Volume XII, Issue 27: January 23, 2015

On The Calendar
January 31 – AHS College & Career Center Pancake Breakfast at the D Street Neighborhood Center – 8 to 11 am
January 31
– Fortuna Sunrise’s 2015 Crab Fest at the Fortuna Veterans Memorial
Building – 5 to 8 pm (Take Out/Drive Thru Service Available)
February 4A RISE EVENT – Pints for Non-Profits at the Mad River Brewery Taproom – 5 pm to ??
February 7 – Adopt-A-Highway – 9:30 to 11:30 am – Meet at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center
February 10 – Board Meeting at CCRP Office (HSU) 7 am 
February 18 – Charter Night at the Arcata Playhouse – 5:30 to 8:00 pm – “Denim & Diamonds”
March 14 – “Down The Rabbit Hole” – our Spring Fundraiser … in Wonderland!! 
March 21 – District Training Assembly in Ukiah 

Ceva Courtemanche told us that the Foster Program Round Table series is continuing. She said that the attendance increased for the previous meeting, and another was scheduled for that evening. Let Ceva know if you are interested in participating in a panel discussion for a future session.

The Emergency Resource Center at Arcata Elementary put out a call, and our Club was one that answered. Kathy Fraser told us that she asked for donations of shoes, and our Club “kicked in” $500, which the staff used to purchase 24 pairs of shoes, 4 belts, 8 lice treatment kits, 4 pairs of pants, and 6 packs of underwear. 

President Barbara asked Exchange Student Mozara Abdalla what classes she is taking this year. Mozara is taking Culinary Arts, Journalism, Algebra II, US History, Physics, and PE. Of those, her favorites are Algebra and Culinary Arts. She was on her way to the District 5130 Youth Exchange Outbound Orientation that took place that weekend, where next year’s Outbounders (including our own Trula Rael) were to learn where they will spend their Exchange Years. Mozara is very close to her sister Muriel, so her Word of the Day was “irmã”, which is Portuguese for “sister”.

The Spring Fundraiser is fast approaching – we’ll be Down the Rabbit Hole before you know it! Be sure to work with your team to procure your auction and raffle items, and spread the word. 

For last Friday’s Recognition, Ceva Courtemanche took each of the letters of Scott Heller’s name, and matched them with a word that represent him. 

“S” is for Skilled. Scott has been part of many ventures, and during his sophomore year at the University of Oregon, he started throwing disco parties to earn money. After college, he worked in the stereo business, and he always wanted to own a restaurant. Now he invests in many different businesses, and one of these is a restaurant. Scott has also worked in real estate, renovating and flipping houses. And at an early age, he was the administrator for a retirement center. 

“C” is for Cheerful. Ceva noted that Scott is always smiling when she sees him, “even if he’s having a bad day”.

“O” is for Original. “Who else has a Rotary tattoo?” Ceva asked.

“T” is for Thoughtful. Ceva reminded us of what we already know – that Scott “is a great person who cares for others”. That is one of his reasons for joining Rotary. Since Bob Johnson sponsored him as a member, Scott has served on almost all of the Club’s committees. His favorite is Community Service, since that provides the most direct help to others.

“T” is also for Trustworthy. Scott can be counted on to live up to his word. In addition to his 15-year old son Michael, he has a stepdaughter from a previous marriage, Jordan, who is in her twenties. Scott promised Jordan that he would be in her life forever, and even though he divorced Jordan’s mother, he has continued to be there for her. 

“H” is for Honest. “Scott speaks the truth,” Ceva said, “and he has no problem you how it is when he thinks something.”

“E” is for Enthusiastic. Scott is always the first to arrive for any project or event, “with his trailer and everything – even the Rotary Wheel!”

“L” is for Loyal. Jessica McKnight spoke about Scott’s loyalty and friendship. They met and became friends through their involvement with our Club. “Scott came into my life, and changed my life, and made it better,” she said. She told us that he is “a really stand-up person”. He frequently travels to the Bay Area to spend time with his son Michael, and he often brings Michael to Arcata, as well. Jessica said that she sees a lot of Scott’s qualities in Michael. “He has that same wonderful Scott Heller smile,” she said, “and he is a gracious, lovely, very nice person.” She echoed Ceva’s comments about Scott’s commitment to his promise to Jordan, to continue to be part of her life. Jessica then talked about the wedding of Scott and Robin Meiggs in Hawaii, “that I had the privilege to attend in November.” Beyond the beauty of the wedding and the setting, the joy and love that abounded resonated for her, and Scott dancing with his mother (they lost his father in 2013) was very sweet. 

