EPHRAIM—The Snow College Horne School of Music will induct the late William King Driggs Sr., a composer and patriarch of the King Family singers, into its Hall of Fame at its 24th Annual Founders Day Concert on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Jorgensen Concert Hall.
The A Capella Choir and Wind Symphony will perform inspirational music, including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, featuring faculty member Dr. Trent Hanna on piano.
According to Music Department chairman Vance Larsen, Driggs had a lasting impact at Snow College after he took over leadership of the department from Leander Thompson in 1919 and served at the institution until 1923.
During his tenure at Snow, Driggs built a choral program that culminated in an 85-voice choir during his final year as a faculty member. In addition to his choral duties, he enjoyed working with his assistant, Ralph Booth, in providing dance orchestras for college students and residents of Ephraim, Larsen said.
In 1923, when LDS Church Superintendent of Education Adam S. Bennion cut the appropriation for Snow College, Driggs formed a family orchestra with his wife, Pearl, and eight children, and moved his family to California. They were known as “The Driggs Family of Entertainers” and became well known for their performances in theatres, clubs, schools and churches in the West.
While still in junior high school, the three oldest daughters, Maxine, Luise, and Alyce, adopted their fathers middle name and formed their own vocal group—The King Sisters. Over the years, membership in the group changed. At its peak, the group became nationally known, performed on major radio stations and appeared in films.
Driggs was born on Oct. 30, 1885 in Pleasant Grove and he died on April 6, 1965.
Founders Day celebrates the founding of Snow College by Danish Mormon settlers in 1888. The school was first called Sanpete Stake Academy, and its first class of 150 students met on the top floor of the local Co-op Store, a building that still stands today, located on Main Street and what is now College Avenue.
The school was built entirely with donations and struggled financially in the beginning. In 1900, school officials asked the LDS Church for financial assistance and Church President Lorenzo Snow appropriated $2,000. In gratitude, the Sanpete patrons named their school Snow Academy after Lorenzo Snow and, at his request, after his cousin, another early Mormon pioneer, Erastus Snow. The name of the school was changed to Snow Junior College in 1922 and finally to its present name of Snow College in 1923.
Founders Day concert tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for youth/seniors; and $3 for Snow students.