Posted by Keith Reed
President Leske presided at the meeting with 30 Club members present. New Trier was represented by Anna Helfman and the WCH by Brian Schiller. Randy Barba, a Wilmette Club member, was the guest of Carl Yudell.  Thought of the Day was given by Keith Reed on the importance of being grateful for good health when you have it and the importance of CT Scans when you have a head injury.
Members were reminded of the June 19th Installation Dinner that we are co-hosting with Rotary clubs from Glencoe and Wilmette.  The speaker will be our District Governor Elect Suzanne Gibson.  We will not have our regular meeting on Thursday, June 20th. Robert Mardirossian asked for and got immediate positive responses from members who will help serve the meal.
Patti reminded everyone that we still need volunteers to help with the Winnetka Music Festival the weekend of June 21 and that volunteers get a couple of free drink tickets for volunteering one shift.  She also invited members to attend  the Winnetka  Club’s pre-festival open house to be held from 4-6 PM in room 203 at the WCH.
Christina Gikas announced that this coming Saturday, June 15, the WYO is having a dog and car wash at the WCH to benefit the WYO.  The charge for dogs will be $8 and cars will be $10 to $15, depending on size.
Rich reminded everyone that our Rotary Year is drawing to a close and that so far we have only 20 of  our  55 members contributing .  Any questions about this very important Foundation program can be addressed to Rich Lalley at 224-305-384 --or  you can donate directly to or by calling 866-976-8279.
HAPPY BUCKS:  Rob and Wes tried to explain  how much they bet each other when the Cubs play the Cards.  It was a little unclear when and how much each victory and loss is worth, but since all the payoffs go to the Club in any event, the members expressed their appreciation for the generosity of these two crazy baseball fans and didn’t bother to ask for other details of the arrangement such as its duration or what happens in case of a tie or rain out!  If you don’t know which of these two dedicated fans favor the Cubs or Cards, you haven’t been to a Rotary meeting since 2016!
Rodg Morris donated in honor of seeing Rich Lalley on a NBC news broadcast covering an United Airlines “Eco” flight to the West Coast to demonstrate how airplane travel can be more friendly to our environment.  Rich just happened to be on the flight, but he didn’t say whether he was wearing his “Rotary gear”.
Brooke Peppey handled the “dig n grin” with a further explanation of “corny father jokes” which Eric had given a primer on at last week’s meeting!
Alan  does lots of classical bass freelance playing around Chicago, along with maintaining a private home studio, teaching young bassists. He also has a program “Touch Bass with Alan” which introduces classical music to kids of all ages.  (More information on this program is available on his website He was born and raised in Canada and has been a member of several orchestras there (e.g. Quebec Symphony, Canadian Opera Co, National Ballet of Canada). After hearing our members give the Pledge of Allegiance as we always do at our meetings, Alan proudly told us how he was honored by being asked to lead a group of about 100 new U.S. citizens in the late 1990’s in saying our Pledge when he was made a citizen of the U.S.
Alan had with him his “constant companion” over the years—his “double bass viola” which was built in Italy in about 1740 and is worth about $4000. He mentioned that the smaller string instruments are even more valuable and there is a certification process that if they qualify enhances their value even further.  Alan explained that as a youngster, he thought he wanted to be a football star, then a drummer.  But he soon realized that bass players were more in demand and that back then it was a boys’ instrument because of its size and weight (he mentioned that women have finally started playing the instrument and there are now many fine classical and jazz women bass players.) He studied the instrument in school and graduated from Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He explained that the audition process was very tough to get into the big name orchestras; there were lots of qualified musicians auditioning for the big jobs.  He explained how the auditioning process was supposedly behind a screen on carpet so that there would be no discrimination in selecting orchestra members, but often the conductor would usually make the final decision. He explained that the Chicago Sinfonietta, which he helped organize, had a different approach to musician and music selection.  The first conductor was African-American and  the orchestra  tried to be inclusive as to its musicians—playing all sorts of music that usually would not be played in the big houses.
Other points Alan made about his career choice were that he enjoyed playing in different orchestras, especially community orchestras;  there are many fine community orchestras in the Chicago area and they are not as concerned about finances as the “big houses” that seem to be more concerned about their revenue, even though they are supposed to be not for profit; that community orchestras are usually funded in part by the community and they don’t pay the musicians nearly as much as the unionized orchestras; community orchestras are very important to the local residents who tend to support them; the community orchestra usually doesn’t rehearse as much or have as many performances which usually affects its quality;  he has enjoyed meeting so many professional musicians across the country and usually they have very interesting stories to tell about their musical experiences; he has performed with many famous professionals such as Istock Perlman and Debbie Reynolds and has been very impressed with their talents and ability to entertain their audiences; he is confident that if our young people are given the chance to hear, study, or participate in classical music as they grow up that they will eventually become followers of that art form.
Alan then had Terry Dason and Fred Schwimmer demonstrate how difficult it is to stay “on the beat”, which all professional players have to do. Together they would count out loud to 4 and clap on 5; then they would count to 4 silently and try to clap on 5. It wasn’t until the entire group tried this that Alan made the decision that Terry and Fred had passed their “audition”! Alan said that orchestra members always keep their eyes on the conductor, although sometimes they have to pick up cues from their section leaders or concertmaster. It is the ultimate goal of any orchestra to sound as one ensemble.
As part of his presentation Alan played a little Bach on his bass to demonstrate what a professional bass player can do with 4 strings and a bow made from horsehair!