Press staff report
A longtime band director and school administrator is this year’s inductee into the Charles City Fine Arts Hall of Fame.
Douglas A. Bengtson will be presented with the award Tuesday during the community Independence Day celebration in Central Park.
Inductions for the Hall of Fame and CCHS Masters of Fine Arts students will be made during the first break by the band Endless Summer.
The Fine Arts Hall of Fame was established to recognize instructors, graduates or citizens of Charles City whose lifetime passion for the fine arts contributed to music and drama excellence in Charles City and beyond.
Past inductees include Bob Bourne, Gene Martin, Tim Mitchell, Sally Robertson and Janiece Bergland.
Bengtson started his love for music at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, followed by playing in the Decorah Kilties, before joining the band program in Decorah. He said that even during high school he was impressed with Charles City High School’s marching band and the members’ orange spats, as they were always among the best bands at marching band contests.
He attended the University of Northern Iowa where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1971 and married fellow music major Connie Andersen.
Bengtson began his career in Charles City during the fall of 1970 when he student taught under the supervision of band director Bob Gower. He returned full time in 1974, teaching grades seven to nine and their three concert bands, three marching bands and three jazz bands.
He was the junior high band director from 1974 to 1985, intending to be a band director his entire career. However, cutting wood during the energy crisis in the late 1970s resulted in irreversible hearing damage. He decided to go into school administration so he could remain in the field of education.
During his 35-year career in Charles City, Bengtson was principal at Jefferson Elementary from 1985 to 1993, principal of Jefferson and Lincoln elementary schools from 1993 to 2005, interim superintendent and Lincoln principal in the summer of 2005, and Lincoln principal and K-12 school improvement facilitator from 2006 to 2010.
During those years he was nominated to represent Charles City as teacher of the year in 1983 and School Administrators of Iowa District 2 principal of the year in 1989 and in 2008. In 2009, he was selected as a finalist for state principal of the year award.
Other recognitions include American School Band Director’s Award for the state of Iowa, Charles City Chamber of Commerce President’s Award, Rotary’s Vocational Service Award, Governor’s Volunteer of the Year Award, First Citizen’s Good Neighbor Award, grand marshal of the Charles City Marching Band Festival, and the Charles City Excellence in Education Foundation Hall of Fame in 2015.
Bengtson was founder/director of the Charles City Volunteer Municipal Band, and founder/director/tubist with the Charles City Brass Quintet. He has played in or directed the Charles City Municipal Band since 1970.
He and his wife, Connie, daughters Tiffany Bilharz and Alyssa Gallup, son-in-law Tom Gallup and grandchildren Morgan, Madelyn and McCoy Bilharz, Marissa Bengtson and Carson Gallup all live in Charles City.
CCHS fine arts students recognized
Seven Charles City graduates will be recognized as CCHS Masters of Fine Arts on the Fourth of July.
The Master of Fine Arts is awarded to graduates who were stars in the performing arts during their high school career, earning at least six letters in at least two fine arts programs: choir, band, jazz, orchestra, speech and drama.
These are the graduates to be named CCHS Masters of Fine Arts for 2017:
- Isaac Wink, son of Jeff and Lori Wink, earned six letters in band and jazz. He will attend Wartburg to study Actuarial Science.
- Kaylee Michael, daughter of Liz and Terry Hamm, earned six letters in orchestra and choir. Her future plans include going to Wartburg in the fall and majoring in political science.
- Ryan Parker, son of Sherri and the late Cliff Parker, earned seven letters in choir, jazz, speech and drama. He will be attending NIACC to study psychology.
- McKenzie White, daughter of LeRoy and La White, earned seven letters in band, jazz, speech and drama. She will be attending Iowa State University this fall to major in horticulture.
- Nathaniel Reams, son of David and Alison Reams, earned eight letters in speech, drama, and choir. He will be attending UNI to study theatre.
- One winner has not graduated yet, but will be leaving CCHS to finish high school in Texas. Joseph Iseneker has already earned 10 letters in choir, band, jazz, speech, and drama. He is the son of Bruce and Amy Iseneker.
- The top letter winner this year is Karissa Jensen, daughter of Scott and Sarah Jensen, who earned 12 letters in choir, band, jazz, speech and drama. Karissa will be attending UNI to major in criminology and psychology.
Their awards will be presented in Central Park after the July 4th parade, during the first break taken by Endless Summer. The Fine Arts Hall of Fame presentation will also be given at that time to Douglas Bengtson.