard Koehler) traveled Europe for 1 month in June and July of 1966. There were many articles written about them prior to the trip and during the trip several members contributed articles to the Seattle Times and P.I. newspapers. The choir members and stage band are planning a reunion this year in Seattle on October 9th, 10th and 11th and encourage past members to join us. Jolene

  • Chuck Massena

    Cool !!!!! I have this album in my collection because I was 2nd Trombone when we recorded this in 1966. I was a senior at the time and we recorded this in the school auditorium.(pretty crude compared to today) I also helped arranged this version of Louie Louie for the band. Waldo KIng was the director and built the band at Franklin. Great flashback

  • VanishingKitsap

    They were on a trip to Europe. The first group (1966) went through Europe. The second group went only to the UK (1969). The school was located at 3013 South Mt. Baker Boulevard, Seattle, WA 98144. “Richard Koehler” is listed as “H. Richard Koehler” on the second album.

  • VanishingKitsap

    Just to clarify–they’d record these and then go on the trips. The second album just has the Bel Canto Choir, not the band. It was “presented in their annual Opera House Concert.”

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