Hi Hopes – A Decade Of Hi Hopes

  • Hi Hopes – A Decade Of Hi Hopes

This is not a joke. This is not me being exploitative. It is a locally-made private press recording that happens to have been recorded by disabled students. Don’t read any further into it.

From the album’s liner notes:

February 2, 1972 is the official birthday of the HI HOPES at Hope School, Anaheim Union High School District, California.

They were the first performing band of persons with mental retardation. That year we played for International Special Olympics, one of a number of times. We were on a telethon for the first time, and played our first special education school party, for Jordan in Garden Grove. A mobile sound studio recorded our first album live at a school assembly, and we titled it “Ability.” It had a number of “message” songs and an energetic excitement. We played our first “Holiday In Music” at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The HI HOPES album was produced by Educational Activities, Inc. of New York in 1973 and we had our first experience in a professional studio. The record is still being sold by Educational Activities. This was the year of our first Las Vegas appearance. It was also a time of great tragedy as our beloved member, Charmaine Lewis, died while we were separated on our vacations.

Our second Las Vegas trip came in 1974 and we went to the first California State Very Special Arts Show, founded by Mary Short. Our first trip to Berkeley came in December with a trip to Washington State in the spring.

In 1975 we played for special students at the Rainbow Ballroom in Fresno, taking along quite a few of our fellow students. We stayed in homes of special students on most of our trips and made lasting friendships. We produced our “Play-A-Long, Sing-A-Long with the Hi Hopes” album, using one and two chord songs. It is used in learning to play instruments. We also recorded “Impossible Dream” and “I Believe In Music,” a 45 rpm record.

In 1976 we celebrated the Bicentennial, taking part in several parades and building three floats. The last was the parade down Wilshire Boulevard on July 4. The HI HOPES won the Bicentennial Judges’ award (one of several Disneyland Community Service Awards we have received). James Roosevelt presented it to Paul Kuehn. The Johnson Brothers, professional musicicians [sic], worked with us and backed our “Journey” album. Our favorite telethons over the years have been the Variety Club, Cerebral Palsy in Fresno and Special Olympics in El Centro.

In 1976 we originated the “Hair-A-Thon” and raised money for our first east coast trip in 1977 — 14 appearances in 14 days from Washington, D.C. to New York to Boston.

In the spring of 1978 several other talented young people with mental retardation were formed into a singing group, Joy, with Ruth Ann Karstensen as their Director. Used as a training group, a number of young singers participated over the years in its activities. The HI HOPES cut the “Joy” album (2 chord songs) for learning instruments and to give some of our other students studio experience.

It became evident that we must have a non-profit organization to sponsor Joy and the HI HOPES, and so we completed formation of the HI HOPES – Identity Discovery Foundation the following February.

July 26, 1976 was the official opening of the HOPE COLLEGE, the first private fine arts college for mentally retarded and others who could not perfect their talents on regular campuses.

By this time we had added the Discovery Twirlers, our country western square dancers and performers, with Eleanor H. Prime as Director.

Under HOPE COLLEGE arts training (including dance, drama, oil painting and music) as well as “whole person” development (including reading, writing, math and braille) were available. Teacher training, including numerous workshops, has been conducted and records, books, and materials published. “Weekends On Wheels” made possible travel and daily living skills training for handicapped. We continued to support arts for the handicapped across the country.

The International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981, was a busy one for all of our performing groups. HI HOPES played in Disney World, Florida for representatives from the Organization of American States Countries at the Very Special Arts Festival there. We were twice in Washington State with Joy joining the last trip. We wrote, recorded and performed their song for The People First International Convention in Portland, Oregon. This brought together representatives of the clubs for mentally retarded. All of our groups participated in the International Very Special Arts Festival at Disneyland and Anaheim.

The HI HOPES, the first performing band of persons with mental retardation, have given many hours of volunteer time to pioneer and educate, as well as entertain, under the guidance of their Director, Doris E. Walker. Their success has paved the way for many others. We celebrate “A Decade Of Hi Hopes.”


Hi Hopes
A Decade Of Hi Hopes
(Hi Hopes Identity Discovery Foundation, 1982)
MediaFire DL Link 

01. Day-O
02. Freedom Is The Song Of My Country
03. You Were There
04. Impossible Dream
05. I Believe In Music
06. Need To Be
07. God Bless America
08. Proud Mary [MP3]
09. Love Makes The World Go ‘Round
10. Whole World In His Hands
11. People First Song
12. Wipeout
13. America, My Homeland
14. Star Spangled Banner
15. Hi, Neighbor
16. May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You

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