You old-school Temple folks are going to like this: A look at a locally written TCT show and a bit of its history, then memories of Temple's taskmaster band director Durward Howard. Enjoy!
SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2021
The Temple Civic Theater will dedicate a historical marker at the start of ‘The Other Side of Nothing,’ a play by veterinarian Gary Gosney and the late, great Marjorie Rynearson. The show runs July 30 and Aug. 1 at TCT.
‘The Other Side of Nothing’ to debut
By DAVID STONE Our Town Temple exclusive
“The Other Side of Nothing,” co-authored by two local residents deeply rooted in the Temple Civic Theater’s history, will be presented July 30 and Aug. 1.
The romantic comedy was penned by Temple veterinarian Gary Gosney and the late Marjorie Rynearson.
“Marjorie and I had written several plays individually, and a few years ago we decided to write something together,” Gosney said this week. “Our first effort was ‘Talk to the Dog,’ and it was well received. We decided to write a few more.”
The duo started “The Other Side of Nothing” in 2017, but the effort came to a halt after Rynearson became ill. She died in May 2020.
“I decided the play needed to be finished so I started working on it again,” Gosney said. “This will be the first time it has been performed.”
The rom-com takes place in today’s environment and it centers on two people who fall in love, Gosney said.
“Their relationship is complicated by the fact that they are married — unhappily married,” he said. “The story is about how they resolve the situation.”
“The Other Side of Nothing” is directed by Michael Fox.
Prior to the show’s July 30 opening, a new Texas State Historical Maker will be unveiled and dedicated. While dozens of local actors, organizers, directors and behind-the-scenes workers have contributed to the history and success of TCT, Rynearson and Gosney have played major roles.
TCT’s roots were planted in 1957 when Old Central Players, a local amateur theatrical group, joined the Cultural Activities Center. The group performed for several years but eventually became inactive.
To fill the theatrical void left after Old Central Players dissolved, the CAC board commissioned Rynearson to organize a new live theater group. Months later, the new group performed the one-act play “The Typists” and followed up eight-months later with “You Can’t Take it With You.”
Gosney’s participation in Temple Civic Theater began in 1971 in “Our Town.”
TCT opened its present location in 1977 with a packed house to see “My Fair Lady.”
Rynearson is remembered as TCT’s founder and a community theater pioneer.
“Marjorie was a staple and powerhouse in the TCT community,” said SueElizabeth Morrisey, TCT marketing director.
Phil Rynearson, the third of four sons born to Marjorie and Dr. Bob Rynearson, remembers his mother’s devotion to Temple theater.
“My mom loved the TCT and the people involved in it,” Phil said. “She was incredibly proud of starting the theater and working to make it a place for the community to come together.”
“She was an actor and a playwright, and Temple Civic Theater provided a place for her to express herself and share her creativity with those who filled the seats,” he said.
Kelly Fitzgerald, a Temple Civic Theater board member, said she is “super excited about the upcoming season and the reopening of the theater.”
TCT shut down midway through its 2019 season and didn’t have a 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fitzgerald said.
Season memberships packages starting at $65 are available for purchase at https://app.arts-people.com. Memberships purchased by July 30 will include a free ticket to “The Other Side of Nothing.”
The first production of the 2021-2022 season is “They’re Playing Our Song,” and this show has special meaning for those involved with TCT.
“This will be our 300th main stage production since we were established as Temple Civic Theater in 1965,” Morrisey said.
“They’re Playing Our Song” is a funny, romantic show about an established composer and his relationship with an aspiring young female lyricist. Professionally, their relationship works beautifully, but personally they hit a few bumps.
“Romance blossoms, conflict rears its head and comic sparks fly,” Morrisey said.
Auditions are Aug. 1-2, and performances will be Sept. 10-19.
“Leading Ladies” will be the season’s second production. Auditions will be Sept. 12-13 and the show will be performed Oct. 22-31.
In this comedy, two English Shakespearean actors — Jack and Leo — are down on their luck so they perform scenes from Shakespeare stories on the Moose Lodge circuit in Pennsylvania’s Amish country to make a few dollars.
Auditions for “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” will be Dec. 12-13, and the show will run Feb. 4-13, 2022.
