Wishes do come true … if one doesn’t tackle the conductor
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. EIt is, after all, her rule and not mine.)
In lieu of actually tackling him, though, I have been pestering the VWuIfinJ RuW RI WKH SRRU PDn WR WKH 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 N9S0s and N9T0s.
It is not unusual for arrangements to be selected for songs by the Bea- tles and Simon C 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-N9T0s. 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 singersongwriter who wrote the song, “Leader of the Band” as a tribute to his father. The song reached No. 9 on the Billboard charts in N98N. 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. EFor those of you old enough to remember the “Hogan’s Heroes” television show from the N9S0s, our pep band performed the show’s theme song at all home basketball games and it was exactly like it sounded on Ts.)
When my daughters were students at Spring-Ford High School, they were not athletes. But I would go to the football games on occasion to speFLfiFDOOy OLVWHn WR WKH PDUFKLnJ EDnG 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 question-and-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 all semester. 6WLOO, LW wDV GLIfiFuOW WR FRnWDLn Py 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 lnly hnows,” written by Beach Boys cofounder 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 lnly hnows” and nailed it. EYou 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This column can also be found at www. montgomerynews.com.
Cub Scout Tristan McKeough helps clean up Baaderwood Park April 21.