Burroughs Stage Band members star in the world of music

Burroughs Stage Band members star in the world of musicBruce Auld, a former Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent, is writing the history of Burroughs High School. The articles that are being published are excerpts from his upcoming book, exclusive to The News Review. Mike Edwin Garrett passed away on November 23, 2014. Mike graduated from Milliken University (B.S.) and the University of Illinois (M.A.). He spent many years in education as a mathematics teacher/administrator in Illinois and California. His love for music drew him to many types of musical venues, such as brass band, orchestra, jazz, musical theater, country and polka. Mike came to Burroughs in September 1971 to teach math. In 1980, he was assigned as principal of Mesquite Continuation High School, although leaving Ridgecrest in short order to assume the principal position at Rosamond High School. Mike was a popular and highly respected math teacher, yet he might be best remembered as the leader of the stage and jazz bands. (Excerpted from Mike Garrett’s Obituary)

I am not certain when stage band first appeared in the Burroughs performing arts line-up. Russ Parker was the leader in 1970 followed by Mike Garrett. I remember attending the stage band performances in the early 1970s in the newly constructed BHS Performing Arts Center (PAC), now the Russell and Sherry Parker Performing Arts Center. The PAC is back, following post 2019 earthquake repairs and upgrades.

In 1973, Alan Kubik’s Madrigal singers, Concert Choir and Mixed Chorus filled the BHS PAC stage for numerous performances. Russ Parker’s Varsity Band, 130 strong, performed pre-game and halftime shows at home football games. Lorraine Tiffany was Drum Majorette. The band travelled to the Magic Mountain Band Day, Hawthorne Band Review and the Antelope Valley College Instrumental Festival. (1973 El Burro). That was the band members, day job. In the evening, Mike Garrett’s stage band and jazz band would gather to practice and perform. Local Realtor, Clint Freeman, Deborah Liv Johnson and Bob Malone played in the 1973 stage band, as did Bill Lutjens:

“I’ve (Bill Lutjens) played piano since I was 6 and sax and flute since 5th/6th grate. Got my first taste of jazz during my high school years when I heard the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Performed at the Reno Jazz Festival with Burroughs High School from Ridgecrest, California. Attended Fresno State and played lead tenor in the ‘A’ band from 1975-1981, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979. During and after college performed with Johnny Mathis, Stan Kenton, Bob Hope, Mel Torme, BJ Thomas and Barnum and Bailey Circus. I’ve toured throughout the US and Europe with a variety of groups between 1979-1985.

Studied jazz improvisation and/or sax with Buddy Collette, Andy Macintosh, Gabe Baltazar, Wayne Marsh, Art Pepper and Charles Shoemake.

Started teaching music at the K-8 level in the 80s and played less. Lived and taught in California (Ridgecrest, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Fresno). Stopped playing in the early 90s with the arrival of my three children.

I recently retired from school teaching after 35 years in June of 2017 and bought a horn and started playing. Didn’t realize what I had been missing until I got the opportunity to play with the VANPORT Jazz band. I feel like a kid again!” (from VANPORT Jazz)

Deborah Liv Johnson was the third of five children, born to missionary parents in Tanzania, East Africa, yet she arrived in Ridgecrest before her first birthday. As a senior at Burroughs, Deborah was primarily the drummer, yet often Mike Garrett gave her the baton and command of the band. Deborah publishes her recordings on Mojave Sun Records. Her “Cowboys of Baja” has won numerous honors. (Excerpted from Deborah Liv Johnson’s Website)

Alberta Kline followed Dr. Theldon Meyers as instrumental music teacher at the China Lake elementary schools and Murray Junior High. Alberta was a trumpet player. Bob Malone played in the Murray band and studied privately with Ms. Kline. Ms. Kline loaned Bob her own trumpet for special performances. Bob played trumpet in all of the BHS bands, including the award-winning Stage Band. As many of us Burros did after graduating from Burroughs, Bob enrolled at Bakersfield College. There, Bob was fortunate to receive instruction from several trumpet teachers, whom were students of internationally acclaimed trumpet players.

Taking everything he could from his Bakersfield experience, Bob was accepted into the University of Southern California (USC) music program. There he was fortunate to receive instruction from specialists in both music and technique. In all, Bob had a well-rounded education in trumpet performance. After graduating from USC, Bob was introduced to instrument design and modification. That took him into two distinct worlds of brass instruments, performance and design. Bob was fortunate to join the Disneyland Fanfare Ensemble Trumpeters, which was satisfying from the performance side, yet introduced him to collaborative partnerships in design projects. Bob performed with Disney until 1987, when his brass design business, Malone’s Brass Technology, demanded most of his time.

In 1989, Bob became Director of Ateliers for Yamaha Corporation of North America to design the next generation of brass instruments and woodwinds. Bob developed “good ears” at Yamaha, which invested enormously in high quality production equipment to raise the bar in creating new instruments, such as the “Chicago C Trumpet.” In short, Bob had the good fortune to work with the highest level of instrument design professionals and among them, Bob is considered a genius.

Bob is a private pilot, chef, and muscle car enthusiast. Bob and his wife Lorraine Tiffany of 40 years, raise a rare breed of dog, the Kuvasz. (Excerpted from The Brass Herald, February 2010 by Philip Biggs)

Lorraine is the daughter of Bettye Jane Tiffany, longtime principal at Murray Junior High School, retiring as Assistance Superintendent of Instruction for Sierra Sands. Father Dr. Ellis Tiffany was likewise a life-long educator with Sierra Sands and author of a history of the China Lake schools, frequently quoted by this writer.

Pictured: Bob Malone

Story First Published: 2022-04-01