Stentorian Voice and Singing Medals

“Stentorian Voice.” Of all the notations in the Mauston High School yearbooks of David D. Hanneman, those two words truly stand out. In the “Report of Condition of the Students of Mauston High School” in 1950, David Hanneman’s asset is listed as “stentorian voice.” Not a common adjective, “stentorian” means “of powerful voice.” It can also mean “booming” and “loud.” No doubt the years 1947-51 were stentorian years for Hanneman, for he and his singing buddies at MHS earned accolades and medals for their singing. 

David D. Hanneman's medals from the Wisconsin Centennial Music Festival in 1948.
David D. Hanneman’s medals from the Wisconsin Centennial Music Festival in 1948.

Mauston High School at the time was known for its quality vocal and instrumental music programs. The boys’ double quartet or octette was among the highest profile examples of that quality. The barbershop group regularly competed at the state level in competition sponsored by the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA).

The group included Hanneman and Roger Quick at second bass, Bob Jagoe and Dick Shaw at first bass, Clayton “Ty” Fiene and Bob Beck at first tenor, and Alan Banks and Arthur Volling at second tenor. Self-dubbed the “State Men” for annual appearances in competition, the group had its own cartoon likeness drawn into the Mauston High School yearbook, The Hammer.

Members of the Mauston High School boys double quartet.
Members of the Mauston High School boys double quartet.

In the many WSMA competitions, David Hanneman also sang bass solos, duets and mixed quartets and double quartets. According to one of the judge’s score cards, a Mauston quartet was rated “excellent” for tone, “good” for intonation and “good” for technique. Another judge rated Hanneman “excellent” for his bass solo and noted “maturity of quality” as his greatest singing asset. Hanneman kept the dozens of medals he won at these competitions for many decades after high school.

The "State Men" had their own page in the Mauston High School yearbook in 1951.
The “State Men” had their own page in the Mauston High School yearbook in 1951.

Singing wasn’t Hanneman’s only musical interest, however. He played the trumpet for a time and was in the Mauston public school band. He appeared in numerous parades playing the bass drum for the band.

David got his love of song from his mother, Ruby V. Hanneman. As a youngster, Ruby often performed onstage at theaters in Wisconsin Rapids. The Hanneman home in Mauston had a beautiful pump organ and a Victrola record player with a large collection of music. Later in life he appeared in a number of community musicals and sang in the choir at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. His deep voice could carry the entire parish in song, with enough volume to almost lift the church off its foundations.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Ruby V. Hanneman sings with son David D. Hanneman.
Ruby V. Hanneman sings with son David D. Hanneman.

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