TISKILWA — At the Tiskilwa High School alumni banquet on Aug. 2, more than 190 former students and current friends surprised Doris Hamilton, honoring her for all the musical memories she helped to create at Tiskilwa High School.
The 2014 alumni banquet organizers felt it was high time this high-spirited and loyal alumnus (Class of 1950) of Tiskilwa High School receive special recognition.
Known to her students first as Miss Travis and later as Mrs. Hamilton, Doris won their hearts with her talent, humor, dedication and “can-do” attitude. Throughout her time at THS, more than 80 percent of the student body consistently participated in mixed chorus.
Sixty years ago, fresh from Western Illinois University with a music degree in hand, she began her teaching career as band and vocal director. For five decades, with a few years’ leave of absence when her children were born, she taught and inspired countless students in Tiskilwa Community Schools, retiring in 1994.
In 1972, she founded the show choir, “The Kids from Tiskilwa,” a popular group that traveled extensively, performing at a great many venues, including a special invitation to perform at Disney World and Sea World in Florida. She also re-established the school musical, directing “South Pacific” in the spring of 1974. This tradition continued for years and included many of the great musicals of Broadway Theater. In addition, she was the long-time sponsor/adviser for Student Council and cheerleaders.
Long admired throughout the community, Hamilton began directing the Homestead Festival musicals in Princeton in 1976, bicentennial year, with the popular “1776,” and she continued in that role until a few years ago, pouring her heart and soul into directing 35 musicals throughout the years.