l Krueger Brown Sinn ’31
"Many students came from small towns within driving distance, so dates sometimes included
visits to family," wrote Marcia Brown Popp ’61, who is the daughter of Glenwood and
Chrystal. "The above photo shows Chrystal and Brownie during a visit to her parents'
home in Minier, in 1930."
It was the beginning of the Great Depression, and Chrystal Krueger ’31 almost didn’t
begin her junior year at Wesleyan because there wasn’t enough money for tuition. But
her younger brothers and sisters gave her the five dollar gold pieces their grandfather
had given them when they were born and Chrystal began her third year as a music and
art major at Wesleyan
More than a hundred miles away, Glenwood Brown ’33, a young trumpeter from Vernon,
Illinois, met a professor from Wesleyan, who urged him to go to Wesleyan. Glenwood,
nicknamed “Brownie”, was a well-known musician in southern Illinois, who played in
the Vandalia marching band throughout high school. His parents, who owned a grocery
in Vernon, paid his expenses at Wesleyan with produce from their store.
Chrystal Krueger Brown Sinn, now 93, has vivid memories of her first meeting with
Glenwood. “We were fixing up the SAI sorority house, varnishing tables and chairs.
I was wearing an old dress and was covered with varnish. A friend from the Phi Mu
Alpha fraternity came in to visit, and brought Brownie (Glenwood) to meet us. I was
embarrassed about my appearance and stayed seated behind a table the entire time.”
The varnish and old dress did not seem to matter to Browning, and he immediately asked
the Minier girl to attend the first Phi Mu dance with him. Some of the more memorable
moments they shared were meeting the famous musicians who came to the campus, including
the director of the Marine Band, John Phillip Sousa, singers John Charles Thomas and
Gallicurchi, and the acclaimed pianist, Paderewski.
Dates in the late twenties and early thirties included visits to the soda fountains
at Boylans, Walgreens and Nierstheimer’s Drug Store. Chrystal remembers seeing Al
Jolson in the first talking movie, which played at the Castle Theater in downtown
As music majors, the two attended many student music recitals together. Glenwood was
a trumpet and conducting major. Chrystal’s music majors were in piano and organ. Although
she was a pianist, Chrystal had to learn to play the coronet, as part of her training
in music education. She remembers that at her coronet recital, Glenwood and his Phi
Mu fraternity brothers sat in the front row and made faces at her, making it nearly
impossible for her to play.
The two were separated for a year when Chrystal went to Pennsylvania to teach art
and music and Glenwood stayed behind to finish school and serve as president of Phi
Mu Alpha his senior year. Letters and visits kept them in touch, and they were married
in 1933, when Brownie graduated from IWU. In 1939, he returned to Wesleyan to complete
a mater’s degree in music.
Glenwood continued his music career by teaching at Bement and Kewanee. Later, he led
the Bradley University Marching Band, was director of the Peoria Municipal Band, and
gave private lessons. Chrystal remembers that during the Depression, he gave lessons
in exchange for food and often loaned his own instruments to talented young people
who could not afford them.
Glenwood was to have been named Dean of the School of Music at Bradley University
in the fall of 1945, but was killed in an airplane crash at the end of WWII. The couple
had three daughters, two of whom survived. One would later attend Wesleyan in the
|Of the above picture, Marcia Brown Popp ’61,writes: "Couples on campus often kept
each other company while they completed course assignments. Chrystal, who also majored
in art, remembers the time she was painting a still life, which wouldn't stay still.
She had arranged various fruits, including a bunch of grapes, on a plate. As she painted,
Brownie nibbled on the grapes. Eventually she had to re-create the bunch of grapes
from memory, because he had eaten all but one."
Chrystal continued her own professional career after his death, teaching music and
art at Bradley University, giving private piano lessons and teaching art in the Olympia
school district, until her retirement. Chrystal Krueger Brown Sinn still lives in
Minier, Illinois, where she grew up.— Chrystal Krueger Brown Sinn ’31 (Submitted by
daughter Marcia Brown Popp ’61)