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Cottage Grove's Dwayne Tannahill headed for school's hall of fame

Cottage Grove resident Dwayne Tannahill is among Woodbury High School Hall of Fame inductees. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)

Cottage Grove resident Dwayne Tannahill taught music for more than three decades in South Washington County Schools, getting his start in St. Paul Park before spending the bulk of his career at Woodbury High School.

Tannahill led the Royals’ band program for 26 years and now will be permanently recognized for his dedication to the program and the school. He is among a handful of former staff, students and Woodbury High community supporters being inducted into the school’s second Hall of Fame class during homecoming this week.

“I’m very humbled and I’m very excited about it,” Tannahill said of the recognition. “I owe a lot of gratitude to Woodbury HIgh School.”

Tannahill started his career teaching junior high students. After graduating from college, he moved to Cottage Grove and in the fall of 1968 joined the staff of what was then Park Junior High. Stan Lomenick, who led the department, was his mentor, and Tannahill’s schedule included some time teaching at nearby Oltman Junior High. In his second year, he added more responsibilities at Oltman Junior High by teaching all three grade levels.

In 1970, he moved to Woodbury Junior High, where he taught for five years.

As south Washington County began to grow, a new high school was needed in Woodbury. Tannahill left to lead the band department at the new school when it opened in 1975. He stayed at Woodbury High until he retired in 2001.

“It was a successful program, and I was glad I was a part of it,” he said.

Band parents helped to raise money to offset the costs for the program’s many performance trips. Tannahill said the bands traveled extensively, including to Disney World four or five times.

Tannahll was a logical pick for the Hall of Fame, said Jason Gonnion, Woodbury High School activities director. Gonnion is involved in the Hall of Fame selection process.

“He was here for over 25 years,” Gonnion said. “He opened Woodbury High School as head of the band. He was a guy who arranged the school song — the Royal Rouser — so he’s got his fingerprints all over just about everything musically at Woodbury High School.”

Last year, Tannahill got a glimpse at the Hall of Fame program he will be a part of on Friday, Sept. 27. He served as grand marshal for the school’s homecoming parade in 2012.

The inductees will be honored during activities on Friday and then will be formally recognized before the Royals homecoming football game that night.

Tannahill no longer teaches music but he still plays clarinet and saxophone. He was part of a jazz quartet that performed this past summer at an outdoor concert series at All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove. He has recorded music and played in other Twin Cities-area ensembles.

Tannahill has fond memories of his teaching career, particularly at Woodbury High.

“I never thought that I would ever make it into the Hall of Fame,” he said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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