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SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

11 February 2002

cwcpic.jpg (44126 bytes) That was the name of the musical review we attended this afternoon. The name was appropriate on all sorts of levels.

The folks pictured on the left where the singers. We have ties to all of them.

The show was a fund-raiser for Citizens Who Care, a local organization which advocates for the frail elderly. This was the 10th anniversary of this review, in which these singers pick the music of one of the country's best song writers and spend 2 hours talking and singing that music. They've done people like Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Frank Loesser, etc. For the 10th anniversary, they did a potpourri of music from the 40s.

Their audience does not consist of college age kids! As we approached the theatre, with the large crowd waiting to get in, Walt pointed out that those who were arriving were doing the "Citizens Who Care shuffle," as the white haired audience, some with walkers, some with canes, some in wheelchairs, moved slowly toward the door, knowing that they were about to have two hours reminiscing with some of the town's best-loved performers.

Entering this theatre is getting better, but it's always a tug at the heartstrings. Paul was the theatre manager here and he worked with this group on producing this show for several years. The year he died we were incredibly touched when at the start of the show, they dedicated it to him.

As the show started, I looked at the stage and there was such an incredible flood of memories.

It started with the set itself--a simple set with a piano off to the left, five 2-people tables covered with table cloths and chairs for the singers to sit and wait to perform (set up like a cafe). And in the back a row of ficus trees. The damn ficus trees. The trees belong to the Davis Comic Opera Company and Walt has been hauling them around town for about 10 years. He has the key to the storage shed where they are stored, and people borrow them throughout the year. For a time we kept one in our guest room, but it had to be removed so often, I finally gave up on the idea of beautifying that room with a fake tree.

Then the performers entered. The guy in the middle of this picture, with glasses and arms outstretched as if he were a priest at mass about to bless the bread and wine, is Dick. Dick was the music teacher at the high school for decades. He started two very special groups--the madrigal singers, which toured different parts of the world each year, and the Jazz Choir, which performed in music competitions nationally. Paul and his friend Kag auditioned for the jazz choir when they were entering high school. It was unusual for entering students to make it into the jazz choir, but they did and they sang with the choir for all three years, performing at Disneyland, and competitions in Reno and other places. So many good memories.

After Paul graduated, Tom joined the jazz choir, and for one year he and David performed in the jazz choir together. In David's last year, we chaperoned the group on a trip to New Orleans, where we had amazing experiences (fodder for another journal entry!). Dick also made a guest appearance on one of Lawsuit's CDs, playing the piano. It was really cute how well the kids took care of him, and how nervous Dick was to be recorded.

The guy in front of Dick in the photo is Steve. Steve is the host of our local Public Radio station's "Musical Stages,", a program featuring a recording of a Broadway musical each week, with Steve giving the introduction and background on the show. He has also been a performer, director, and board members of the Davis Comic Opera Company (DCOC) and we've been friends for years.

The lady behind Dick is Martha, who was for years the producer of DCOC.  She's an incredible lady, now in her 70s, who can still sing jazz with the best of them and looked damn good today in her black dress with the slit up the side.  She once gave Paul voice lessons, and has followed all of our kids in their musical endeavors for all of their growing up years.

The lady bottom right is Gwyneth. Gwyn took over as choreographer for the jazz choir in David's last years with the group. She had a special love for him and spoke at his memorial service. She also met Steve when he performed for her class. She and her husband became instant fans, bordering on the fanatic.

The guy in the upper right is someone we know least. He is also a performer for the Davis Comic Opera Company and we've attended gatherings with him for years.

The guy in the upper left is Bob, who was Paul's boss for years. Bob is the Peter Pan of Davis. He runs the Parks & Recreation Department and at one time or another employed all of our kids in one capacity or other. They worked with him on vacation camps, with the production of the Davis Children's Nutcracker, as caretakers of the local theatre, helping at local events. Paul was a "man on the street interviewer" for two years for the local cable TV broadcast of the Easter Parade. Lawsuit would not exist were it not for the fact that Bob looked the other way while the kids used the theatre for rehearsals. Bob also gave us the theatre, free of charge, for Walt's 50th birthday party, for David's memorial service, and for Paul & Audra's wedding.

The woman at lower left is Lenore. Lenore and I have a such a long and varied history together. We got to know each other when I volunteered to drive her from Davis to San Francisco for Lamplighter rehearsals, a task I took on for several different productions. We grew to become good friends and knew each other's innermost secrets, and suffered through some major traumas together. For her last production, many years ago (maybe 18?) she was pregnant and I felt as if I would pick her up at work, throw her in the car, she'd sleep all the way to San Francisco, then get out on stage and sparkle for two hours, and then fall asleep the second she got back in the car again. There are so many incredible memories when I look at Lenore. Circumstances have caused our once close friendship to kind of go by the wayside and unless our paths accidentally cross, we never see each other. It was a friendship which was short but intense and it was time for us each to move on. But I always have such a huge wave of emotion whenever I see her.

As the singers sauntered out on stage singing Gonna take a sentimental journey.... I was way ahead of them. My sentimental journal had begun the minute I walked into the theatre.

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