“L” is also for Loving. Ceva read Robin’s message: “Mr. Darcy! My husband is a hopeful romantic. We started dating six years ago. Bob Johnson had already gotten Scott involved in Rotary. It was something that he was extremely proud of and very happy about. His year as Rotary President was really a defining moment for Scott, who has always thought of himself as a person in the background. He gained confidence in his leadership skills. Of the many things that brought Scott and I together, philanthropy and scuba diving were by far the catalysts of our meeting. It was the love of cooking (mainly mine) that sealed the deal on our relationship. I would say he likes long walks off a short pier just as long as it’s a tropical location, and he has never met a tequila shot he doesn’t like. He is an avid reader, and not just on Facebook. He is the most giving individual that I know – ‘Service Above Self’ is the description of Rotary, but of Scott as well.”

“E” is for Exciting. Ceva noted that “Scott loves to go scuba diving with little animals that could hurt him in the water.” He also wants to travel the world.

“R” is for Results-oriented. Scott wants to get stuff done.

Scott and Robin at Their Wedding

Running the Eureka Symphony
Jane Hill was our Featured Speaker last Friday. She has been the Executive Director of the Eureka Symphony since March of last year. She was the Executive Director of Opera Omaha in Nebraska, a Consultant-in-Residence for the Nebraska Arts Council, and the Executive Director of the Sacramento Philharmonic. Before all that, however, she was a local – and a co-founder of Dell’Arte in the early 1970s! (She is also a former Rotarian!!)

Jane told us that she is very happy to be back in Humboldt County. “I’ve always known,” she said, “that this is where I wanted to end up when I retired.” She went on to say that she retired in 2007, but “I’ve been a complete failure at that.” She has served as interim executive director for several arts organizations since then.

During the years she was working in other areas, she was thrilled when she would return for a visit and she could take her grandchildren to the Eureka Symphony. Knowing that we have a live local orchestra strengthened her desire to return.

The Eureka Symphony was founded about 20 years ago by a group of enthusiastic musicians. The group’s founding conductor was HSU’s Kenneth Hannaford, and they performed Brahms Requiem. Conductors ValJean Phillips and Ken Ayoob made significant contributions during those formative years. In 2003, Carol Jacobson took up the baton.

Jane Hill with President Barbara

Jane feels that he Eureka Symphony is a wonderful community orchestra is more than the high quality of the musicians involved. She said that the artistic contributions of both Carol and Concertmaster Terri Baune are critical to the group’s success. Both are sticklers for excellence, according to Jane.

The musicians in the Symphony spend long hours rehearsing as a group and individually. “Being a part of a community orchestra is a huge commitment,” Jane noted. “I’m very grateful to all of them and admiring of them.” 

It is important to have a live orchestra in a community. Jane was pleased to find such an organization in the Sacramento Philharmonic upon leaving Nebraska and Opera Omaha. She feels that an orchestra provides a number of benefits to its community. Foremost among these is the opportunity it provides to local youth, offering alternative artistic experiences they might otherwise miss. Several young musicians play in the orchestra, and many of the group’s members took up their instruments as children or teens.

The Symphony’s commitment to young people starts with the offer of free admission to children 12 and under, if accompanied by an adult. They also have a program called “Musicians to Schools”, which sends small ensembles to local 4th and 5th grade classrooms to introduce students to classical music and the instruments involved. They also bring elementary students to Symphony concerts prepared especially for them. As Jane put it, “We want to see that this live music is not something that’s lost to our next generation.”

The orchestra’s primary venue is once again the Arkley Center. A last-minute contract snafu caused the Symphony to be adrift for a year, but they were able to return for the current season. Jane said that the Arkley Center is an important venue, not only for the Eureka Symphony, but for other arts organizations as well. “When I moved up here,” Jane noted, “it was a department store. I know a lot of you also remember the transition and evolution of that building.”

Most people don’t think about what goes into organizing and running an orchestra. There is a lot of advance planning. Jane told us that the 2015-2016 brochures have to be ready by May, so it will be available to those who attend this season’s last concert. The pieces, the soloists, and any guests have to be known now or soon, to make all the deadlines.

In addition to directly supporting youth, the Symphony provides indirect assistance by honoring local music teachers. They want to recognize the contribution the teachers make to their community. Jane said that musicians often tell her how important their music teachers were in their lives.

Why do we need live classical music, such as opera companies or symphony orchestras? Jane would tell you that it’s because without them, a community is not complete. It does not offer a full range of artistic expression. “I want to live in a place where people’s lives are whole,” she said. “I want them to have housing, and food, and clothing, and cultural experiences, and sports – that makes for a healthy community.”