2010-08-12 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro
Many fond memories can accumulate in 21 years, and as the Jamestown Community Chorus prepares for next Thursday’s 21st annual talent show at the recreation center, we asked chorus director B.J. Whitehouse to reminisce a bit about past shows.

B.J. has worked all of them but one. That’s about 360 acts since 1989, all performed at the recreation center – except one show in the early 1990s that was presented at the Melrose School. The talent show started off with some help from island politicians as the Town Council served as ushers at the first show in 1989.

There have been many singers over the years, but B.J. recalls only one magician, Dr. Bob Kinder; one storyteller, Jay Primiano; one Austrian, Ellen Belconis, who yodeled and explained Austrian customs; a slide show set to music – no PowerPoint, but with real slides; and a number of garage bands.

“The show has offered a stage to beauty pageant contestants from around the area, as well as a place for locals to strut their stuff. I enjoyed Matt Bolles singing ‘The Night Rider’s Lament’ and Dot Dexter playing the piano. One of the great things about the show one year was that Dot followed an eight-year-old who also played the piano. We haven’t seen the senior association in some time, but their act always drew great applause. Peter Carnevale won the yodeling contest a few years back, and Kathy Brownell and her band of merry loons have entertained at every talent show since 1989. The men’s chorus was founded at the show and the community band has kicked off the night’s entertainment for many years now.

“My favorite performer was John Biddle. John produced three of the shows and he would often perform, too. John decided that he wanted to be a clown, so he put together an act, complete with balloons and a bulb horn and brought the house down. He performed in any number of the shows as a singer, pianist, satirist and allaround good sport. John sang to a life-sized, cardboard cut-out photo of his wife, Amy, because she couldn’t be at the show that night. Finally, he got to see his granddaughter dance in the talent show just before he left us a few years back.”

Auditions for this year’s show, to be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19, are Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 16 and 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the recreation center. Questions? Call 423-1574 or visit www. jamestownri.com/chorus.

All proceeds from the talent show, the chorus’ biggest annual fundraiser, benefit the group’s programs, including two seasonal concerts, donations of music-related materials to the Jamestown Philomenian Library and a music scholarship.


The foot-stomping sounds of an accordion will be featured in a rousing rendition of the “Beer Barrel Polka” as the Jamestown Community Band entertains at East Ferry this Sunday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m.

Ralph Aresti, normally found in the tuba section of the band, will strap on his accordion and lead the band in the polka. Although Ralph has played the accordian all his life, including many years with small bands, his appearance with the instrument on Sunday will be the first time after a hiatus of about 15 years. His tuba experience extends back to his high school years.

Band Director Bethany Clarke will lead the band in other standards, including “76 Trombones,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “Tuxedo Junction” and John Phillip Sousa’s “Liberty Bell” and “Thunderer.” The band will also present a Mexican waltz, “Golondrina.” The evening will conclude with the exciting Sousa march “Stars and Stripes Forever.”


Does anyone know the whereabouts of Richard Donelly? A gentleman by the name of Kenneth Erickson was in the Town Hall looking for information about Donelly. Erickson and Donelly knew each other at yeoman’s school at Ft. Getty boot camp from November 1942, to April 1943, but lost contact after that. Karen Montoya at the Town Hall found that Donelly was born on the island in 1922. Anyone with information about him, please call Karen at 423-9801 or 423-9804.


A summer poser from B.J. – “There are no gloomy skies when seen through the eyes of those who are blessed with love.”


Charles DiLuglio reports that there are white radio antennas appearing on power poles in the Shores. He said that the installers are “tight lipped.”

“There is one on the southern end of East Shore Road on a new pole, one at Beacon and Garboard, one at the west end of Stern, and one where the power lines emerge on to North Road from the old generator site. I don’t think they are done yet. Could be an islandwide ‘wifi’ or some sort of cell phone set-up, but that seems unrealistic. Perhaps the building inspector knows if they got permits for all of this.”

Anyone know what’s going on?


Peter Pemantell writes that the correct answer to the poser in the July 29 column is “Summer Nights” from the movie “Grease.” “It is not from the song ‘I Remember it Well.’ Better luck next time, Skip!”


We don’t know what’s in the soil at the Hotchkiss Farm on North Main Road, but it produces the best-tasting corn we’ve ever had.


Ed Silvia says last week’s poser is “Summertime Blues” sung by Blue Cheer.

Cheryl Fernstrom says the lyric is from “Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran’s 1958 hit song. “It was also sung by other rock and rollers in the 1960s and country singer Buck Owens.”

Peter Pemantell writes that the song is by Alan Jackson.” That was a good one!”

Tom Bembenek gives us the whole skinny: “’Summertime Blues’ by Eddie Cochran was the B-side of ‘Love Again,’ released on June 11, 1958. ‘Love Again’ didn’t fare well on the charts, but ‘Summertime Blues’ climbed to number eight on the Top 100. It went on to become a classic. Cochran toured with Buddy Holly on that fateful bus ‘with a broken heater,’ which resulted in Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens opting to charter a small plane, ‘American Pie,’ to their next show gig.

“Eddie Cochran was an outstanding lead guitar man and vocalist. He had a promising future in music, but he died on Easter Sunday, 1960, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in England, where he had been appearing with Gene Vincent. Gene Vincent survived the crash, along with the driver and two other passengers.”

Thanks, guys.


And, that fort that off-islanders mispronounce? John A. Murphy says it’s Ft. Wetherill, pronounced Wetherall by newcomers.


The Cat Days of Summer is going on at the Potter League for Animals through Saturday. There are more than 50 cats available for adoption. Cats six years and older can be adopted for $75, and there is a two-for-one deal for any two cats six months and older at $125. Cats and kittens are spayed/neutered, up-to-date on appropriate vaccinations and have been examined by a veterinarian. Adopters will also receive a certificate for a future veterinarian visit and a bag of Hill’s Science Diet cat/kitten food. Stop by 87 Oliphant Ln. in Middletown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


*** Be true!


Call in your stuff to 829-2760 or 423-0383, or email us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com.

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