“Last of the Red Hot Lovers” features a middle-aged and married, overweight and overworked Barney Cashman. He wants to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late and arranges three seductions: The first, Elaine Navazio proves to be a foul-mouthed bundle of neuroses; Bobbi Michele is next, and she’s a kooky 20-ish actress; and finally comes a gloomy, depressed housewife who happens to be married to Barney’s best friend.
Auditions will be held Feb. 20-21, 2022, for “Inherit the Wind,” and the show will be presented April 1-10.
“Inherit the Wind” is a fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, which resulted in John T. Scopes’ conviction for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to a high school science class, contrary to a Tennessee state law.
The next performance will be the popular “Steel Magnolias.” Auditions will be March 27-28, 2022, and the show will run May 6-15.
Set in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin, the play opens at Truvy’s beauty parlor, where a group of women regularly gather. The plot covers events over the next three years and focuses on how the women cope with conflicts and tragedies while remaining friends.
The final production of the 2021-2022 season will be “Guys and Doll,” and auditions will take place May 15-16, 2022. Performances will be July 22 through Aug. 7.
Hailed as the perfect musical comedy, this award-winning classic gambles with luck and love under the bright lights of Broadway.
“We’re looking forward to presenting our new season,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s going to be memorable.”
Earlier this month, the Temple Civic Theater presented “Five Til Places: A Musical Revue.” It was the first live production at the theater since before the pandemic.
COMING MONDAY: In the eyes of many young men, Temple native Walter Iooss had the perfect job — photographing sports superstars and the world’s top models for Sports Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issues.
In this photo from the 1972 Temple High School yearbook, Durward Howard presents a trophy to outstanding head Pepperette captains Mary Baron, Cecilia Hallford and Debbie Corsentino.
Durward Howard: Leader of the Band
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple exclusive
When Durward Belmont Howard arrived at Temple High in 1947 as the school’s new band director, his first order of business was requesting new uniforms. As a selling point to the school board, he promised to make the Wildcat band the best in Texas.
He delivered, and along the way he inspired students in the band hall and beyond to make the most of their lives.
“He inspired us all to be the best we could be and accepted nothing less,” said Sally Hartley, a captain on the Pepperette drill team in 1967. “He was tough, but he had our respect.”
Under 37 years of Howard’s leadership, Temple High music groups won many awards and honors. For decades the band was a fixture at Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game. The band performed with The Gatlin Brothers at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day 1979, and marched in parades across the country, including Mardis Gras in New Orleans and the Lions Club International Parade in Miami Beach.
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Durward — he didn’t respond if you called him Durwood — was born in 1924 near the Frio River town of Concan in southwest Texas. After graduating high school from Sabinal, he enrolled at the University of Texas in 1941 and studied music.
The Army gave Howard a break from college during World War II, and he served at Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s Allied Headquarters. Following the war, he returned to Texas and finished his college degree.
His next stop? Temple High School. Howard directed bands, drill teams, orchestras and other ensembles over the years and was named director of Fine Arts and Humanities of the Temple school district before his retirement in 1984.
Under his direction, Temple excelled in pageantry and performance and often won top honors at marching, ensemble, jazz and symphonic band competitions.
In addition to music, Howard and his wife, Jean, organized the school’s first humanities class, remembered former student Jody Donaldson.
“He and four other teachers created a unique team-taught curriculum that included keeping a daily journal of the class and assigning grades to fellow students,” Donaldson recalled. “The class of 1971 were the guinea pigs for this program.”
Donaldson was in the band, but he said Durward Howard’s influence helped shape his life in many ways.
“In 1968, Mr. Howard recruited me to serve on the stage crew for the auditorium,” he said. “He trained me on sound and lights, and I worked there for three years. He was insistent that even though we were high-schoolers, we do things in a professional manner. His training led me to volunteer at Temple Civic Theater for more than 50 years and later volunteer with the Temple High theatre arts program.”
Howard organized trips to Dallas every fall to see the State Fair musical.
“That opened my eyes and ears to Broadway,” Donaldson said. “We saw ‘Hello, Dolly!’ starring Pearl Bailey and an all-black cast. After the show, Ms. Bailey brought out a chair and talked to the audience. That was a big moment in my life.”
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Howard’s many students have (mostly) fond memories of his days at Temple High.
“He picked on me at times because he thought my dresses were too short, and once he called (my boyfriend) Tom and me into his office to ask us to not walk between classes holding hands,” Hartley said. “He was a drill sergeant and taskmaster, but he made us an excellent band and drill team. We were known all across the country.”
