Wishes do come true . . . if one doesn’t tackle the con­duc­tor

North Penn Life - - ACCENT -

For the past three years, we have had a “No Tack­ling Mr. Hol­dren Rule” in our fam­ily, and I have ad­hered to that, al­though there were times when The Blonde Ac­coun­tant was cer­tain that my in­tent was to vi­o­late the edict. (It is, af­ter all, her rule and not mine.)

In lieu of ac­tu­ally tack­ling him, though, I have been pes­ter­ing the stuff­ing out of the poor man to the point where maybe he might have wished I had just low­ered a shoul­der into him one time, given him a cou­ple of noo­gies, and been done with the whole thing.

Don Hol­dren is the con­duc­tor of the Mount Saint Joseph Acad­emy cho­rus, Glee Club and Sweet Made­lines singing group and is a mu­sic teacher at the school. And for the past three years, Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant has been a singer in all three groups and one of his stu­dents.

Ev­ery year, the stu­dents put on two shows, one in the fall and one in the spring. Mr. Hol­dren and his col­league, Wil­liam Whitaker — who con­ducts the Mount orches­tra — are two hip mu­sic guys by my stan­dards, which means they usu­ally have a song or two in each show from my era, the 1960s and 1970s.

It is not un­usual for ar­range­ments to be se­lected for songs by the Bea­tles and Si­mon & Gar­funkel, just to name a few. And I’m al­ways thrilled to hear the Mount stu­dents per­form th­ese num­bers, es­pe­cially be­cause one of my kids is up there singing.

My fond­ness for the high school choral and band groups goes back to my high school days at Pekin Com­mu­nity High School in cen­tral Illi­nois in the mid-1970s. I am not a mu­si­cian. I don’t sing or play any in­stru­ments. But as has been men­tioned in this space be­fore, the band di­rec­tor in my high school was the late Dr. Lawrence Fo­gel­berg, fa­ther of the late Dan Fo­gel­berg, a singer-song­writer who wrote the song, “Leader of the Band” as a trib­ute to his fa­ther. The song reached No. 9 on the Bill­board charts in 1981. It’s a beau­ti­ful trib­ute from son to fa­ther.

With Mr. Fo­gel­berg at the helm, our school had kick-tail pep and march­ing bands. Absolutely stel­lar. (For those of you old enough to re­mem­ber the “Ho­gan’s Heroes” tele­vi­sion show from the 1960s, our pep band per­formed the show’s theme song at all home bas­ket­ball games and it was ex­actly like it sounded on TV.)

When my daugh­ters were stu­dents at Spring-Ford High School, they were not ath­letes. But I would go to the football games on ocFDVLRn WR VSHFL­fiFDOOy OLVWHn WR the march­ing band per­form. The Spring-Ford band was al­ways tops. The same goes for the Mount band and choral groups.

So con­sid­er­ing Mr. Hol­dren’s in­cli­na­tion to work in some songs from my era into each show, I started pes­ter­ing him three years ago to in­clude a Beach Boys song in a per­for­mance. Reg­u­lar read­ers of this col­umn know of my af­fec­tion for the Beach Boys and how im­por­tant that mu­sic has been in my life, al­though Mr. Hol­dren quite pos­si­bly has been un­aware of that.

Ev­ery time there was a show and no Beach Boys song was in­cluded, I’d ap­proach Mr. Hol­dren — like a de­fen­sive line­man clos­ing in on a quar­ter­back — in­tent on once again mak­ing my re­quest. From afar, it may have looked like I was about ready to tackle him, pin him down and scream Beach Boys song ti­tles into his face, but in fact I was just ap­proach­ing the task with en­thu­si­asm and per­sis­tence, al­beit with a phys­i­cal size ad­van­tage.

Even on the back-to-school nights, when we went to Mr. Hol­dren’s class and got to the ques­tio­nand-an­swer por­tion of his pre­sen­ta­tion, I’d raise my hand and say, “Can we please have a Beach Boys song in the show this year?”

And then last week, I got my wish. I had known there was go­ing to be a Beach Boys song in this year’s spring con­cert be­cause Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant had been re­hears­ing for the show DOO VHPHVWHr. 6WLOO, LW wDV GLI­fiFuOW WR con­tain my joy as the con­cert date ap­proached.

Stand­ing in the hall­way out­side the au­di­to­rium on show night wait­ing for the doors to open so we could take our seats, Mr. Hol­dren passed by us on the way to the mu­sic room.

“Do not tackle Mr. Hol­dren on his way by,” whis­pered The Blonde Ac­coun­tant, rather sternly.

“I’m not gonna tackle him,” I said, hold­ing the pro­gram, which pro­vided writ­ten ev­i­dence that there was in­deed a Beach Boys song in the show. “But I may give him a big kiss right on the face.”

“Don’t do that ei­ther,” she said, ac­com­pa­nied by the oblig­a­tory eye roll.

The per­for­mance was

called “The Acad­emy Rocks” and the stu­dents per­formed songs by the Bea­tles, Billy Joel, Chicago, Bob Seger, and . . . the Beach Boys.

The se­lec­tion was “God Only Knows,” writ­ten by Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wil­son. Mr. Hol­dren even stopped the show prior to the song and told the au­di­ence that I had in­deed been ask­ing him for three years for a Beach Boys song and now he and the Sweet Made­lines were de­liv­er­ing it.

The girls broke into “God Only Knows” and nailed it. (You can see the video that ac­com­pa­nies this col­umn on­line.)

And I cried. It was even more spe­cial with Daugh­ter of Blonde Ac­coun­tant and the rest of the Sweet Made­lines per­form­ing.

Thanks, Mr. Hol­dren. It was a spe­cial show for me per­son­ally. You’re my new fa­vorite Leader of the Band.

Now, about next year’s shows . . . .

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive edi­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and author of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www.mont­gomerynews.com.

Outta Leftfield Mike Morsch

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