AfterGlow Papers and the 25th
- “25 Glorious Years” (Excerpts from the 25th Anniversary Questionnaire)
- “Catch-25″ – Thoughts on the World
THE AUGMENTED EIGHT’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY . . .
April 18-20, 1975
When we wrote to you on January 25, and observed that “a lot of music had flowed under (our) bridge” in the last twenty-five years …when we told you of our hope to have, not just a good party, but a true reunion, “a sort of communion” …when we shared our feeling that the 25th “should be the greatest event in Augmented Eight history, but only if the alumni appear” …we meant every word.
Frankly, we were far from confident that our ambitious conception of a “total weekend” in April would ultimately be realized. February became March; we turned into an uncertain Washington spring, and we gained confidence as we received word of your plans to attend.
Still we fretted, and planned, and changed plans, and went over the “to do” agenda a dozen times. We were ready.
And yet, we were not entirely prepared for what transpired. We were not quite prepared for the special magic of those forty-eight hours.
From the moment on Friday evening when we poured into Koppy’s home out of an ominous rain, to the last Bloody Mary on the Hanes’ windy lawns, the 25th was even more fun and satisfying than we dreamed it could be.
The renewal of old friendships, the reminders of old songs, the special resonance of seven Augmented Eight basses singing “Slow Motion,” the reflective and illuminating conversation of CATCH-25, the sun-filled picnic by the Carillon, the unbelievable acoustics in the Smithsonian’s Great Hall, the surprised pleasure of our National Gallery audience (especially the guards), the elegance and gaiety of our Saturday night dinner with its unending wit and sentiment, the pleasure of seeing the old snapshots and clippings and hearing the still incomparable “Fifteen Steadfast Years,” the graciousness of hospitality at beautiful Gunnell’s Run, and a sumptuous leisurely brunch to top it off.
All of us here are glad we did it, pleased that we all managed to keep going for twenty-five years to make it possible, grateful to all of you who came and joined in so fully. We in Washington have still got a kind of glow on …we hope you do too.
“25 Glorious Years”
(Excerpts from the 25th Anniversary Questionnaires)
BOB ABERNETHY: We try to carry on the caroling tradition here, but nothing we can arrange compares to my memory of the sound and elegance of Christmas with the Augmented Eight. I miss that. I miss the friendship and laughter. And I miss that special sense of belonging and sharing that goes with a good blend on a great chord. Keep it all going.
PIERRE BEAUREGARD: The Augmented Eight has been a very important part of my avocational life, and the associations made have been the best. Camaraderie through music has psychologically meant a lot to me. Most memorable moment was in Detroit at Spring Sing when I felt I had “arrived” with the A-8, and have been riding on a crest ever since. It has been the greatest of pleasures being able to devote my efforts to keep this great tradition going as whip, secretary, pusher or what have you. I just wish I had a good voice–and that I could read music properly. C’est la vie!
FRANK COLCORD: I’ve sung with three groups here in Boston but never had the pleasant experiences of the Augmented Eight period. I was in A-8 from about 1954 to 1959. Needless to say, I do miss it (you all), and have always thoroughly enjoyed our reunions in the past. In thinking back on those days (inevitably nostalgically), I can’t help but realize how central the A-8 was in my whole social life. Not only the good friends in the group, but also the things that sprang from being in the group (e.g., Hexagon Club, numerous romances, etc.). It was (though it didn’t really seem so at the time) the very cornerstone of my non-vocational life in Washington.
BILL CULBERT: As an expatriate who passes through Washington for a few days every other year or so and occasionally lives there for a few years every decade, it is good to know there are old friends to contact–even if they are still struggling with some of the more ambitious works we first attacked 25 years ago! Most memorable: The humiliation of being duped into going to the opposite end of a swimming pool somewhere in Virginia (George McGhee’s estate?) in the early 1950’s to sing “Serenade” from that end while the rest of the group did the accompaniment from the opposite end–which they of course did not do.
TONY HASS: I can’t do proper justice to this question. Music and singing have always been very much part of my whole being, and have made it possible to sail through the occasionally stormy seas of life with equanimity and humor. As you know, I have continued to carry on the A-8 traditions and interest with the “Off-Sounders” in Greenwich, for whom I am serving as Musical Director this season.
BUD HENRY: Who can forget singing for the assorted shapes at the Florence Crittenden Home, and suddenly coming upon lines like “Here’s a ring for your finger,” or “There’s a minister handy!”
