Sunday, March 26, 2023


| January 29, 2023 1:05 AM

The sweet sounds of Coeur d’Alene summer didn’t die four months ago with Chris Guggemos.

They will continue with a fourth-generation Native son who has drummed his way around the world.

Michael Koep, 53, of the popular local band The Rub, is lining up sponsors to underwrite the free summer concerts in Coeur d’Alene and Hayden that Chris introduced three decades ago.

“At the end of the day,” Koep told Huckleberries, “He was lighting the torch every summer, and we want to keep that lit.”

Koep has the gravitas — and love of community — for his filling-big-shoes summer gig.

He has traveled the world as the drummer for bands Kite and Manito. And performed 80 to 100 shows annually for 15 years in the Inland Northwest as part of The Rub with Cristopher Lucas and Cary Beare.

He has fenced an Italian master and co-founded the North Idaho Fencing Consortium.

He has written the Newirth Mythology, an award-winning fantasy trilogy that’s being adapted for a television series. And helped launch the Riverstone Summer Concert Series as a board member of the Coeur d’Alene Culture and Arts Alliance.

He has climbed the pyramids of Giza and blasted a drum solo over massive speakers across the DMZ at North Korea. And was a counselor for the University of Idaho. And waited tables at Beverly’s and Woody McEvers’ old downtown Rustler’s Roost.

“I bet Woody would still let me wait tables if I asked him,” Koep quipped.

All this, and he remains firmly rooted in his hometown, a swashbuckling musician/writer/poet who lives with partner Sheree and 14-year-old son Michael in the Garden District, where he can hear downtown music “however faint on the breeze during the summertime.”

Said Koep: “Those shows are what makes Coeur d’Alene special — Live After 5, Art on the Green, and the (Handshake Production) concerts. Music on the street is the heartbeat of downtown Coeur d’Alene.”

Koep shares Chris’ vision to give local musicians a chance to perform before a cross section of the town. And he plans to offer a similar mix of music — jazz, blues, rock, country, with a sampling of bluegrass added in.

The experience is there. The love of community is there. The respect for the legacy left by Chris Guggemos is there. Now all that’s needed is the greenbacks.

Michael will be signing bands and fundraising in the months ahead. He needs businesses and sponsors to dig a little deeper because the cost of producing shows has gone up. Along with the platinum, silver and gold tiers of sponsorship from years past, he’ll add the “Guggemos” tier for top givers.

Above all, he will honor Chris’ memory with a concert at City Park this summer, as the bands play on.

We love 'Little Red'

Fort Sherman Chapel in the Fort Grounds has become such a part of our history that no one would think of relocating it now. But 75 years ago, we came this close to losing it — to Spokane of all places.

Fort George Wright in the West Hills of Spokane was “anxious” to buy and move the beloved “Little Red Chapel," according to a story in The Press on Jan. 28, 1948. But its owner, Coeur d’Alene’s Athletic Round Table (ART), was just as anxious to move it to a suitable location — in Lake City.

Max Rowlins, ART's president at the time, said Coeur d’Alene residents would be disappointed to have the historic landmark lost to the city. What an understatement.

The chapel was the community’s first church, library and school. At one time, it carried the title of “cradle of Coeur d’Alene’s education,” according to the old Press story.

In early 1943, ART, under the leadership of President S.C. Sanderson, bought the building from Fort Ground Lutheran Church. And held it in trust until 1984 when the civic organization, before dissolving, gave the historic structure to the Museum of North Idaho.

And that’s how ART saved our beloved “Little Red Chapel" from the Fort Wright ambush.

Joy in Lake City

The release and reunion of Fred McMurray, an Air Force captain from Coeur d’Alene who was shot down by the North Vietnamese in Sept. 12, 1972, has been discussed here before. But on this day, 50 years ago, an exclamation point was added to the heart-warming story.

On Jan. 29, 1973, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported the elation felt by McMurray’s wife, Judy, her three children, and the community upon learning that her husband was safe and about to be released from a prisoner of war camp.

“I’m so happy, but it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Judy told The Press.

Two days before, an officer from Fairchild Air Force Base had driven to Coeur d’Alene to deliver the joyous news that came after the start of a cease-fire in the Vietnam War.

“Now, I want to share my happiness with everybody in town,” Judy said. “I am overjoyed, but I still feel sorrow for my friends whose husbands also are missing and who don’t know where they are.”

Fred and Judy now live in Hayden.


Poet’s Corner: So gray it is outside the car/it’s hard to say just where you are,/could be Post Falls or could be Prague —/but at least you’ll never shovel fog — The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“In Winter Fog”).

Yesterdays: Ten years ago (Jan. 27, 2013), CdA school trustee Brent Regan repeated a racial joke at a public forum, comparing President Obama to an assault rifle. Caught heck. Ap-hollow-gized. And was defended by Mary Souza “as a very smart conservative” who was being targeted by the teachers union and The Press. Now, Brent and Mary are on the outs. Times they have a-changed.

• Dave Scates, Cd'A police chief from 1988 to 2001, confirms he’s the 12-year-old, with sister, Peggy, and the first buttercup of 1963 in that Press photo (Huckleberries, Jan. 22). And there’s more. His 4-year-old sister was the one who found the flower. However, Dave, happily retired, pleaded the Fifth when asked if he shared the $1 reward from The Press for that first buttercup.

• Original owner Bill Jones refused to refer to his Sunset Bowling Center as an “alley.” He felt that sobriquet to be equivalent to such “low-rent nomenclature” as “pool halls” and “truck stops.” He made that point 40 years ago while unveiling plans for his proposed $1.7 million center. And Rhonda Ellis of Post Falls recalls being yelled at by a manager, at age 9, for calling it an “alley.”

Parting Shot

In January 1993, over three days, John Brumley, then principal at Coeur d’Alene High, scored a trifecta. At age 40, he was named Idaho’s best secondary principal. And hired to start a yet-unnamed new school in town (Lake City High, which opened in 1994). And won a $70 pair of sunglasses as a door prize. Thirty years ago today, John told The Press how hard it would be to leave CHS, where he’d been principal since 1989. “If I cut my arm, I would bleed blue,” John told The Press. Now fast forward to March 2010 when a Press story told of John’s upcoming retirement at age 57. The headline? “You can call him Mr. T-Wolf.” Seems John had undergone a blood transfusion during his 16 years at LCHS and was bleeding silver and teal.

• • •

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at


Courtesy photo

From left, the members of The Rub: Cristopher Lucas, Michael Koep and Cary Beare.


Courtesy photo

In 1961, members of the old Hydromaniacs refresh the interior of the Fort Sherman Chapel.


Courtesy photo

In January 1973, Judy McMurray is shown with three children: Lisa, 6, Christine, 3, and John, 2.


Courtesy photo

Lake City High principal John Brumley in 2010 as he approaches retirement.

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