Memories of John by Dale Foss
Dale Foss was a lifelong friend of John. Here are some of his recollections...
John grew up in the very small town of Leland, IA, population about 200 people. John was the youngest child of Richard and Mabel Hugelen with 2 older sisters, LaVonne and Sandy and an older brother, Eldon. John and the other boys in town spent a lot of time in the woods and slough on the north side of town.
There was a large tree for climbing and sitting in which the boys named “the Big Tree”. There were other areas in the slough called Tomahawk Hill and Rabbit Village. When the slough was full of water, they boys would take “duck” boats and paddle around the slough catching frogs and turtles.
Who Was John Hugelen?
John Hugelen was a musician from Forest City, Iowa who played Cajun accordion and fiddle. Whether on stage playing and singing with the Cajun Hot Soles or sitting in at a jam, his presence meant that something special was about to happen. He and his wife Sandy were regulars at Cajun Weekend at Folklore Village in Wisconsin and Cajun & Creole Week at Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. There they forged friendships with folks from all over the country. John Hugelen passed away on December 31, 2009 from cancer.
What is the John Hugelen Cajun Music Scholarship?
Shortly after John's passing, a group of friends were looking for a way to commemorate him and his love for Cajun music. It was decided that a scholarship to the music camps that John and his wife Sandy attended regularly would give aspiring Cajun musicians a unique immersion in Cajun music and culture. John loved to share his songs and music with others. We believe that through these scholarships that sharing continues.
How are these scholarships funded?
The generous donations of the family and friends of John Hugelen fund these scholarships. In addition, each fall a benefit dance is held in Minneapolis. The John Hugelen Cajun Music Scholarship Fund Committee is part of the Krewe de Walleye, a non-profit organization formed to promote Cajun, Creole and zydeco music and dance in the Upper Midwest.