In the years immediately following WW II a male singing group sprang up in Ames under the sponsorship of the Ames American Legion post. The group quickly became well-known and popular throughout central Iowa. The group as shown in the photo was formed in 1946 and lasted at least three years based on a later picture that is in the post’s possession.
The members of the group for the 1946-47 season were (top row, L-R) E. G. Fardal, V. S. Hagen, Glen Accola, B. R. Rozeboom, Al Knutson, C. E. Reynolds, Silas Larson, George Howe, Trafford Saul, Donald Weiser, D. S. Green, Harry James, M. G. Spangler, Darcy Wymore; (middle row, L-R) Ed T. Burk, Paul Barnard, R. W. Lohmann, Fred Dorheim, N. J. Brintnall, George Polhemus, W. K. Weiser, Max Auringer, V. M. Roach, H. W. Schneider, Paul Taylor, C. H. Covault, R. J. De La Hunt; (front row, L-R) Harold Olson, Dale Polhemus, Don Hise, W. E. Jones, C. B. Kerr, George O. Nolte, Howard Orth (director), Seaman Knapp, Don Hemstreet, Don Trimble, Noel Taylor, Bob Mulhall.
It is not known if all the members of the chorus were Legionnaires or whether membership was open to the public by audition. The names of a number of the members of the chorus are familiar in the history of the Post however.
The group quickly became known as was stated in a newspaper article from January 1947. That article read:
Invitations to Sing Pile Up for New Ames Group
The more than 40-voice male chorus, sponsored by the Ames Post 37, American Legion, is an infant of only five months life, but already a giant in stature throughout the state.
Since its organization last September under the direction of Howard Orth, director of the men’s chorus at Fort Dodge for many years before he moved to Ames, the local chorus has had more invitations to sing than it could accept.
Composed of unpaid volunteers who are interested in vocal music, the group rehearses for an hour and a half each Wednesday night. Each member is a member of the Associated Men’s Glee Clubs of American, an organization which has its greatest strength in the eastern states.
Officers of the chorus are: President, M. G. Spangler; vice president, R. J. De La Hunt; secretary, Fred H. Dorheim; and librarian, Don. D. Trimble. Edward T. Burk is the accompanist.
To date the chorus has made few appearances, but its future calendar is filling rapidly as the word spreads about the state that “Ames has a fine male chorus”. Other communities have also made inquiry as to the procedure used in organizing and the practices being followed.
Next appearance of the chorus will be Sunday at the mid-winter state conference of the Legion auxiliary at Des Moines. Two more Des Moines concerts will be Feb. 16 for the state Legion commander and adjutant’s meeting, and May 18 for the state sing for all choruses in Iowa. The Ames chorus also will appear for two numbers on the program to be presented here in the spring by the Fort Dodge chorus.
A later article of an unknown date although probably from December of January of 1948 read:
The testing period has been successfully concluded, and Ames now knows for certain that it has one of the finest vocal musical organizations within Iowa. It is even possible that those geographical boundary lines are too confining.
At any rate the hundreds of persons who attended the annual Christmas season concert of the Ames Legion Civic Chorus Sunday afternoon in the high school auditorium left with the realization that they had heard one of the city’s finest assets.
Winning athletic teams representing both the college and the high school will receive more publicity, but none of it will be more favorable than that deserved by the chorus, which, under the most capable direction of J. Howard Orth, has become an Ames institution in only a couple of years.
With the encouragement of the townspeople, this chorus can reach heights never before dreamed of by any Ames musical organization. Even the professionals within the city are loud in their praise of the group, so it is not merely the belief of an amateur that those who fail to hear the chorus are missing a great treat.