Around Denver Back in the Day
For me my fascination with rock and roll began in the 5th grade when I was attending Newlon Elementary School in West Denver (located adjacent to Denver’s Barnum neighborhood). The year was 1957 – late in the year. Local radio station KIMN was counting down the KIMN Top 50 on a Saturday morning and near the top of the countdown they spun a song which spun me around “Get a Job” by the Silhouettes. That was the beginning. Soon I entered junior high first at the brand new Kunsmiller located in what was then in the outreaches of Southwest Denver.
For a 7th grade music class we were each required to perform a musical presentation. I couldn’t sing or play an instrument and so I created a silly little hand puppet and box stage – and had the puppet pantomime Frankie Avalon’s “Venus”. I was a huge it!
Next it was on to another brand new Junior High – closer to my home – Rishel located near Tejon and Alameda. It was at Rishel that my big project was to compile a list of every rock and roll song ever! This was 1959 and so the task seemed doable. I passed a notebook around the school for contributions. I recall that hot chick, gum chewing Kathy Mercer contributed more than anyone else simply because she was just so cool!
Then in high school while attending Denver West on 11th and Elati streets in downtown Denver, I was cruising down Sheridan Blvd., one weekend evening heading toward Arlan’s Department store to peruse the record department and the latest 45’s when the KIMN DJ came on and said something like “This next song is creating a big stir in England. The group is causing hysteria among their female fans wherever they appear.” He spun “I Want to Hold Your Hand” about three times and that was that.
The Band Box record studio was located just a bit further north right off Sheridan (41st Avenue). I drove by a thousand times but never stopped in. Hundreds of musicians would record either there or in remote studios on the Band Box family of labels.
So it was rock and roll – The Beatles – Colorado music and the great State of Colorado for me! And thus, “PopBopRocktilUDrop”!
Band Box – the Local Colorado band scene from the 1960’s – Local labels – Great Pop Writers – The British Invasion (oh yes, Motown) and More!
My Baby Boomer Class of 1964 at Newlon Elementary School
I began school in Denver in 2nd Grade coming in midway into the year for 2nd Grade. My first full year of school was 3rd grade, 1954/1955 with first year teacher Miss Homfeld (Norma Barney). Shown below are the children of Miss Homfeld’s very first class. She provided these photos recently to classmate Patty Gettman who passed them on for the purpose of documenting our class – many of whom continued on to – first Kunsmiller Junior High, then onto a newly built Rishel Junior High when we were all 8th Graders. (Rishel was closed in 2008). Next many of us continued on to West High School, while our Rishel 9th Grade Class was divided between West, Lincoln and South High Schools.
Lee & Norma Barney (Miss Homfeld) – 40th Anniversary – August 4th, 2008
4th Grade Class 1956/1957 (Future Class of 1964)
5th Grade Class 1957/1958 (Future Class of 1964)
Rishel Junior High
I attended Rishel in 1960 and 1961 – the first two years of it’s opening. Rishel took in students from Kepner and another new school, Kunsmiller and probably a few other – like Barnum and Valverde.
Below is the 1961 9th Grade Class. We went on to either West, South or Lincoln.
West High School
Reunion ’63’, ’64, ’65 etc. – June 2nd, 2017
Reunion ’64 – 2014
(Attendees who went to Newlon Elementary School)