‘ROUND THE ISLAND
BY PAMELA A. FRUCCI
St. James Church was without a music director and organist so they put out the word with the American Guild of Organists. Bobbie Ragoonanan, who recently got his master’s in orchestra conducting from Bowling Green University in Ohio, responded to the ad. He claims he was the only one to apply. St. James got a winner! Only 25-years-old with not a grey hair in his long head of hair, Bobbie has, what would rightly be called, “hit the ground running.” He’s a singer, organist, pianist, plays the oboe, and in his first year has organized a monthly series of performances for those who love good music.
Having grown up in Minneapolis and now living in an apartment in Gibraltar in a wooded area, he’s brought to St. James a concert series featuring many talented musicians he knew from his youth and college days. The concert in March has Bobbie at the piano (he started playing at age 5) accompanying a tenor friend from Minneapolis who sang gospel songs and Mahler in German, followed by Benjamin Britten’s “The Holy Sonnets of John Donne.” His last concert will be contemporary music on May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Bobbie will be very much a part of celebrating St. James Chapel’s 150th anniversary in 2018. This historic gem was built in 1868 with the life savings of a former slave – Lizette Denison Forth.
A COOPERATIVE EFFORT FOR PEACE
Speaking of St. James Episcopal Church, I recently went to a talk on a trip to the Holy Land many of their parishioners took accompanied by their pastor Father Phil Dinwiddie. During the question-and-answer session, I asked if there would ever be peace in the Middle East. Jim Holubka spoke up and said there’s a movement initiated by a Vermont minister to bring Christian, Jewish and Muslim youth together to learn about each other’s beliefs and make friendships. It’s called Jerusalem Peacebuilders.
Such workshops take place in Jerusalem and during the summer three locations in the United States have camps where American youth get together with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim youth from the Holy Land. Jim feels this is the answer to bringing peace to the Middle East. I talked to the founder of the Jerusalem Peacebuilders in W. Brattleboro, Vt. and he suggested if I know people in our area who want to help fund a student at the camp taking place in Houston, Tex. this summer that $500 would be appreciated.
http://www.trentontrib.com/island-beacon-church-launches-music-series.html I’m spreading the word with faith-based groups I belong to and Jim is going to do the same. If you would like to help bring peace to the Middle East, you’re welcome to write a check to Jerusalem Peacebuilders and send it to me at 24531 Hickory Circle, Grosse Ile, 48138 by June 15.
BRICK SOUGHT FOR COLLECTION
I’ve heard for many years that the old apartments, unlived in and hazardous on Reo Road, were set to be demolished when the township could finally work out an agreement with the owner. I found out April 4 that a deal had been made and the old brick apartments are being demolished. I drove by the other day and saw that one section was already down. The whole operation was fenced in. I wanted one of those bricks for a souvenir. My parents rented an apartment there and brought my twin brother Pat and me in 1932 to live on Grosse Ile when we were six weeks old. I have a brick from the 1911 building demolished in 2000. That’s where I went to elementary school from kindergarten to sixth grade. I called the township manager and he’s going to find me a brick souvenir from the Reo apartments to add to my collection.
WATCH COMPANY HONORS FORMER RESIDENT
Shinola Co. in Detroit is honoring Emily Gail, who grew up on Grosse Ile and now lives in Hawaii, by designing a new watch named The Gail. Emily, one of three sets of twins in the Gail family, spent years in Detroit promoting the city before its recent renaissance. She’s especially known for having a banner flown over the beaches in Florida that read: “Say nice things about Detroit.”
Shinola said nice things about Emily in their promotion: “As the founder of the popular 1970s movement ‘Say Nice Things About Detroit,’ the creative and indelible Gail went on to be an advocate for her city and an icon within the region. We wanted to create a watch that symbolized the timelessness and beauty of Detroit, but also inhabited a design that you just have to say nice things about. The modern dial and integrated bracelet provide a simple and refined look, without being dull or over-the-top. The Gail is a celebration of the city and a nod to the people who continue to make it great.”
ISLAND CATERER DECIDES TO DO “SOMETHING DIFFERENT”
Martha Butler keeps busy in retirement catering for weddings and funerals and most recently caters for the Kiwanis Club’s Thursday meals. But she told me the other day she’s decided to do “something completely different.” What that turned out to be is riding a bus with 44 others departing from the Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church on March 31 to take in a glorified rehearsal of the Michigan Opera Theatre’s production of The Girl of the Golden West, having a tour of the Detroit Opera House, and sitting down for a box lunch before returning to Grosse Ile.
Martha seemed to enjoy the adventure where we heard that the Puccini family (the opera was written by Giacomo Puccini, the composer of Madame Butterfly) sued Andrew Lloyd Webber for “stealing” four notes from The Girl of the Golden West and using them in his composition Phantom of the Opera. According to Stephen Lord, the director of The Girl, the family won the lawsuit and the Puccini family was awarded $34 million!