NICK HEYNIGER: The Augmented Eight is the best and happiest thing about coming back to Washington. I would not trade any friends and my singing with the A-8 for anything. I have always felt how lucky I am to have a singing voice, and to have such fun with it in the A-8.
ORT HICKS: Though this is “God’s Country,” I have the fondest memories of Washington, the most special are those of A-8. Favorite songs? …I could name a hundred.
LOUIS HOOD: The Augmented Eight filled a vacuum after graduation and was an important part of my life after the fun of the Amherst DQ. It also led to joining the Suburban Squires when I moved to Philadelphia (both times). My most memorable experience as an Augmented Eight member came when I remembered all the words to “Miss Otis.”
GORDON JOHNSON: A special part of my life over the past 25 years. It was Frannie Nichols who introduced me to Francie Brigham …and Christmas Caroling with John’s coach in 1950 was my first date with her … and you sang at our candlelight Christmas wedding in Williamsburg in 1951. Some other special memories have to include the TV performance when our soloist picked lines from three different verses of “Put the Blame on Mame” and I didn’t realize it until after the performance, singing each response without thinking …and the reverse at the Florence Crittenden Home when we started in on the chorus of “Mandy” and for the first time the significance of those lyrics began to sink in (do you quit in the middle or hang on and hope no one’s listening?) …and that up-tight feeling in the pit of your stomach, every year since 1960, as you make your entrance for Spring Sing performance, emptiest of all in Detroit when we followed those “Mystery Guests,” the Arbors. …and a special sense of warmth remembering that June evening at our home when the A-8 hummed Aura Lee with son Gordy, age 8 or 9, singing the solo. Here’s to many more years for the Augmented Eight, always open to youth and to change, with faith that the right idea will win through without a vote. Remember the night we met to decide whether to disband before Koppy got back from Paris so he could make a fresh start, or hang on until he got back in two more weeks so he could decide for himself how bad we were …then someone finally said, “Let’s sing, so we never decided, and we never put the question to Koppy when he did return. May it always be that way!
LEW KIMBALL: Skeleton on bicycle at Barn in Andalusia. … ‘Ain’ta that Good News” in Detroit …Heyniger’s peanuts …Tony and John doing “Bridget Go and Tell the Watchman!! … framed New Yorker cartoon from Nancy Holmes, shows two men adrift on a raft and said, “Dammit, Kimball! Don’t you remember all the words to any song?” …Polish abortion–a cancelled Czech …Spring Sing at Potomac …parties at Hanes’ and Johnson’s and Holmes’ and etc., etc., …the “Next Generation” singing with us at Mountain Weekend …and endless hours with tapes and records enjoying the A-8.
TED KUMMER: The Augmented Eight means many memories, but perhaps best of all the Wednesday night camaraderie–and yes, work too. For I always had trouble remembering the words. Thank goodness for the excellent lip diction of Rob Northrup, Jack Upper, and Pierre Beauregard. How frustrating it would have been to have to hum all those tunes!
DICK MOONEY: It is time to pay dues. To Francie Johnson, for inviting an old chum of mine to rehearsal one Wednesday night in 1954; I tagged along. To Frank Colcord, for inviting me to come back the next week. To Wes Oler, for letting me lean on him for the next nine years. To Koppy, Tony, Perle Mesta, the patients, our wives (our patient wives).
ART NICHOLS: Things remembered: Singing “Dry Bones” in the Walter Reed Amputee Ward; TV debut on the Sunday morning kiddie show; the day an NP patient at Bethesda threw a potted palm at Tony Hass; picnics at John Kauffmann’s cabin; the Johnson wedding at Bruton Parish Church–in semi-darkness because the candles burned out waiting for the principals; getting sick of “getting together at Mary Ann’s.”
ROB NORTHRUP: The Augmented Eight–crazy, yet so sane. What makes it go on and on? It’s the magic spirit that warmed us all, as a piece came in on paper, took its first breaths on the piano, grew in familiarity and understanding on successive Wednesdays, and finally reached satisfying perfection (or nearly so) in performance. Then I could almost touch the group unity, the spirit of togetherness. And the little things, the succession of memories: fall in the mountains, crisp and cold–Carter’s laugh, and his Miss Otis–our ever-changing song introductions–our business meetings–our all day rehearsals, with that real sense of fulfillment afterwards–the fun of being great at Spring Sing–and overall, the feeling of being part and parcel of a group of friends.
Augmented Eight, I can’t get over you,
Lingering strong in my mind.
