The monthly Kenyon Veteran’s Support Group breakfast will return on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 7 to 11 a.m. in the VFW dining room. Attendees may choose from a menu that includes eggs to order, pancakes, toast, bacon, sausage, rolls, and coffee. Bloody Marys and Mimosas will be available at the bar. The proceeds from this event will be donated to the VFW kitchen improvement fund.

College Fine Arts

Flutist Celia Woock is a member of the University of Minnesota Symphonic Band. Jerry Luckhardt is the director of the Symphonic Band which consists of 70 to 80 wind and percussion players who are selected through audition only. The ensemble includes music majors and undergraduate and graduate students from other areas of study.

The band will be performing at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the university campus on Oct. 17, Nov. 22, March 3 and April 14.

Amber Olson has been selected to be a member of the Aurora Choir, one of six audition choral ensembles, of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. This choir is comprised of first-year sopranos and altos who participate in worship services, perform at the Family Weekend concert, are a part of Christmas at Luther, the Dorian Vocal Festival and present a spring concert with the first-year student tenor and bass choir, the Norskkor.

By audition, Sophia Kyllo is part of the Women’s Chorale of Northwestern University of St. Paul. The Women’s Chorale is the largest music ensemble on campus, performing high-quality and challenging music inspiring singers and audience members.

The Chorale performs on campus during the school year with a regional or state tour each spring.


Last Sat, on a beautiful fall afternoon the grounds of the Gunderson house were alive with people enjoying German food, beer and wine tasting and listening to the sounds of Ray Sands and the Polka Dots at the first Oktoberfest sponsored by the Kenyon Area Historical Society. Those who came spent time visiting and catching-up with friends. There were a number of people who by chance were driving by and stopped to join the celebration.

KAHS members considered the event a success and appreciated the many positive comments made by participants.

Hall of Fame

When sports fans are discussing the great athletes to come through Kenyon High School, names such as Stromme, Kispert, Hildebrandt and Strandemo come up. If the discussion was about the teams of the early 1940s one name to mention would be Ray Strandemo.

Ray was an inspiration to young basketball fans with his skill and shooting ability. He was an integral part of the 1941-42 Kenyon High School basketball team that fell one game shy of making it into the state tournament.

According to Don Flom, KHS Class of 1941, Ray was also part of the 1940-41 basketball team which was such a tight knit group that they took dancing lessons and home economics classes together.

As a senior Ray hit six home runs in six games for the Kenyon High School baseball team as they won consecutive conference championships.

During his high school years Ray Strandemo earned 13 letters in four sports.

Following his high school career Ray played many years of town baseball and basketball.

Later in life as a custodian at the Kenyon Elementary School young basketball players learned on Saturday mornings that Ray would be doing his weekend building check and pound on the loading dock door. Never one to turn down an aspiring athlete, Ray would let them in to practice their basketball skills in the elementary school gym while he supervised.

In 1975 the Kenyon High School wrestling team were HVL Champions. This feat would not be duplicated until 33 years later when the Kenyon-Wanamingo wrestlers of 2007-2008 would win the HVL with an 11-0 record.

This was a team who participated in the Clash in Rochester one of the toughest high school dual events in the country with 32 teams from 13 states wresting for two days to decide a team champion.

As Section 1A Champions they advanced into the state tournament for the first time in school history and placed fifth in the state. The team lost in the opening round to the eventual state champion, Jackson County Central.


With a population of 56 not many people have heard of Mizpah, Minnesota, and fewer can claim growing up in that area, so when the two meet it is like old home week.

On Sunday, while at Linda Thoreson’s retirement party, my wife, Mary, was talking to Yoshi Soltis. During their conversation Mary told Yoshi I grew up in International Falls. Yoshi responded with, “Oh, Koochiching County. My husband is from Mizpah.” When she found out I had relatives in Mizpah, Yoshi called her husband and told him to come to the party; there was someone she wanted him to meet.

Being the dutiful husband, Philip Soltis, obliged his wife and came to the event. When Philip and I met it was like going back more than 50 years ago talking and reminiscing about people we both knew, all of my relatives and other people of the hamlet of Mizpah.

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would meet anyone from Mizpah at Linda Thoreson’s retirement party.

Kevin Anderson is a guest columnist for The Kenyon Leader.

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