It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement as Director of the Villagers Men’s Chorus. It was June 11, 2007, and for some reason that I can’t remember, I was in the hospital on my birthday. That day, I received phone calls from David Haun and Norm Rasmussen, each singing “Happy Birthday” to me.
Upon my return to John Knox Village, the memory of those calls flashed in my mind, and I thought, “Gee, those two guys can carry a tune!” That triggered the thought that maybe other male residents could also. It might be fun to get a group together and prepare a couple of songs for the Annual “Spring Scene” in 2008.
After composing and sending a letter of interest and invitation to all likely available male residents, I was astonished to receive interest from 38 gentlemen, who became charter members of a group I named the Villagers Men’s Chorus. Since I had only been a resident for two years and knew few men, I wish to credit Bob Milanovich for identifying males who would be physically able to function in a chorus.
In January of 2008, we held our first rehearsal and began learning two songs from memory – “Johnny Schmoker” and “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame.” Long story short, we made our debut at Spring Scene and wowed the audience. I had not planned any further appearances, but the guys wanted to continue as a male chorus – thus, were born the Villagers. The group has since grown to 57 members and has been honored with prestigious invitations to perform.
The growth and progress was possible through the support, financially and otherwise, by RAS, the Marketing Department and sponsorship by our Rotary Club that allowed us the opportunity to raise $45,000 from five years of “Knox Rocks” for the The Woodlands at John Knox Village. My heartfelt thanks to Ava Janes for all of her copying of weekly newsletters; to Ray Aubin and the Activities Department for set-ups and scheduling; and especially to my wife Dee, for her unending support of my efforts. There are many others, too numerous to mention.
Seven years of planning, directing and behind the scenes organizing have taken a toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I would like to explore other interests and spend more time with my family and friends. Most of all, I will miss the fellowship and friendship of the Villagers and the joy of singing. You are truly fine gentlemen. Please retain all music folios and uniforms for future use.
I sincerely hope someone will emerge as Director and another as Accompanist (Anita Ferguson, our beloved accompanist, also has retired) to continue the Villagers Men’s Chorus. I will be pleased to act in the roles of mentor and advisor and hope to continue singing in the Barbershop Quartet. If interested, please call (954) 782-8899 or Christopher Miller, Public Relations Manager, at (954) 784-4726. Thanks to all of you for your love and support.
– Ron Davis, LS 504