Crawford, 1-07: " While
bored to tears tonight, I for some reason thought back with fond
memories of my time on tour with All Student Groups and the Barrs,
and Daniel Shaw. I did a search, and again for some strange reason
happened to remember the full name which helped narrow the search. I put in Clyde M. Barr, and lo and behold, there he was along with your nice site. I am so pleased to learn that the tours continued, as my time was one of wonder and education that I have cherished all these years.
For the past 14 years, I have been
living in Pittsburgh, PA and it has really become my home now.
I originally came from a small town in southwestern Virginia and
the 1978 tour was an opportunity that small town kids didn't get
much in those days. I remember to this day the day the mailer
arrived inviting my audition, and I read it with excitement thinking
that my achievements in the Virginia music competitions were really
going to pay off. Then I sadly noted that it cost a staggering
(then!) $1495!!! Straight into the trash with a wistful sigh.
Well, as fortune would have it, my dearly departed Grandmother
was over visiting that day and she pulled it back out announcing
that she had put away a little money for her grandsons' eductations,
and that this sounded like something educational to her. She was
the one who made it all possible,
and I will thank her forever.
Since then, I have become a registered
professional civil engineer, and had the great good fortune to
work abroad in Africa, traveling back and forth during that project
through both Paris and sometimes Brussels. I stayed over one week
for a small vacation with my wife Diane who flew over to Paris
to join me on my return home, and it was as you can
imagine quite wonderful. I have always had a fondness for traveling abroad, and it was the ASG tour in 1978 that infected me with that particularly nice disease! I now have three wonderful children, and my middle daughter Laura has also caught the bug. She was looking for colleges for her international studies/French language degree and settled on the American University of Paris. I was lucky to have enough frequent flyer miles to send her for a week on her own to check it out, and although she decided on Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, she still had a wonderful vist and has a nice set of memories that I was glad to have made possible for her. She will be working abroad in two years after graduating next spring.
My younger daughter Emily (11th grade) had the great fortune to travel to Germany and Switzerland this summer with other family members, and brought back some of the same photos that I remember taking. It is of course the Mozart 250th birthday celebration in Saltzburg, and she has some wonderful memories as well.
In the interim, I have kept up my trumpet playing, earning a spot in the solo cornet section of the Allegheny Brass Band although not in the current photo. I have been performing for a lot of local church services as well as my own church in Oakmont, PA, where I am also a member of the chancel choir and the lead tenor of a small vocal ensemble known as the Believe Voices. Although my engineering career has placed some fairly tight limits on my music performance time, it is still with me. I have been truly blessed, and I credit the ASG experience with having a lot to do with that.
One anecdote of interest is that after I returned from tour, our high school choral group went to Six Flags over Mid-America (St. Louis) for an adjudication, and who did I see standing at the registration desk? Mr. Clyde M. Barr his own self! And Linda was there as well, so we got to have a nice little mini-reunion. It was a joy, and what truly genuinely nice people!
So keep up the great work, and please
know that you do so much more than just make music . . . you make
lifetimes for those fortunate enough to get to travel with you.
May God Bless you all, travel safely, and carry on!" firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth Fisher, 8-12: "Proud to have been one of the youngest members in 1978 ;-) Still involved with the arts and loving it :-)" email@example.com
Glynn Fluitt, 6/05: "I am now in New York City where I am a Sr. Manager of Information Technology for an International Law Firm. I keep my music alive by singing with, educating and (asst) directing the Big Apple Chorus here in the city www.bigapplechorus.com -- which is currently ranked # 8 in the world in the Barbershop Harmony Society. As the VP of Music and Performance I have been part of the team educating and leading these amateur singers to the point of singing in venues such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and places all around the country. In July we'll be competing in Salt Lake City, where some of my guys will be singing with a mass choir in the Tabernacle.
At any point, my chorus is preparing
a spotlight feature on me which of course stirred up the biographical
memories of my music pursuits . . . .in which ASG played a very
major part. This prodded me to look up ASG
(SOA!!!!) and catch up on a little of what's going on in your organization. Congratulations on such a long and illustrious career in bringing music, culture and life-experiences to so many kids!! What a wonderful world they will now experience because of these tours!!!
Being in New York City, I look forward to the opportunity to visit one of your bon voyage concerts -- if not this year, then next. Let the kids know that even 27 years down the road, this experience will be one of the most rewarding and enriching of their lives . . . . .
Karen L. Kenney: "Proud member of the 1978 All Student Groups, USA tour!" firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Speert, 12-05: "I am an alumni from the All Student
Band and Chorus - 1978! Blast from the past! I gave
my staff the day off today and thought I would do a little surfing.
Why did I look for you? Simple. I still have the original
poster from one of our Italian concerts in a frame hanging in
my study. I looked at it and thought I would find you.
I did. I often think of my travels with the (then) All Students
Groups USA. It was my first "real" experience
in the world and what a wonderful way to start.
I wanted my daughters to enjoy singing as I did (but alas... one is a dancer and one is a tennis player) so I don't think I will be bringing them on one of your adventures.
I just wanted to say hello to you (and Daniel Shaw who I believe lost his mother the year I went) and let you know that the experience I gained with your group has lasted a lifetime... so far....
Then: Tenor, Pennsbury High School, Fairless Hills, PA 1978
Now: President, SAS Promotions (www.saspromotions.com) and proud father of 2 girls, Baltimore, MD"
Susan Stotelmyer Ward, 3-04: I am now a private music instructor and am pleased to announce the invitation of my son to perform with the 2004 Sound of America Tour! email@example.com
Robert Wagner, 12-08: "I was a trumpet player from Whitney Point, NY in 1978, I went on to study music at Ithaca College before a transfer and eventually serving in the US ARMY band system for six years. I now live in Johnstown, PA where I serve as pastor for a Lutheran congregation. Married for nearly 25 years, my daughter is teaching music in Columbus, OH and my son is a Jr. at the Univ of Pittsburgh. Its good to find the website and to know things are well. Very fond memories of the tour! God's blessing to all. The Rev. Dr. Robert R. Wagner" firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Wallace Geer, 9-12: DOBRHE@gmail.comI am so very excited to find this site! I was one of the many piccolo players with the 1978 band and have many wonderful memories of our trip. I went on to major in Music Education at Appalachian State University located in Boone, NC. After graduating from college and doing a couple of years of substituting, I ended up getting into computers and am now working as a Project Coordintor (contractor with Capital One). Continued playing flute with the Ricmond Pops Band till 1995 when my son was born. I was married for five years and have two wonderful children (now 13 and 16) who are both very active in their school band. It has been so much fun being a part of their lives and seeing them grow into such wonderful musicians. What a tremendous joy! I have been divorced since 2000 and am enjoying my children! My daughter plays trumpet (8th grade) and my son plays oboe (11th grade). Tomorrow night I will be attending my son't first time as drum major with his high school band. Am considering getting back into a community band again and sure do miss it! Hope all is well with everyone. Does anyone have any video of our performance to share? Would love to be able to share it with my children and let them see it. DOBRHE@gmail.com