I am embarking on a new adventure, only for a short period, but still with some trepidation.  Checking my e-mail last November, I received a message from General Mike Myatt of the Marines’ Memorial Club.  He said that an Erich Stratmann, a singer who has often performed at the club, was organizing a “Sing for America” chorus to perform at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco on April 17th.  This is a non-profit activity-based fundraising event, much the same as an Aids, or Marathon for Leukemia, but involves singing rather than walking or running.  The participants can designate fifty percent of their fund-raising to their choice of charity, the other half goes to charities selected by Sing for America. So I signed up, since I am not now singing in the church choir, and my eyes, larynx, and lungs need to keep working. Any funds I raise I designate to The Marines’ Memorial Club for renovation of the theater.

I sent an e-mail to Stratmann, explaining I was 93 years old, and could tell whether the next note went up or down, and I would like to join. His reply expressed much doubt, but if I could stand up, and I knew when not to sing, I could give it a try.  Cari went with me for company to the first meeting, held at the Marines’ Memorial Club. This was the first of many Monday night rehearsals scheduled.  There was a good turnout, good singers, some of them professionals, and we got started with a two and a half hour rehearsal.  Cari didn’t join that night, but after seeing the quality of the singers, decided she would at the next meeting.

So we are committed, and the show looks better all the time. Since our joining, Erich has announced the addition of the following singers: Melody Moore, who played the role of the wife in Heart of a Soldier, the San Francisco Opera production in 2011; Marcus Lovett of The Phantom of the Opera, and Carousel; and Michael McGuire, Tony Award winner in Les Miseables.

So here is my profile to be put on Facebook, so my friends with extra money can make a contribution, and, or, buy tickets to the show.

Sing for America Profile

My first attempt at choral singing was at a concert in 1967 at a church in San Mateo, California.  The music was the Messiah, a piece I had not heard, except for the Halleluiah Chorus, but I was a good follower and they accepted me. Singing started beside my mother’s piano playing, continued when I worked summers in a logging camp that had neither electricity nor radios, and filled our dull evenings in the Pacific when training for further ventures.  And when I lie awake at night, I don’t complain, I just silently sing from my vast repertory.  

Returning from Guam after WWII I resumed my education at Stanford University in March of 1946, and joined the just founded Marine’s Memorial Club in San Francisco.  Over the years I have enjoyed the sky room restaurant, with its fantastic views, the piano bar (who was the lady who played there so long?), and the hotel rooms with the all-included happy hour, and banquets for special events.

A big feature of the Club is its 650 seat theater, a venue for the George P. Shultz Lecture Series, which has brought many great speakers, often in cooperation with The Commonwealth Club. Add to this the many stage performances by theater groups.  The rental revenue from this source helps maintain the theater and the Club, but the theater is in need of upgrading, so I am donating my fundraising to The Marines’ Memorial Club.

George W. Parker

Major, USMCR

Retired w/o pay or benefits

This entry was posted on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 4:57 pm and is filed under Marine Corps, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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