Micheltorena Street Elementary School was founded in 1905, and has seen more than its share of Los Angeles history in its time.
Read below a little about our history, and about the Micheltorena school song. From the 2009 Eastsider LA blog entry:
The school opened in December 1905 in a one-room bungalow staffed by one teacher who doubled as the principal, said Micheltorena school supporter Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, who has gone through four boxes of school documents to research Micheltorena’s history, In a little more than a decade, more classes had been added and land was being purchased to expand the school. Much of the campus, however, was torn down in the wake of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, forcing classes to be held in tents for four years. “The Micheltorena moms clubs worked their butts off raising money and trying to get school construction bonds passed,” said Dowler-Guerrero.
In a welcome surprise, a former student who apparently attended Micheltorena during the 1930s sent a copy of the four-line, Micheltorena song to the school, Dowler-Guerro said. When it came time to celebrate the school’s centennial, Micheltorena music teacher Brian Bockelman wrote a new verse to complement the original song that was sung by the Micheltorena Chorus.
Here is song with the original and new versus:
Oh Micheltorena charming is thy name.
How we love to sing it spread abroad its fame.
Linked with California thus thy name appears.
Oh Micheltorena music to our ears.”
Oh Micheltorena, for one hundred years,
How we love to sing it, sending out the cheers.
We are California, now as before,
Oh Micheltorena, one hundred years more.
Who was Sr. Micheltorena? Read about Micheltorena, the man, here.
SYMPHONY IN THE SCHOOLROOM!
Art and music have always been an important part of the Micheltorena learning experience. In 1940, Micheltorena had the largest elementary school orchestra in Los Angeles! Our music program and orchestra are still going strong, with the addition of choral and dance instruction provided by local community organizations Silverlake Conservatory and Bluepalm. Our school orchestra has played all over Los Angeles, including the Hollywood Bowl and Greek Theatre!
This photo was sent to Friends of Micheltorena by JoAnn Magrum, who played violin in 5th grade in the photo and graduated from Micheltorena in 1941.
The text reads: “Forty children at the Micheltorena grammar school between the ages of 7 and 12 years are proving that music has charms for youth. These schoolroom musicians play violins, clarinets, trumpets, xylophone and bells, pianos and horns, and they comprise the largest elementary school orchestra in Los Angeles. Shown above is a portion of the orchestra rehearsing under the direction of Ms. Mabel C. Snyder. When the picture was made they were practicing for a concert appearance before the school’s alumni association, which last week celebrated its 25th anniversary with a reunion. Everybody, from Principal Mary C. Flynn to the youngest student, agreed that the music was grand.”