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STEVE FLORES: A Majestic Hall of Fame for East Bakersfield High

Majestics

From left to right, Adam Acevedo, Johnny Molina, Raymond Chavez, Phil Villanueva and Steve Candelaria were the original Thee Majestics.

Surviving several incarnations, Thee Majestics have been a musical staple here in the Central Valley for 48 years. Very few bands in Kern County can lay claim to a performing longevity of this length. All five original members attended East Bakersfield High and will be inducted into the East Bakersfield High School Hall of Fame May 22 at the Marriott Hotel.

Original band members include Johnny Molina on guitar; “Lil” Phil Villanueva, lead vocal; Raymond “The Professor” Chavez, drums; Steve Candelaria, bass guitar; and Adam Acevedo, guitar.

Full disclosure. I am the current bass player for Thee Majestics and have been for the past 20-plus years. I considered it an honor to join the local band, whose legacy extends beyond playing oldies, cumbias and country. Their long history of performances at many after-school dances, the Rainbow Gardens, Heritage Park, Starlight Skating Rink, and at almost every dance hall in Bakersfield is remarkable.

Along the way, the Vietnam War, disco and changing musical interests altered the path and personnel of the band. Founding Majestic member Johnny Molina had no idea the band would last this long.

“The fact that till this day we are all close friends, all from the same neighborhood and attended the same schools, helped us stay together,” Molina said. He adds, “The Hall of Fame is quite an honor.”

Thee Majestics, along with eight other EB alumni, will be inducted into the school’s “Hall of Fame” and include:

Mac Anderson – He would give you 100 percent in whatever he was involved, from academics to athletics. He had an outstanding athletic career with all schools he attended, served in the United State Air Force, graduated from the FBI National Academy and California Law Enforcement Command College, and retired from the Bakersfield Police Department.

Wanda Morgan Wallace – She was the first great women’s track and field performer in the history of East High. Not being able to run her freshman and sophomore years because a women’s track team didn’t yet exist, she quickly made up for lost time. Her legacy earned her many accolades and awards.

Dr. Augustine Munoz - He was a four-year letterman in cross country and part of two Valley Champions. Munoz is the director of pulmonary disease service and the director of the respiratory therapy department at Kern Medical.

Dan Ronquillo – He was the first and only East High Blade to simultaneously play fullback and hold the school record for the mile run. His lettering in track and cross country showcased his passion for running at every school he attended. He had multiple careers and served two terms as a Fresno County Council member before retiring.

Dr. John Rosenberg – Because his father was a faculty member for East High, Rosenberg literally grew up on the Blade campus. He was a 4-year letterman in basketball and tennis. After graduating from East High, his many accomplishments included multiple successes in academia. He is well-traveled and the author of several books.

Ron Shearer - He was a three-sport athlete for the Blades, lettering in football, wrestling and track. He was selected to wrestle on the National AAU team, where he won his weight class. He was one of a 20-man U.S team that toured Europe. He ultimately retired from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2012 at the age of 62 and passed in 2019.

Henry Shipes - He was a fierce competitor who developed into one of East High’s all-time elite hurdlers. Shipes was the SYL league champion in the low hurdles and high hurdles. He placed second in the Valley in the hurdles and qualified for the state meet his senior year. He went on to earn multiple awards, recognition and scholarships during his academic career. Being in charge of a Bakersfield community center is his proudest career accomplishment.

Tom Valos - He was an all-around athlete for the Blades, lettering in football, wrestling and baseball. During his 41 years in education, Valos worked as a teacher and moved up the ranks in administration, eventually serving as a principal and superintendent. Throughout his educational career, Valos continued to coach, both in football and wrestling.

Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at floressteve32@yahoo.com. His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.