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May 16, 2003

I have enjoyed the concerts presented by the Perry school system's instrumental musicians the past few days. The vocal group performed separately but I regret that other obligations made it impossible for me to attend them. I have heard nothing but good things about all of these, both vocal and instrumental. Sandy Hentges and Jim Parham are the band directors; Sandy Cranfill and Mary Weinkauf are vocal music teachers. There probably are other names that should be credited in some measure, but those are the ones I know.

We seem to have an abundance of richly talented young men and women in music this year and I don't want to diminish that factor, but these dedicated instructors have given us a year to remember. Because of budget restrictions, we are approaching a time of belt-tightening in our school system. But it will be nice in the years ahead to recall the versatility, artistic skills and, if you will, the genius of these young students in confluence with the magic of their instructors in this particular year Thanks to all of them for the talent they have shared with the rest of us.

Many folks in this area remember Eunice Khoury, who lived here a few years back before returning to the Oklahoma City area. You can catch her now on a Saturday morning (11 a.m.) KOMA radio show. Occasionally the show features a Perry resident, which makes it even more interesting.

Don Stoddard read the recent Northwest Corner column about Atchison, Kansas, and it punched his reminiscence button. Atchison, you will recall, lent its name to the fabled Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Line, and the town is now devising ways to lure tourists to its warehouse of memorabilia. Don writes: "Back during the depression days in the 1930s, I began my school days in Arkansas City, Kansas, better known as Ark City. It also was a railhead of the old Santa Fe line. I had an uncle who lived there. He also worked in one of the old roundhouses for the Santa Fe. I got to go watch him one time while he was working on one of those old steam engines. Also in Old Ark City there is still standing, as far as I know, a beautiful old high school that was built in 1890. A trip to that old high school is worth the time and effort. I plan to visit Ark City again this summer. It holds a lot of memories for me and I still have some old school pictures from there."

I appreciate Don's recollections and his contributions to this column from time to time.