1980 Alumni News

last updated 1-7-09

Please consider helping FDNY Fire Engine company #6 by purchasing the "Patriotic Tribute CD" by various SOA tours.

We have never tried to reach 1980 Alumni during the past 15 years. We hope more alumni will find this page and submit their information!


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Chad Bergstrom, 9/03: Living in Arizona. ChadBergstrom@cox.net


Edwin (Ed) Calkins: I live in Pleasant Grove, UT and work as an airtraffic controller near the Salt Lake airport. I have six children (5 girls and a little boy) and my beautiful wife is a full time home maker. My oldest daughter just received information from SOA and brought back so many memories that I decided to look up this sight. Stephanie is 17 and directs two choirs at her high school (they have 6 choirs there) and will be attending school in music education this fall. I am very proud of her! My next two daughters are involved in music as well, 16 year old on flute and my 12 year old will probably be a concert pianist (if we can keep her teenage attitude in check!), she is amazingly talented. Thank you for one of the premier experiences in my life! SOA 1980. If any other 1980 alumni remember me or would like to write. I'd love to hear from you! Ed


Becky (Dennert) Seidl, 7/05: "Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Newton County Missouri Secretary for the Board of Directors of Heartland Opera Theatre. Have performed in numerous community theatre productions and several opera production with Heartland Opera, General Director, Terrence O'Brien." bseidl@cableone.net


David Freda: "I was the sole euphonium player that year, because the second player had to cancel shortly before we all met for our trip; really put me on the spot! I made some friends during the trip, but lost contact with them over the years - most notably Pat Adams then of Estes Park, CO and Sandy Werner then of Denver, CO. I bumped into Clyde and Teri Barr my Senior year of High School at the all-state band concert in Harrisburg, PA in the Hershey auditorium - that would have been 1981. I still have my horn, but not my chops! I studied math at Carnegie Mellon and have been a software engineer ever since. Studied one year at Dickinson College's Bologna Italy campus 1983-84. Moved to Italy in 1989-1992. My heart is still in music, though I only sing a little here and there. Thanks for the memories, and for making me yearn to live overseas." ramanujan21@yahoo.com


Dave Gardner, 2-04 : "I was pleased to come across the SOA website today; I had such a wonderful time on our tour, despite being on crutches for half of the trip!  (I was the guy who tore the ligaments in my ankle hiking in the Alps outside of Innsbruck).  After our tour in 1980 I went to Seattle Pacific University, where I majored in Church Music and met my wonderful wife Cheryl.  After a couple of years, I went to Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and received a degree in Music Ministry, followed by ten years as a full-time Pastor of Music Ministries in two different churches in California and Arizona.  My career in recent years has taken a slight turn; I went to the University of Arizona in Tucson to study Choral Conducting, receiving the DMA in 2003, and am now Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choirs at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.  I'm also still involved in music ministry, but on a part-time basis.  My wife and I live in Winfield with our three daughters. My heartfelt thanks go to Mr. Shaw and the rest of the leadership at SOA.  My time in the SOA band and chorus was one of the highlights of my teen years and it was one of the things that helped propel me into a fulfilling career in choral music." dgardner(at)sckans.edu


Tammy Henry: Teaching music at Homer City HS, PA. One of her students toured with SOA 2002.


Debbie Holmes Kessler, 2/05: "My daughter just now handed me a brochure she received in the school mail. I was shocked and so excited! I knew right away exactly who it was! I opened up the brochure to see the familiar red, white, and blue uniforms and the Barr family members. Wow! How wonderful! I had no idea the Sound of America still tours Europe. It would be a dream come true to send our daughter on this fantastic musical tour.

Often I remember Missy Barton, Little Janet Eller, Galen Millier, Paul Liebsack, and so many others. Who was the guy that was injured on the mountain in Innsbruck and had to be medi-flighted down?

I've been married for 24 years and have three children - a daughter in college who is a broadcast journalism major hoping to land an internship this fall as Snow White at Disneyworld, a daughter in high school who has been named to All-State Choir and All-State Drama this year, and a son in jr high who loves percussion, especially the quads. (Any good ideas on how to decorate around a drum set in the living room?)

We are currently in production of "Oklahoma!" at Choctaw High School. The drama teacher opened up casting to include the entire school district from 3rd grade through high school, faculty members, and even a few of us parents. Our daughter is a comical Ado Annie while our son, my husband and I are townspeople. A lot of hard work and long hours but a lot of fun, too.

My Aunt Kristina was one of our chaperones on the tour. She is in a nursing facility with Alheimers now. We shared so many fond memories of our trip together. The highlight for her was the visit to Czechoslovakia since her father was a Czech immigrant. I would love to go back and compare the modern Czech Republic with the one we encountered under communism.

Something interesting for the ladies: Anyone catch the Oprah season premiew where she gave the entire audience Pontiac G6's? My mother, sister, cousin, and aunt were on that show! What luck!! They were hoping for a pair of Oprah's favorite socks!

Would love to hear from any/all who were on our trip!" ratsnaxes@cs.com


LeAnn Monson Butler, 7/05: "Where has the time gone? I had no idea that Sound of America tours were still going on. What a wonderful trip we had. I've been talking about our "records" for years and my darling 17 year old bought me a record player for Christmas last year just so we could listen to "mom's old songs". It brought back such a rush of memories. Also his high school choir sang "Rythmn of Life" in their final concert this Spring. What a blast we had coming home and playing the record and singing at the top of our lungs - funny, I can't seem to hit those high notes any more. :) I am happily married and have a son and a daughter. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and although I did not pursue a music career it is still a huge part of my and my families lifes. Please contact me if you would like to take a stroll down memory lane." lucky@mcleodusa.net


Stanley Roberts, 12-08: "Stanley Roberts has been Director of Choral Studies at Mercer
University in Macon, GA--his Alma Mater--since 1995. Would love to connect with any folks from the 1980 tour! Prev: Was Assoc. Director of Prospective Student Services for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (see our distinguished alumni page). roberts_sl@mercer.edu


Laurie Skalanda: Reportedly living in Tucson, AZ.


last modified 1-7-09, tlb

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