Project director Rod Milam here again, this time with a post event wrap-up. My trip back to St. Louis from September 20th through the 23rd to do some promotion and presentations for the project was a success! The main goals of telling the greater St. Louis area about this project, telling U. Citians directly about the project in U. City, and having a still gallery show mounted in U. City can be crossed of the long list of mile markers that I've set out for the progress of this project. And there were even added benefits too!! Let's run though each of the events that happened one at a time.
We'll start with the radio interviews on the morning of Friday, September 20th. First stop was to Downtown St. Louis near the Arch and the riverfront to The Charlie Brennan Show at one of my old stations News Radio KMOX - AM 1120. It was good to see Charlie, Chris Mihiil, Brian Kelly, and other former co-workers as I ran through the station and had a nice chat on the other side of the mic that I was used to in Studio B. Here's the interview in full:
Then I had to make a quick trip up Grand Avenue to Midtown St. Louis to the brand spanking new studios of another former radio station of mine, 90.7 KWMU - St. Louis Public Radio and the Cityscape program hosted by Steve Potter.
It was also good to see old co-workers Bill Raack, Mike Schrand, and Rich Herberts while walking through the vast new station with more studios that I could shake a stick at. (Let's see if we can work with them in the future with the project and musicians on something...hmmmmm.)
Then I had to rush out of KWMU and head to The Loop in downtown U. City to the site of the still gallery show at the University City Public Library on Delmar. With great help from the library staff of Patrick Wall, Christa Van Herreweghe, Annie Fuller, and Lexine Pranschke, 21 pictures of 24 different subjects of this documentary project were hung for a multiple week display on the 2nd floor of the building at the entrance of the gallery!
Then with the pictures hung and the information about the project out and about in the library, the scene was set for the 2 hour talk about the start of the project later in the evening.
The event felt like homecoming! Around 80 people filled the Dorothy Ulrici Auditorium! People that I hadn't seen in decades came out to see what the hubbub was about. My dad, sister and brother-in-law, 3 aunts represented. Neighbors, old elementary, middle, and high school classmates where there too, and some parents of old friends as well! I don't think I've ever seen that combination of people from my first 18 years of life at the same place and same time. The feeling was mutual. Many of these folks hadn't seen each other in many, many years either.
But the big and direct project related joys that occurred was the site of my of some of my first teachers at Flynn Park Elementary school together...more than 30 years after I left the building for the last time as a student. (Left to right) My 5th grade teacher Mrs. Mary Allen, my 2nd ever music teacher Ms. Nicki McClusky, my 1st ever music teacher Diane Davenport, and my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Marylin Levinson.
And even more project related was the gathering of six of the music educators that were an inseparable part of the music program in the University City Public School District from the late 1960s through 1990 (back to front and left to right): Brittany (Woods) Junior High music teacher Mr. Hiram Martin, choral music teacher Larry Thomas, U. City High Jazz Band director John Brophy, concert band/Wind Ensemble/Jazz Band director Casey Geisz, and district music director Diane Davenport and music teacher Nicki McClusky.
My talk went well and folks seemed to enjoy the information I presented. But even more enjoyable was an actual demonstration of musicality by graduates of the district's music program. Everyone enjoyed 4 great live performances by U. Citians John Bolduan (who happened to be in St. Louis at the time visiting from his home of Bilbao, Spain), Linda Gurney, and Sandy Weltman:
A great time was had by all. Many new connections were forged and many old connections were made anew. The still gallery show will be up in the library until at least October 20th, if not longer. So if you're in town, please make sure you go by to check things out.
I'll have more updates for you soon, but I was very glad to install the 2nd part of many parts of this project back in U. City for even more people to discover. I look forward to even more displays in the future.