Thirty members, five guests and two visiting Rotarians were in attendance on March 5.  Our guests included Tony Kambich’s wife, Carolyn, and John Thomas’ wife, Ellen.  Other guests included Bruno Esposito, last week’s speaker, a guest of Mark Kotz, Pawel Baginski, manager of our local Mariano’s (bearing gifts of fresh squeezed orange juice) a guest of Eric Birkenstein for the second time and Siera Erazo from the Winnetka Historical Society a guest of Patti Van Cleave.  Visiting Rotarians were Puran Stevens for the Wilmette Harbor Club and Penny Fields from the Highland Park Club. 
President Bob Baker inducted Carl Yudell, an attorney from Northfield, as our newest member.  Bob presented Carl with his own badge and Rotary pin.  Sam Badger was his sponsor.  The Club gave Carl a warm welcome!
Heidi Sibert, the chair of our Kids Against Hunger program, introduced her committee.  This is the fifth annual food-packing gala and it is scheduled to take place on March 21st  at the Community House.  Rich Lalley reported we have 360 volunteer workers but we could use 90 more.  We also need another $4000 in sponsorships.  This evening, March 5, Liz Taylor and Gina Sich will be the ‘celebrity bartenders’ at Little Ricky’s; all of their tips will go towards KAH.
We celebrated the birthdays of Keith Reed and David Gotaas with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, which was pretty brave in light of the fact that our speaker was a renowned soloist and choral director.
Ned Meisner introduced our speaker Van Gilmer, the music director for the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette.  Mr. Gilmer was born and raised in segregated Greensboro, North Carolina.  He said it was a loving, but separated community and he felt there should be something better.  Van made frequent references to the line from the Pledge of Allegiance – “liberty and justice for all” that has served as one of his guiding principles.  When he was a senior in high school in 1961 two of his friends took part in a sit-in at the Woolworths in Greensboro.  He then realized that if changes were going to occur people had to take action.  While Van was raised as a Southern Baptist he found the Baha’i faith in his 20s. It was the peace, unity and justice that he found attractive.  He reminded his audience that while in total number of followers of the Baha’i faith do not rank Baha’i among the largest religions, members of the Baha’i faith are found throughout the world.
Van entertained and informed us with his splendid voice while he played the piano and his guitar.  He said that music gives a new dimension to words and increases sensitivity to our emotions.  Additionally, he emphasized the healing power of songs.  Van also pointed out that the Negro spirituals songs were never about revenge over the slave owners or killing white people.  They were always about love and seeking the ‘promised land.’  He has added Negro spirituals to the repertoire of the Baha’i choir since his arrival in 2005.  
At the end of his presentation Van invited the members to a major choral concert at the Baha’i House of Worship on May 24th.  There will be over 200 voices participating in this annual Memorial Day event.  The Club certainly enjoyed Van’s wonderful gifts of music and words of inspiration.