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Eph Ehly, SHS Choral Director '61-'67


Q. What years were you at SHS?

A. The fall of 1961 was my first year.  I thoroughly enjoyed my stay for six wonderful years.

Q. What was your position at SHS?

A. I was charged with teaching choral music to 9th graders, then called Junior High, meeting in the old, but charming high school, and, of course, 10-12 grades also.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory from SHS?

A. Some, and only some, of my favorite memories are: the choir being invited to perform for the Nebraska State Music Convention in Kearney; being invited to perform for the National Convention of MENC in Kansas City; being invited to perform for the Rotary Club Convention at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Each musical we did is providing me with a bundle of “fond “ memories.  However, there are a sprinkling of disappointments as well, e.g., with the help of my Elk brothers I made arrangements to have Meredith Wilson, composer of The Music Man, come to Scottsbluff in residence during our performances.  It was fully funded by the ELKS Club, not costing the school a cent.  The principal, however, was opposed to it which resulted in he school board feeling compelled to support the administration.  I mention this so that these kinds of opportunities will never again be passed up.  It would have been a great benefit, not only to the community as a whole, but especially to the students who would go on to perform in the arts.  I reserve my fondest memories for the students themselves.  After working in this profession for over half a century with thousands of singers, instrumentalists and actors, I am fully aware of the unusually high number of talented students I had the benefit of making music with, while teaching high schoolers in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  This was rare.  What a magnificent start for a young teacher.

Q.  How did your time at SHS propel you forward personally and professionally?

A. There is no doubt in my mind that had I started my career anywhere else, I could not have achieved the goals that propelled me forward.

Q.  Why should a community invest in high school performing arts?

A.  So many of our students (soon to become adults) went on to perform at a much higher level. I hesitate to start naming names in case I neglect someone.  There are numerous students who shone brightly in major universities throughout the U.S. Perhaps, even more worthy, are the many persons who pursued other professions but continue to support and promote performing arts throughout their lives.  Today, I still get numerous letters from former Scottsbluff students who report the joy and fulfillment they get from what was begun oh-so-long-ago. I treasure the memories I have of living and making music in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. I ‘feel’ rooted and connected to that ‘Bluff’ and the Wildcat Hills around it. That is where the ‘true west’ begins which represents the ‘new’ and best America has to offer.

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