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Local Music History Index

John Sutte

Hamilton High School Humanities Teacher

and Taught "Music Lab"

May 20, 2015 - Mike Reilly: Is "Music Lab" still going on at Hamilton HS; still have John Sutte as teacher. How many of you were involved in this class, went on to play individually or in a band?
    • Mike Reilly Curt Wieden: Mr. Sutte was one of the best teachers I ever had. He let us learn music through the pursuit of our own interests rather than an arbitrary curriculum. Because of that, we were motivated and passionate about what we were doing and learned far more than we might have otherwise.
      Curt Wieden I believe Mr. Sutte passed away several years ago.
      • Bryn Fish He did pass yrs ago, brain aneurysm... I think.

    Dean Joecks Wrong button, sorry. We'll try this again. John Sutte was one of my Humanities teachers. His youth made it easy for us to identify with him. Took those of us he liked to refer to as "His Scholars" on trips to his Alma Mater Lawrence University in Appleton. He was a great friend to all of us and an even better Teacher! His all too early stroke (?) Was devastating to all who loved him.

    Bryn Fish I went on to play both individually and in bands for over 30 yrs because of this class and Mr. Sutte. I was a bit of a class clown and he had little patience for that/me, but he still taught me how to play guitar.
    I'm glad George Pjevach was in my class, he set the bar pretty high. He and his lovely wife still gig out playing a variety of venues.

    I'm in a band now called Underground Legend. Every time I get paid after a gig, I'm like really, your going to pay me too? lol
    Curt Wieden I majored in music in college for one semester before realizing it involved more than partying and playing the blues all day. 30 years later some friends recruited me to be the drummer of their band, Shotgun Stanley, not because I was a drummer (I wasn't) but by virtue of the fact I was the only person they knew with access to a drum kit (my son plays). The band is on hiatus but I still jam with my son.

    Rich Bagin I had Sutte for four years 79-82. Played in a band with Dave Turner called Temperance. Even recorded an album on vinyl including us and several other musician's and a band called Silver Graphic all with John's help in 1981. He was a great teacher and mentor. I still play guitar and owe much of that to him. What a great experience!

    Pamela Mindemann Hoard Prior to him we had Mr. Rinka. We entered a Latin accapella contest and won. Best in state. I still remember the words and the thrill. I played two musical instruments.
    Tom Cibulka John Sutte passed when he was 45 of a brain aneurysm, Flo Sykes also passed away, her and her husband died from carbon monoxide poisoning at their cabin. Both were the best teachers I had.
    Jim Hottenroth John Sutte was the best music teacher ever, I had him 4 years and went on to playing music in bands for over 15 years. last I heard music lab was discontinued that I feel was wrong.

Mark Kenney This just confirms what I have thought for years. This area has been filled with incredible talent throughout the years. Mr. Sutte was a very influencing man. So were John Michaels, Jon Benz and many other HHS teachers. I strongly urge the young people of this area to keep it going.

  • Jim Hottenroth John Sutte was the best music teacher ever, I had him 4 years and went on to playing music in bands for over 15 years. last I heard music lab was discontinued that I feel was wrong.
    Mike Reilly I created a web page to honor John Sutte for his place in local music history. Just can't publish anything yet to the website! Keep the info coming, and if anyone has pictures of Jon Sutte and his Music Lab classes, please post them.
    • Rich Bagin Cool! Please let us know when it's up.
    Curt Wieden Mike Reilly - The only pictures I have from that era are from the epic Music Lab band Bloody Bill & the Hemophiliacs show in the HHS theater, and they're blurry because Bill Lee didn't wear his damned glasses that day. But I'll post them here in this thread, starting with this one of Bill Johnson and Jeff Meissner.

  • Bill Johnson Its so great to see all of these wonderful memories of John Sutte. He saw the best in everyone. It was hard to make him angry, but I managed to do it a few times anyway. He never stayed mad long, never held a grudge. Always encouraged us. Always gave us room. Great guy.
    Curt Wieden But Bill, we intentionally tried to anger him precisely because he was so patient with us. I don't think he ever would have been angry at us otherwise. The man was a saint.
    Curt Wieden Can we let his family know about the page Mike Reilly is putting up?
    Bill Johnson I'm playing with a band called The Heathens. The idea was to play a show on or around my 50 the birthday (June 13.) We will play, just don't have a date yet. I still would like to play again with Curt Wieden, Dave Schmidt, and whoever else wants to join us. We were thinking about playing a few songs at our 30th class reunion, but we didn't have one. We planned on playing as The Suttes. I'd love to do that some day

George Pjevach I remember another time me and Landsgaard were sitting in the back of the room making animal noises

May 22, 2015 - Jim Hottenroth Hamilton HS use to have video recordings of people playing in music lab it was quite the collection through the years, I have always wondered if the videos were still around?

Dave Schmidt Bill Johnson and Curt Wieden I am in for a jam anytime. Sutte was the best. I played in a band for about 12 years and still play with a small group here and there. I remember Mr Sutte actually rented a reel to reel for me to record with. 4 track so I could play different instruments. He let us thrive!

1975 HHS Humanities Club

In 1975, Jon Sutte had members of his classes perform and record an LP [recorded by Sentry Custom Recording studio in Lannon, Wisconsin???]; here is some info gleaned from the internet and pictures provided by Jym Mooney.

