President John rang the bell, and after belting out a Rotary rendition of “God Bless America,” Eric Lipson provided the day’s inspiration. He asked, “What inspires me?” and answered, “The people in this room inspire me, Rotary inspires me, both words and deeds can be inspirational, acts of courage and bravery and decency. And, yes words can inspire us. I have ADD so those words have to be short.”
Shelley McMillan then took the podium, and accompanied by Joanie Knoertzer, led us in a special version of The Band Played On:
Easy Street Jazz Band will treat us today…Let this band play on!
They’ll lift up our spirits and light up our day…Let this band play on!
Oh, their music is timeless, their talent is boundless…We’ll all be so thankful and charmed!
So stop all this singing, so the band can start swinging…Let this band play on!
John then called for the introduction of visitors and guests. Among them was John Barrie, a former Rotary Club of Ann Arbor member, and now a member of the Rotary Club Lake Atitlan, an e-club in Guatemala. John, who was sitting next to me at lunch reports that he’ll be here in Ann Arbor for most of this year and plans to be a frequent visitor.
Next, we heard from Mousoumi Bannerjee, Ashish Sarkar, and Tom Millard about the upcoming concert, Tagore on Soul and Strings. Tagore, a Nobel prize winner in literature, was also a prolific songwriter, penning more than 2,200 songs. The concert, which take place on Tuesday, April 17, at 7:00 pm, will be performed by the Pioneer High School Orchestra, directed by Jonathan Glawe. They will be accompanied by classical maestro Rajeeb Chakraborty on sarod and Mousoumi Bannerjee and Shom Chatterjee on vocals.
Easy Street takes the stage
President John then introduced the Easy Street Jazz Band with the query, “What do Burt Voss, Chuck Ritter, Pat Pooley, Rob Northrop, Bob Holmes, Art Holst, Paul Geiger, Millie Danielson, Wayne Colquitt, and John Ackenhusen all have in common? They are all persons of uncommonly discriminating taste and unusually discerning intellect. How do I know that? I’ve actually seen each of these at the mysterious Zal Gaz Grotto listening to live jazz music!”
He then explained the magic of improvisation and introduced the band:
- Professor James Dapogny, piano
- Paul Keller, bass
- Pete Sears, drums
- Ingrid Racine, trumpet
- Janelle Reichman, clarinet
Their first piece was Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home, with our own President John on vocals. Click below to listen:
For the rest of the performance, Paul Keller led the group like a U-M quarterback—OK, better than the recent crop of U-M quarterbacks—in a number of similar pieces, including several by Fats Waller. The performance even included some hurry-up offense. The band delivered their last three numbers in the final ten minutes, scoring a touchdown at 1:30. What a great way to start the spring!
Weekly Meeting Statistics
The membership was “jazzed up” as we heard from the Easy Street Band on March 21. A total of 110 Rotarians attended. It was our largest turnout in two months. We also had three visiting Rotarians (Stephanie Baldwin-Ross of Parker CO, former club member John Barrie of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and B. Yawson of Ann Arbor North), six guests and five band members. Three committees met in conjunction with lunch; International (subcommittee), New Member Project and Program. A total of 22 members participated. Sixteen Rotarians participated in the board meeting earlier in the day. Also reported was the meeting of the Golf and Tennis Outing committee on March 20. Greg Stejskal and Rosemarie Rowney spent three days at the President-Elect Training Seminar from March 15-17 and 14 members of the Peace Committee met on February 21 and March 19. Three Rotarians met at Weber’s on March 22. Whew! We are busy but there is more good work going on that needs to be documented and credited. Examples include tutoring, Rotary Fights Hunger, mentor/mentee sessions, and participation of Rotarians at Interact/Rotaract meetings. Please send your attendance reports to John White.
Makeup Cards for Roving Rotarians
Rosemarie Rowney (Ypsilanti on March 19).
Weber’s Move Update
President John, Don Deatrick, Dave Williams and John White met at Weber’s on March 22. Their purpose was to work on some details in advance of our first meeting there on May 2. One key item relates to the number of handicap spaces they have outside their banquet entrance (five) versus the number of Rotarians who may appreciate special accommodations. We can make some extra spaces for our meetings but need to get a handle on how many. John White is assembling a list. Please contact him if you, or a fellow member, will benefit from more accessible parking.