Music, yes music, but
Augmented Eight, I can’t get over you,
Lingering strong in my mind.
Music, yes music, but more than that, too,
Something that’s so hard to find,
A feeling together, of being all one,
In voice, and through that, in spirit.
No wonder that name has a most special sound
For us all, whenever we hear it.
Augmented Eight, may you go on forever,
Now that you’ve reached twenty-five,
Gaining new vigor, voices, and songs,
And keeping that spirit alive!
BOB STRANAHAN: Best memory: Spring Sing …all of them. Second best memory: Fifteenth Reunion–particularly Abernethy’s record.
JACK UPPER: Carter Bowles singing “Miss Otis Regrets.” Rob Northrup, “Gentle on my Mind.” Pierre, “Yellow Bird,” Johnny Hanes, “Swing Low,” Koppy and Johnny, ”Humble,” Wes, “Saloon,” Bob Stranahan, “Bermuda Buggy Ride.”
BOB WILLIAMS: Ah, those where the days, my boys! Outings on John K’s spread, songs at the Vet hospitals, the Spring Sing bash, some of the happiest memories I have. Those beautiful wives chatting or knitting (Nancy H.) while Koppy tried to whip us into shape. I haven’t sung in harmony in years and I really miss it. Wish I could be there for the 25th. Now that we live in one of the more civilized areas of the world which is often visited by you world travelers, I wish you would drop in on us and give us a chance to extend some Parisian hospitality.
Our 25th Anniversary Weekend added a new dimension to the lives of the Augmented Eight with our Saturday morning “CATCH-25” session at the Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Company. Our hats off to Mary Stewart who expressed an interest in hearing more about the “other lives” of the Augmented Eight, and to Koppy and John Hanes who carried through so admirably. These notes, incomplete and subjective though they may be, are offered as flashbacks in nuggetized form to perhaps trigger some of your own individual memories of an exciting morning. John Hanes opened our session as moderator.
JOHN HANES: As a nation we have been going through intensive introspection which may be more unhealthy than healthy. In looking at our past, one can see that international events have served to unify us as a nation–if we have good leadership. There exists, however, a real lack of confidence in the kind of leadership we have had over the last 12 or 14 years.
We might characterize this as an age of franticness–an age of busyness. Perhaps this is due to the impersonality of city living. In a small town, there is a tolerable level of “people impingements” whereas in a large city the level is becoming intolerable. This in turn generates the tendency for people to withdraw and to place reliance on leaders to carry on the struggle. Speaking personally, I observe less stomach myself for new battles today compared with ten or fifteen years ago.
LEW KIMBALL: The program for a simpler life appeals to me. Twenty-six years ago when I started teaching at St. George’s, my ambition was to be the best biology teacher they ever had–this was “cognitive education.” Today the emphasis is on human relations and “affective education” rather than cognitive education.
FRANK COLCORD: At Tufts we have observed a tendency toward less outreach on the part of the students. They stay more on campus. Tufts used to be a place to serve as a base of operations from which to move out into metropolitan Boston and to agitate. Today this is much less true and students are more serious and hard working within the college.
The trend toward simplifying life to “recapture humanity” is perhaps exemplified by the rise of communes in Boston–these are quite different from the hippy type of commune of the 60’s but are normal people leading normal lives. There are perhaps 400 to 500 communes in Boston, with 25 alone in Arlington, in one of which I live myself with five others. This is one way to cope with the increasing busyness and franticness in fighting life’s daily battles.
BILL KOPLOWITZ: People by their very nature want leadership, but today’s problems are more complex than ever in the past. They do not lend themselves to a magic wand waved by a charismatic leader. Our future will depend less on leadership from the top, and more on a massive awareness and drive from the ground up if we are to solve the problems ahead of us.
JACK NEVIUS: From my “worm’s eye view,” as a member of the city council in the past ten years, I see a spreading of wealth and power. The bright younger people coming along today want to grapple with the big problems, and are not oriented to nut and bolt, pick and shovel, types of activities. The emphasis is more on spreading wealth rather than on generating it. People are spending more than they create, which in turn is contributing to inflation. With the broadening of the base of power, and government laws broadening wealth, it is a difficult time for a leader to function Messiah-like.
DICK MOONEY: There is definitely a quantum transfer of power to Washington. Universities, business, and unions are coming more and more to Washington for answers and for action to solve the country’s problems. I am not sure how effective the media really are, and the media may not be reporting everything.