    Sentry (Records?) ------

    #01) 1975 Humanities Club (LP: #?)
    --- Recorded June 1975 at Hamilton High School, Sussex, WI
    --- Produced by John Sutte, "only 100 copies pressed"...
    --- info from the liner notes of #05, and Jym Mooney
    #01. ? : "Song For Tusdy Jefferson" by Jym Mooney: vocals, guitar

    Cover art of 1975 Humanities LP (reverse was blank). Provided by Jym Mooney June 14, 2015

    June 11, 2015 via FB Jym Mooney This was a project by the Humanities classes. We had to sell all 100 copies at $5 each before we could go ahead with it (I sold 48 copies personally...I was determined that I was not going to miss out on a chance to make a record!). Recorded June 1975 one evening in the Humanities department, no overdubbing. It was not a concert recording, although it was recorded in the performance room of the department.

Above - Photo montage included with album provided by Jym Mooney

Above - Photo montage key provided by Jym Mooney June 11, 2015

Below - Album Track listings provided by Jim Mooney June 11, 2015


Jym Mooney There was another album made a few years later by the Humanities classes. My youngest sister Sarah and a friend of hers did a song on it. June 11 at 8:28pm via FB

Sarah Mooney Westbrook I've blocked that memory. Lol. Was it with Sally.... Darn. Can't remember her last name.
June 11 at 8:29pm

Jym Mooney OK, I dug it out of the vinyl archives. You and Sally Wallace sang Teach Your Children. This was in 1981.
June 11 at 8:35pm

Sarah Mooney Westbrook Huh. I don't have a copy of that.... Was it wonderful? If it was it was definitely because of Sally
June 11 at 8:44pm

Cover art of 1981 Humanities LP (reverse was blank). Provided by Jym Mooney June 14, 2015

June 13, 2015 via FB Message:
Jym Mooney - Found your website page. Some points:

John Sutte's first name is John, not Jon. He had a massive stroke in his early 40s and was left completely paralyzed. He lived the rest of his life in a nursing home in Oconomowoc, and died in December 2007.

Jym Mooney - Not every track on the Humanities Club LP was music. There were several people reading their original poetry plus a two-person skit (The Flood). The musicians on the album were me, Joe Olkowski, Bryan Kanieski, Jim Stevens, Ken Stone, Steve Dorst, Charline Bolin, Sally Koch, and Pat Hernandez.

Jym Mooney - Rich Bagin mentions the album his band Temperance appeared on with Silver Graphic. This is the 1981 album from the Humanities classes that I mentioned to you. It is called Soundstage '81.

Jym Mooney - Oh, you asked if I knew Mike Truttschel. I realize that the guy I was thinking of was Tom Truttschel. Not sure of their relationship, I did not know Tom as anything but a friend of a friend.

Mike Reilly - So Charline Bolin, Sally Koch, and Pat Hernandez. were the only female vocalists? Or did they pay instruments too? Oh...I see the three played piano so the other gals were the poetry readers.

June 14, 2015 - Jym Mooney: Close! Sally and Pat played piano instrumentals, Charline played guitar and sang.
















Track listings for 1981 LP (all music). Provided by Jym Mooney June 14, 2015

    Hi Mike, my name is Kim Hottenroth-Christoperson, I learned from my mom Betty L Hottenroth, and Brother Jim Hottenroth that you are looking for Historical information related to musical talent resulting from John Sutte's music lab at Hamilton High school. I was a 1979 graduate of Hamilton, I took Sutte's classes for three of the four years in H.S. Myself and Don Cornell were two chosen Seniors in 1979 to produce and perform our own musical show/concert completely of our own... making. Two separate shows. We were allowed to pick our own choices of songs, our stage lighting and back drops, the people who we wanted to perform with us. From start to finish we were in charge of our own production. My show occurred on May 24, 1979, Don's was on the 30th. I still have the original crude concert announcements from both of our shows. My show included the musical talent of Sally Wallace, Debbie Kanapka, Sarah Mooney, and Chris ?, (Don't remember her last name). I played guitar, piano and vocals, Sally, Debbie, & Chris played guitar and vocals, Sarah was vocals. I have several pictures of my show, and pictures of Other events kids were involved in, and two of John Sutte. One outing in particular I remember was taking a bus to Maple Ave. School and performing for students. Debbie Kanapka, Sally Wallace and I performed there and at many times in Sutte's music lab. The song I remember vividly performing at the grade school was Puff the Magic Dragon. We did some great harmonies together back then. We had an article and our picture in the Sussex Sun which I wish I would have kept. We performed a variety of folk songs, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Stones, and several other artists of the time.
    I am sure I can dig up some memorable items for you if you're interested. I do also have an old 45 in storage of I believe George Pievich from Hamilton. I believe the song is "Strange Like Me", but I'll have to get back to you on that once I find it.
    • Mike Reilly Hello Kim, yes, we're very interested in acquiring this musical history for the historical society. This is the first I've heard of other music productions besides the 1975 (which also included poetry and skit) and the 1981 which were both recorded on LP vinyl. Were your 1979 performances recorded on video or ? Any recorded music, programs, original creations, your production notes, etc are all welcome. We are now setting up an exhibit area, so we need memorabilia!

August 26, 2015 - Kim Christopherson via FB: "That was one of the songs Debbie Knapka & I sang and played guitar to in Sutte's class...I remember we took a trip to Maple Ave. School in Sussex, and played it for the elementary kids in one of our shows. That was in 79'."








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