Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Was Radar O'Reilly a Tenor?

I guess we'll never know for sure, as the Corporal extraordinaire is not in the Ottumwa, IA High School Concert Choir from 1970.  But what I do know is that this high school choir makes some very pretty Christmas music.

These high school choir records fascinate me.  I posted a few songs from one a few years back, the Bentley High School Choir, and really didn't know that making these records was a thing.  I guess it is.  Makes sense, if you think about it.  Since the advent of digital music production, it's been easy to record concerts and make CDs.  Before digital, it wasn't as easy to record a school concert and save it on audio media for posterity, but I'm sure the desire was always there to save a historical record.  For schools with the means, or the fundraising efforts, it was certainly possible.  This is evidenced by Bentley and now, Ottumwa.

This is a record of the 1970 Ottumwa High School Concert Choir's Christmas concert.  Their concert was a mix of traditional spiritual songs ("O Come All Ye Faithful"), classical ('Hallelujah Chorus'), and seasonal classics ("Jingle Bells", "Sleigh Ride").  The youngsters in the choir sound great, making this a nice little record in the Christmas music sub-genre of "high school choir".

I was able scan the front and back covers (very understated, by the way, making it really interesting), but couldn't scan the inner gatefold, so it is a digital photo.  My apologies for the lower quality of the inner.

Good stuff here, says Der Bingle.  If you know someone who may have been in the Ottumwa Choir in 1970, point them here to bring back some memories.  If you were in the choir, post a comment!

Please enjoy a Christmas concert from young vocalists hailing from Radar O'Reilly's hometown!

download link


  1. I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  2. I was a Junior at Ottumwa High School in 1970 and was in both the Junior-Senior Concert Choir (shown above) as well as in the OHS Madrigal Singers (an advanced group of about 40 vocalists). In the picture above, I'm in the top row, 5th from the left. The choral department at OHS held a competition among its choral students (and possibly instrumental students as well, though I'm not sure about that) to see who could sell the most Christmas Albums that year. First Prize was $100.00, Second Prize was $50.00, and Third Prize was $25.00. OHS's "CAROLS OF CHRISTMAS" album competed against and took top honors (Platinum Album Award) from top notch high school choirs in seven states within the Midwest that year (1970). As listed on the inside of the album jacket above, the Concert Choir sang the first six (6) carols (Side A of the album) while the Madrigal Singers recorded the last six (6) carols (Side B of the album).

    1. Thanks for the backstory about the album Steve. I'm glad you found the blog. Do you still have a copy of the album?