It takes a special person to impact thousands of people…. Particularly in a positive way. Roene DiFiore was such a person.
I grew up with plans to attend BYU or maybe even Ricks College in Idaho. I’m not sure I even realized other options existed other than University of Utah and Utah State. Honestly… I don’t know if I was even aware of Dixie College. Oh…. It had been around for a long time…. I just didn’t know about it…. Or care enough to learn. I had my eyes and heart set on BYU and that was that. I didn’t need to know about anything else.
Perhaps, in some ways, I missed out. Though I wouldn’t trade my experiences at BYU for anything, I’ve often wondered what the experience of being under the wing of Roene DiFiore would have been like for me as a young College student.
My husband attended Dixie College. As a student there, he started attending a class called Program Bureau. He can’t remember how he got involved, exactly, he just knows that some friends made him attend and his life has never been the same because of it.
Roene DiFiore was one of a kind. An amazing woman with talent and heart. She was asked by Dixie College to teach some students the school songs to give them the Spirit of Dixie. But, Roene went far beyond that. Not only did she teach students songs about Dixie, but she loved them enough that they very often came out of their shells. They learned confidence, but most importantly, they learned comradery and a genuine love for each other.
Now, I’m going to say something here that I hope won’t offend former Program Bureau members. I would not consider Program Bureau to have been one of the top notch entertainment groups around. In all honesty…. A lot of the songs they sung were kind of old fashioned and corny. But you’ve never seen them sung with so much heart and conviction, and by a group of College kids that were having a ball doing it! Everyone they performed for absolutely loved it. And though there were a lot of talented students that were a part of Program Bureau, I don’t think there was any audition required. At least not for the first few years, as far as I know. My husband doesn’t remember having to audition for anything. Roene opened her class and her arms to anyone who wanted to participate!
And what do Roene’s students say they gained by being a part of Program Bureau? When I asked my husband that, here’s the answer he gave me: “It gave a shy, bashful, backward kid some self confidence.” And I might add to that, some wonderful lifelong friends, who by the way, have made me feel like I was one of them. I might as well have attended Dixie for all they know. They have opened their arms to me in ways I can’t explain.
Now, I’ve blogged before about how grateful I am to have been a part of Sounds of Freedom at BYU. I’m forever grateful for that opportunity. It played a big part in making me who I am today. And I have some wonderful friendships from that. Some lifelong friendships. A couple of my closest friends are because of that experience. I love all of the friends I made there dearly and enjoy it when we have reunions to reminisce and just have a good time. But, I have to give a big shout out to Dixie’s Program Bureau….. even though those songs may have been old fashioned and corny….. Roene continued to teach the same songs to students year after year. Which meant, that every year at Homecoming or during ‘D’ Week, when it was time for Midnight PB (as they called it) …… it didn’t matter what year you were in Program Bureau….. you knew the songs and the actions and had a great evening singing them all again! That was the Dixie Spirit!
From day one, after John and I got married and we came down to Midnight PB during Homecoming week…. Roene treated me as though I was one of her own, and I loved her for it. She truly was a grand lady. Because of her, my life has been richly blessed. Not only because of what she did for my husband, but because of the friendships he gained through those experiences that continue on today. And I love them almost as much as he does!
Roene wrote a special song for Dixie that really became their anthem. It’s called Just For Now. It’s a wonderful song that talks about the friendship and memories we make during college and how at years end, it’s a goodbye, but Just for Now.
We get sentimental whenever we hear, The school songs of Dixie, or meet with the old gang
We start reminiscing of days that are past, And wonder why such happy times cannot last
But the hour is growing late, it’s time for us to part, Strange how swiftly the moments take flight
Friends and sweethearts must soon say ‘Good night’, Just for Now, Just for Now
We’ve sung the last refrain , the echoes softly die, Like the school days when we had such fun
We’ll remember them though they are done, Just for now, Just for now
See the clock in the church tower, its lights have grown dim. The moon or the campus is faded and thin
And so the years will pass, our friends will come and go, And that’s why we hate saying adieu
To the ones who are so tried and true, But we must, though it’s just for now.
Here’s a small tribute my husband put together to honor Roene. Thanks to all who contributed photos.
I could go on and on about Roene DiFiore. There’s a lot to say about a woman who’s had that kind of impact on society. She’s truly a Legend. I’m so grateful for her and for what she did. I’m grateful that she left her music to one of her students so that Midnight PB can still carry on! Though it’s not as well attended as it was when Roene was still alive…… the Dixie spirit it still alive and well in those who do attend!!
Thanks, Roene DiFiore, for leaving behind a legacy that can and is being passed on down to our children! Thank you for the friends you brought together who still love and honor you today! I think we all look forward to seeing you again in Heaven someday and singing the songs of Dixie!
Are you from Dixie? …………..
I am Grateful! How are you?
Here’s an article written for Dixie when Roene was put into the Hall of Fame: Roene Bigler DiFiore (1921-1990), affectionately known as “Mrs. D.”, was born, grew up and attended schools in Nephi, Utah. Upon graduation from Juab High School she came to Dixie College where her ancestral roots ran very deep in the red Dixie soil. She loved the “Dixie Spirit” she found here. After her graduation she received a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music, but due the beginning of WWII and her marriage she had to set it aside. Dixie needed a sentimental song, so she responded with our now traditional song,’ Just For Now.” President Ferron Losee invited her to teach at Dixie, specifically to teach the school songs and patriotism. She came and established the Dixie College Program Bureau, the good-will ambassadors of Dixie. She expanded the love of country, church, school, home and the love of fellowmen in every song. For the next twenty years, thousands of young men and women performed for tens of thousands of conventioneers, clubs, groups and reunions. All were impressed with the caliber of “Roene’s Kids.” Then the payoff started! Her students began teaching music programs just like Roene and taught them. They wanted her music, not realizing that she played most of it by ear. She wanted, as the song goes, “to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Today members of the original Program Bureau send their children and grandchildren to Dixie, hoping to catch a glimpse of that great Dixie Spirit they had experienced with Roene.
Here’s another blog post I found on Roene. I don’t know this person at all. From the looks of her family picture, she was at Dixie long after my husband was. But this is proof of how many people’s lives she affected over the years: http://hollandlife.blogspot.com/2009/01/sing-that-song-for-me.html
Here’s a site dedicated to leaving a Memory of her. It was created by Ernie Doose, one of her many students, who was very close to her and considered her a great mentor. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6155117