JON MCBRIDE: I look back on the Viet Nam war as the big influence on my life, whereas most of you here probably look back on World War II as the big influence on your life. As I see it up to 1960, pre-Viet Nam, our country was adolescent, with the simple philosophy that “every thing will be all right.” Now we are moving into puberty (puberty is when a girl’s voice changes from “no” to “yes”), and we are wallowing through this period with many doubts, uncertainties, and ups and downs. Government tends to exacerbate these fluctuations, as for example in the probable over-reaction to combat recession, adding to the fuel for a future inflation.
JACK SLOAT: You have to appreciate our very bigness today. Many people are looking to China and the communes in China as a successful way of life in a time of bigness, to pass responsibility back to the local level. I think that the caliber of our leaders today is fantastic. It is interesting to note in passing that Mr. Kissinger has been observed to feel that our society in its present form cannot last indefinitely.
BILL KOPLOWITZ: I really come out of the aftermath of World War II which leads me to feel that any approach to problem solving today must be global. A global interest does not necessarily mean global intervention, however. From a political analysis point of view, I sincerely feel and believe there are forces at work in the world, ruthless and with great power, which threaten our individual freedom, expression, and system of volunteerism, which we must be willing to react against or be overcome and forced into a life of forced conformism. I think we have used our World War II power well, but we are at present in a terrible crisis of confidence. We failed in Viet Nam, and this enormous human tragedy has hurt us deeply. I am “anti-communist” even though that word today has become almost a pejorative.
FRANCES (BRIGHAM) JOHNSON: There is a very fundamental belief at work in some parts of our government today which has been ignored in the past to our detriment. This idea is that “Everyone counts, including women.” From this basic idea, it follows that everyone deserves the basic necessities of life and we should devote our energies to this objective.
There are two forces at work in the world today which could be tapped but have not been tapped: First, business, particularly the much maligned multi-national corporations where studies show that they have helped rather than hurt development in third world economies. They have applied their resources where they can be most productive–this is not necessarily always beneficial to the U.S. economy, but it does contribute to global development. And the second is women: Women in poor societies actually do most of the productive work to support the family, particularly in agriculture. Some of our past foreign aid policies have been counter productive by ignoring this basic fact.
PETER RANDOLPH: There is a real conflict between the concept that everyone counts, and the concept that everyone deserves the basic necessities of life. The real question is “How much and at what cost?” From a psychiatrist’s point of view, there is a real question as to how best to apply one’s time in today’s world: Working with individual patients on a one-to-one basis over a long period of time, to achieve some small benefit to the individual, versus working in troubled areas in the metropolitan city where possibly there are many multipliers on one’s time to make a positive contribution.
GORDON JOHNSON: We are grappling with problems of immense complexity beyond the ability of any of us as individuals to completely visualize and solve. Much like the blind men describing the elephant, each of us sees a different facet of the problem. Perhaps rather than relying on individual persons to “lead” us through these perplexities, we should recognize that man as an individual is imperfect and concentrate more on the dynamics of the system, and look for ways to improve the system to make it adaptable to change. One source of energy which does provide means to change and which could be harnessed to accomplish society’s objectives, is the basic drive in a free enterprise system to produce a bottom line profit or go out of business. It is demanding, sometimes ruthless, but it forces change as necessary to survive–change or perish. Our schools and our government often seem to work against, rather than utilize, this dynamic force in our system. Young people coming out of college today seem completely ignorant of the reasons for the “profit” system–in fact profit to them often seems to be an evil word. Society should decide the rules of the game and set objectives, but then structure the system so as to harness profit as the source of energy to accomplish these objectives.
WAT STEWART: Business can be socially responsible, as for example when insurance companies got together to take on and support low return but socially desirable projects in low income housing. Perhaps the most important principle of all is to have faith in the people. The experience with the gasoline shortage last winter, showed how people can rise to the occasion, but our leaders gave up pushing the issue. The kind of leader we need today is a thoughtful man or woman who can put the issues to the people, and who will have faith in the people to come up with right answers.
JACK NEVIUS: We certainly tried during the 1960’s to use the profit motive to solve the low income housing problem. Sharply rising building costs, however, made it impossible to come up with a workable system under which a builder could indeed make a profit in low income housing.
JOHN HANES: This morning’s discusslon is at least one example of a little profit taking from our lives together over the past 25 years. Our magnificent music has kept us out of the bankruptcy court, and given us the opportunity to live and grow. Today’s experience has been a special dividend.