Hoover Band played at important venues in mid-1950s

June 24, 2011
  • Bill Russell, front row, sixth from left, was in the Hoover band directed by Richard Schieberl when it marched in the Rose Bowl, Tournament of Roses Parade and at Disneyland. Photo appeared in the 1956 Scroll, Hoover's yearbook. (Courtesy Special Collections, Glendale Public Library)
Bill Russell, front row, sixth from left, was in the Hoover…

Bill Russell has fond memories of his years at Hoover High School. As a member of the school band, Russell and his fellow players marched down Main Street at the just-opened Disneyland, performed for the audience at the annual Hoover vs. Glendale game at the Rose Bowl and marched in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

Russell grew up at 326 Concord St. and attended Columbus Elementary. His grandmother Jessie Russell, one of the founders of Glendale’s PTA, served as president of that organization from 1910 to 1913. His mother, Ruth, continuing the volunteer activity modeled by her mother-in-law, signed up as assistant hospitality chair at Columbus, as noted in a 1950-’51 PTA directory kept by the Russell family. (This was back in the days when that school’s PTA membership stood at 445 members.)

He still remembers the big pickles they bought from a market across from Columbus.

“They were dill pickles and came out of a jar,” he said. “They cost a nickel in those days. The market is still there.”


Sometimes, he and his friends walked to another store, a little white house on Pacific Avenue at Lexington Drive, to buy candy.

1949 was a very cold winter, he recalled. So cold that water puddles on the playground turned to ice.

“We would run and skate on them. It snowed here that year. It never snows here in Glendale, but we had to go to school anyway,” he remembered.

Russell began his musical education in the fourth grade when he joined the chorus. When he entered Toll (riding his bike up Concord to the school) he took up the flute and played that instrument all three years.

Russell joined the band as soon as he got to Hoover and vividly recalled playing at the Hoover vs. Glendale game in the Rose Bowl.

“It seemed like half the town turned out for the games,” he said. “We played ‘Rock Around the Clock.’ “

The cross-town rivals played at the Rose Bowl for more than 30 years, from 1933 to 1966, according to an article in the Glendale High student newspaper Explosion, Nov. 14, 2008.

“Crowds usually numbered 15,000 to 20,000, but in the 1930s some games drew more than 30,000 spectators,” Russell said.

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