Meeting Notes November 8, 2023

Our meeting began today with the ringing of the bell and Tom Strode leading us in ‘America the Beautiful’.  

Our inspirational  message was provided by Emily Conrady

Emily Conrady

, who delighted us with a story in which a mourning son who always left flowers at his parent’s grave noticed the adjacent gravesite always looked ‘unattended’.  So, he started leaving flowers.  He later discovered that the deceased had been convicted of murdering 2 family members (!) and so he researched who those family members were and where their graves were located and began leaving flowers at their graves!  By way of all of this he met his future wife and they’ve been happily married for many years.  The message:  Life will continually surprise you, so embrace it!

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Rick Ingram led us in ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’. 

We had several guests attending today along with some Rotary flag exchanges.  Tom Millard introduced

Mike Danielsen

Mike Danielson (son of our esteemed member Millie Danielson) representing the Arcadia, MI club.  He also provided a brief update on Millie who is hoping to return to our meetings in the near future.  Dan Romanchek introduced Ralph Katz, an amatuer radio operator colleague.  Mary Steffek Blaske introduced her friend Jacqueline Stearns Henkel.  Carolyn Hyatt introduced two guests from a Rotary club in Mumbai India; both of whom are physicians who have a child in college at UM.  There was also a flag exchange with these visitors. 

Thank you to all those helping with today’s meeting:  Linda Kentes, Sara Maddock, Leo Shedden, Mark Foster, Rick Jarzembowski, Ryan Peterson, Tom Millard, Pattie Katcher and Uger Cetin.

Birthdays and Anniversaries:  Happy birthday to those celebrating this week. Happy Anniversary to Rick Price, Rob Shiff and Janet Torno – all celebrating 15 years in the club.  And congratulations to Betsy Hammond who is celebrating 20 years in the club.

Steve Schram, with his best radio/tv voice, provided a snapshot of ‘In the News Today’, covering some local polling results and UM sports updates.

Rob Shiff, providing an update on our hybrid meetings, reminded us to review the email that was recently sent describing out current set-up and challenges.  Ultimately, maintaining the hybrid model of our meetings is an important way to engage our membership, however, having the resources to maintain it is difficult.  Please check this week’s email for further details.

We had one new member introduction today, provided by Dennis Powers.  New member, Matthew VanBesien is the President of the University Musical Society (UMS), and has a long list of accomplishments including many efforts to provide innovative concert programs to our community.

Mary Steffek Blaske then introduced the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Director, Sarah Calderini.  Sarah opened our A2SO talk today with some interesting stats about the Orchestra since it’s founding in 1928 – the A2SO is currently in it’s 95th

Sarah Calderini

season!  You might be surprised to learn that there are 58 orchestras in the state of Michigan, which is far more than any other state.  All musicians are professionals but not salaried, instead they are paid via contract and substitution pay.  Other facts: many musicians are UM faculty, K12 teachers and also tutors.  The musical arts scene in our community plays a large role in why people are attracted to Ann Arbor and want to live and work in this community.  A2SO is involved on many levels – school programs, chamber concerts and a used instrument drive just to name a few.  The Riversounds outdoor concert was a huge success, over 1,600 people attended!  

Sarah Calderini then introduced the A2SO’s Music Director, Earl Lee.  Earl Lee is fairly new to Ann Arbor as he is in his second full season with the Orchestra after a vigorous 3-year search.  He has many accomplishments to his name including Conductor of the Year in 2022 from the Solti Foundation.  He comes to A2SO from his previous role as the Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Earl describes his introduction to the orchestra as very exciting and is quite happy living in Ann Arbor which he describes as meeting his goal of a culturally vibrant environment.  

Earl Lee

Maestro Lee was born in S. Korea to a musical family, and grew up listening to orchestral music that his father loved.  His mother played and instructed piano, so naturally his first instrument was the piano.  Later, he switched to cello – perhaps owing some initial interest to the great cellist YoYo Ma.  He was initially focused on chamber music, but after a post-college injury, he switched to conducting.  It’s not always an easy journey but he states that he loves people and enjoys his ability to share music with this wonderful community.  One highlight of this week’s A2SO concert?  The theme is concerto – and one piece will feature every section of the orchestra!  In closing, Maestro Lee stated that his vision for the orchestra is to elevate the music making to an even higher level – getting there by growing together musically, through programming and collaboration.

Next week’s speaker:  Christopher Taylor, Mayor, Ann Arbor

Our meeting ended with the club reciting the Rotary Four Way Test:

Of the things we think, say or do..  1) Is it the TRUTH?  2) Is it FAIR to all concerned?  3) Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4) Is it BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Respectfully submitted – Pattie Katcher