Duane Yegerlehner '53

Lifting Up Professors

We learned much about human relations & other stuff that we could never have learned at a state university. Our education at Mission House/Lakeland College was priceless, thanks to such dedicated and wonderful professors. One such professor was Prof. Ellerbusch.

I don't think Jackie (Ramm) Kuck '52 will mind me telling this; she always laughed about her situation. She wanted so much to be in the college choir. But there was one problem: she was monotone. Prof. Ellerbusch always had “auditions" but these were more to place us where our vocal range was. (Most everyone made the choir as our student body was rather small.) Poor Jackie couldn't carry a tune. Well, we all wondered what Prof would do. (We would all like to have heard her audition--on second thought, maybe not!) As I remember, Prof let her in. He placed her in several sections of the choir, to see where he could best “cover her up," or where she would do the least amount of contamination! But Jackie had a wonderful spirit about her that increased the morale of the choir. Her jovial spirit made for a tremendous group spirit. And we were all glad she was allowed to be in the choir. I think Jackie took voice lessons with Madame Bauer (upon Prof. Ellerbusch's suggestion) and it was my responsibility to accompany her. Wow! My memory does not chart her progress! But my memory of our dear profs remains clear. What educators!

Enjoying the "Fruit of the Vine"

Choir tour was always great fun. This particular tour began in southwestern Wisconsin in one of the Swiss congregations. The College provided an early lunch and then dinner was usually in the church. We arrived at the church to find out that dinner was going to be in the homes. We were famished. Our host asked us if we would like a glass of his homemade wine before dinner. By this time, college life had taught me how enjoyable the fruit of the fine could be and I said yes very quickly. Maynard Beemer '55 was my roommate and, being from Kansas, as I remember, had not allowed such brew to touch his lips. But he didn't want to offend our host either. Our host appeared with huge dinner glasses of wine. We sipped and sipped, as dinner was very late. I still wonder how we got from our chairs to the dinner table! But we certainly sang joyfully the next morning as the choir sang for the morning worship service! That experience was the nearest to being drunk that I can remember!

"Yes, Madame Bauer"

Since I was a music major and an organ major, Madame Bauer asked me to accompany the voice students. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, from 3:00 to 6:00, I would go to her house and wait in her living room until she vocalized the students with their vowels and arpeggios. Then I went into her studio. The aroma there was always the same, cooked cabbage as it wafted from the kitchen.

One day, the student who was supposed to memorize the song forgot the melody and sang something that was very different from what was on the printed page. I can still hear Madame Bauer with her heavy German accent saying, "Dvane, you play what the student sings; not what is on the printed page." What could one say to Madame Bauer but "Yes, Madame Bauer!" I learned more about accompanying vocalists with her than anyone could learn. And she always paid me. I've forgotten the exact amount, but it was a handsome sum of 10 to 15 cents per student. I'm green with envy when I read that some people worked in a cannery, mixed the cans and got 40 cents an hour!

Organ Music in the Library

I remember that  the chapel was under the library and the organ, of course, was down there. Being a music and organ major, I needed to practice. I remember at least one time, if not more, Hilda Ernst, the campus librarian came down to tell me to cool it! Can you imagine playing Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" and Max Reger's "Toccata" very softly? Especially Reger's piece, which was full blast all the way? You flip on all the stops and pray for more! Especially on that little organ. Evidently it was powerful enough to rattle a few books and the librarian! Some students did tell me that they appreciated the music while they studied.

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