Brad Nelson
Red Robe Choir President

Roots and Vines
Vol. 8 - January 28, 2004
by Bradley Nelson

I've been choral "roots" were planted when I was 15 years old. The "vines" are still growing! Who planted them? Where have they grown?

A few days ago, some answers became clear when I attended the awards luncheon at Point Loma Nazarene University for the California Music Educators Association, Southern Border Section (San Diego and Imperial counties). Seated in a circle around me were Bob and Angela Boucher, Ed and Becky Basilio, Sam Gronseth and his daughter Sarah, Dan Jackson, Merryl Nelson (my wife), and Paul Nelson (my son).

Around that table supped a unique legacy of my past, present, and future choral colleagues. These people represent nearly four decades of connection to Grossmont High School, my alma mater, as well as new friends and family connected to the choral profession.


Here's what prompted this edition of "Musings":

Dr. Richard Dunlop, Professor Emeritus of the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, wrote a fascinating study on the History of the Grossmont High School Christmas Pageant. Dr. Dunlop taught on the faculty of Grossmont High School and served as general director of the school's Christmas Pageant from 1957 - 1962. While reading his fascinating research, I was transported to the very roots of my love for choral music.

Our clockwise and chronological seating at the CMEA awards luncheon, beginning with me, was:

1964 - 1968
(Former Student, Grossmont High School)
Dr. Bradley Nelson - My choir director at Grossmont High was Donald Hubler (1962 - 1972). Click on his name to read my tribute to him. He will be staying at my home this summer when he returns to San Diego for a Reunion of the Red Robe Choir Alumni that sang under him during his tenure. This will occur on my birthday.....what a gift!

1972 - 1987
(Choral Director, Grossmont High school)
Robert "Bob" Boucher (seated with his wife Angela) was honored at our CMEA luncheon with the Hall of Fame Award for a retired musician in our region. Under his outstanding direction, the Red Robe Choir performed throughout California, Arizona, and even in Vienna, Austria!

1987 - Present
(Choral Directors, Grossmont High School and Valhalla High School)
Dr. Edwin Basilio and his wife Rebecca Basilio currently direct choral programs which are both in the Grossmont Union High School District. Ed has expanded the touring of the Red Robe Choir frequently throughout Europe, while Becky also tours overseas with her choir.

2002 - 2004
(President, California Music Educators Association)
Sam Gronseth (seated with his daughter Sarah) is a new friend who teaches elementary music in Paradise, California. I'll bet you thought all of California was paradise! Sam also directs a community choir as well as his church choir.

2002 - Present
(Choral Director, Point Loma Nazarene University)
Dan Jackson - A new colleague who recently moved from a huge high school program in Visalia, California to become a university choral director in San Diego. He is already emerging as a frequent adjudicator at festivals and conductor for honor choirs around California and the nation.

1992 - Present
(Choral Director, Granite Hills High School)
Merryl Nelson, my wife, (seated with our son Paul), was honored at the luncheon with the Choral Educator Award for 2004. Granite Hills is also part of the Grossmont Union High School District. Her friendship with Becky Basilio (Valhalla High School) will probably lead to a joint choir tour next year to Germany and Austria. Paul, our son, is a senior at Point Loma Nazarene University, completing his teaching credential for Elementary Education. I am very proud of both of them!




Diane Woods
Red Robe Choir Vice President





Nancy Kendrick
Red Robe Choir Vice President


Sara Parr
Red Robe Choir Secretary



So, in the wee hours of the past few mornings, I've been my roots become clearer to me, I begin to see where the vines have grown. They have meandered to encompass new friends and colleagues!


I realize, too, how these "roots and vines" have impacted me creatively, as a composer.....

Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming first entered my musical awareness when, in high school, our choir hummed this 15th century tune as a background for tableaux scenes in the annual Christmas Pageant.

The Feast Of Lights was inspired by the Christmas tradition at the University of Redlands where I sang as a college student. I realize now that my arrangement of O Come, All Ye Faithful emerged from the annual Feast of Lights at Redlands, but the roots go further back to my high school Christmas Pageant. We sang it as the choir recessed out of the gym, some with tears streaming, as we closed the pageant!

Gladde Things and When You Are Old are both dedicated to my high school choral director, Don Hubler, and his wife Maxine.

Kathy Shaw
Red Robe Choir Treasurer


Like the ivy-covered walls of the "Old Main" building at my high school, my roots are fixed, firmly planted, unchangeable.......and my vines continue to grow in new directions!


Feedback gladly anticipated at -
This article copyrighted ©2004 by Gladde Music Publications
All Rights Reserved

Don Hubler, 1968

Grossmont High School - La Mesa, California
~ For 1962-1972 Alumni  (Don Hubler's years) ~
(Yes, both Don and Maxine will be there!!)

Date:  Saturday, July 24, 2004
Dinner:  4:00-7:00 pm at Anthony's Restaurant,
9530 Murray Drive, La Mesa (Reservations necessary)
Singing and Socializing:  7:00-9:00(?) pm in the Choir Room at
Grossmont High School

For information and Dinner Reservations contact:
Barry Dingle, '68
Phone:  (760) 942-0489


History of the
Grossmont High School
Christmas Pageant

by Dr. Richard Dunlop
Professor Emeritus of the School of Education
University of Missouri-Kansas City
(formerly on the faculty of Grossmont High School)