Jacqueline Gray said Howard helped her overcome a fear of performing in public.
“I became a twirler in junior high, and the first time I tried out to be a twirler for the band he was one of the judges,” she recalled Friday. “I was so scared that I started breathing really loud.”
“He told me, with a very loud voice in front of everyone, that I had better get over being scared because I would be twirling in front of hundreds of people”, she said. “I also played clarinet in band, so I got to know him better over the years.”
“He didn't call out the majorettes often but when he did, we were mortified,” Gray said. “We always sat in the back of the bus, as far from him as we could. But, he was a wonderful band director and teacher. He really made us work hard, and we always did a fantastic job at contests.”
Memories of Durward Howard could fill a book the size of “War and Peace,” but for many in the late 1970s, one memory stands tall.
“We were all getting ready for a morning band practice and were gathering in the high school parking lot,” remembered Phillip Troy, a trombone player who graduated in 1978.
“Mr. Howard got on his megaphone and said in a very calm voice: ‘Mark Shelton, your car is on fire,’” Troy said, his voice breaking into a laugh. “Mark always worked on his car and he had left a greasy rag under the hood. There were some pretty big flames.”
Another great story comes from Mary Pyle Murphy. She happened to be in Howard’s office in the fall of 1976 when he received a phone call from another Wildcat legend — football coach Bob McQueen.
“It was a couple of days before the football team would be traveling to a distant playoff game, and the bus would be leaving the parking lot very early in the morning,” Murphy said. “Coach McQueen wanted to know if the band would show up in the parking lot to send the team off with a mini pep rally. Mr. Howard told the coach that he would be happy to arrange this if the football team would show up at UIL competition in the spring to cheer on the band.”
“Face Mother,” was a phrase band and drill team members remember and may never forget.
“I was a Pepperette,” said Karen Connell, “and when we had marching practice in the parking lot, Mr. Howard wanted to make sure we all had the same focal point. Temple High School was ‘Mother,’ and at away games Mr. Howard was ‘Mother.’”
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Not all memories of Durward Howard involved the band or even music.
“Years after high school, I went to Ireland with my mother, my 13-year-old daughter and an entire busload of people from Temple,” Jacqueline Gray said. “Durward and Jean were our guides. He took my daughter under his wing and always kept her in sight. It was a wonderful two weeks, and I had a new respect for him.”
“He ended up taking us home in the middle of the night from that trip, and as we pulled up to the house, he told us he was suffering from cancer,” she said. “He hadn’t mentioned it at all on the trip and he had a good attitude about it.”
“We were able to see him one last time at a reunion of the people who went on the trip. I will never forget Durward Howard. I was so scared of him in high school, but he was an amazing human being.”
Mr. Howard died Sept. 2, 2001, at his residence near Lake Belton.
What’s happening in Temple?
July 18, Monday - Short Story Reading Group, Temple Public Library, 6 p.m. Email email@example.com for details.
July 20, Tuesday - Catapult Coolness: TEEN Summer Program (ages 12-18), Temple Public Library, 3 p.m.
July 20, Tuesday - STEAM Team (ages 6-12), Temple Public Library, 4:15 p.m.
July 20, Tuesday - Taroks Card Party & Free Lessons. Learn the 1400s European card game brought to Texas by Czech immigrants. Czech Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center, 7 p.m.
July 20, Tuesday - String Camp Faculty and Advanced Chamber Music Students Fundraiser Recital. Featuring the works of Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Corigliano, as well as a world premiere by camp composer in residence Isaac Villaroya. Free. 7 p.m.
July 21, Wednesday - Open Mic Comedy. Up and coming comics get 5 minutes to show their stuff. Corky’s, downtown Temple. 8 p.m.
July 22, Thursday - Taproom Trivia, Fire Base Brewing Co., 7 p.m.
July 23, Friday - Hot Summer Sounds, Lions Park, 7:30 p.m
July 24, Saturday - Name That Tune Bingo: Women Who Rock!, Fire Base Brewing Co., 7:30 p.m.
July 24, Saturday - Imagine TMED, Temple College Campus, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
July 24, Saturday - Earle Nelson & Morgan Lee Powers, O’Briens Irish Pub, 9 p.m.
Have an event you would like to promote? Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.
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