Tickets go on Sale for 2016 Knox Rocks

IMG_4934b6x9In 2011, The Rotary Club of John Knox Village saw an opportunity to raise funds and showcase the talents of our residents and others by organizing the Annual Knox Rocks Concert series.

This year’s highly anticipated shows are set for Thursday and Friday, April 28-29, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. Tickets are $25 per person and will be on sale Monday-Friday, April 4-8, during lunch and dinner in the Dining Room.

As always, all proceeds benefit The Woodlands at John Knox Village, the new skilled nursing center that opens with an official Grand Opening Ceremony on May 26. The Woodlands is the first of its kind to adopt The Green House model of care at a Life Plan Retirement Community in Florida.

New Director Leads the Chorus

This will be Christopher Toth’s first Knox Rocks as the Director of our Villagers Men’s Chorus, and he is excited about the program and performance opportunity.

“This year, I am particularly excited about making Knox Rocks an upbeat and energetic performance,” he said.

An extremely talented musician, Chris took over as Director in late 2015, when resident Ron Davis “retired” from leading the group. “Ron continues to provide me insight and guidance on managing The Villagers. He often sends me helpful reminders about what needs to be done at various times of the year,” he said. “He is an amazingly supportive guy.”

Chris has remained busy working with the Villagers, preparing the group for these two shows and other performances at John Knox Village and for organizations across South Florida.

“I have been awed by the support and enthusiasm that my singers, John Knox Village residents and people who know us in the area have shown to me as the Director of the Villagers Men’s Chorus,” Chris said.

Traditionally, Knox Rocks features a good mixture of old favorites and new material by the Villagers. Some of the new songs this year include “If I Only Had a Brain” from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), “The Merry Maiden and the Tar” (Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert), “We May Not Be Vampires (But We’re Still Men!)” (Mark Burrows), “The Pink Panther Theme” (Henry Mancini) and more.

Returning and Guest Performers

IMG_4544b6x9Knox Rocks also features an array of guest performers and surprises. During the shows, Chris will be demonstrating his keyboard abilities with a solo. Residents Elaine and Jack McNamara will share their talents with a special guest singer during “McNamara’s Band.”

The Half-Tones, John Knox Village’s Barbershop Quartet, with Rion Carswell, Ron Davis, President/CEO Gerry Stryker and Jack McNamara, will again serenade the audiences.

And our beautiful resident “swans” will return for a memorable ballet of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” For a sample of their last performance, click HERE.

“The famed Ballet Knox de Pompano Beach has been prevailed upon to come out of retirement for a triumphant re-creation of its signature dance of the little swans,” said Rotary Club member and resident Margo Lewis

Finally, John Knox Village welcomes Norwegian-born Soprano Birgit Djupedal Fioravante to this year’s Knox Rocks. According to her Website (, Birgit has performed operas, concerts and recitals and appeared on radio and television for more than 30 years.

She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York singing “Fricka” in scenes from Wagner’s “Ring Cycle.” She has been a guest soloist with symphony orchestras and opera companies including Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand Opera and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

Birgit will be singing “Mon couer s’ouvre à ta voix” (“Softly awakes my heart”) from the opera “Samson and Delilah,” “Stranger in Paradise” from the musical “Kismet,” “Begin the Beguine” written by Cole Porter and some other recognizable numbers.

“Birgit will bring the house down!” Chris said.

About The Rotary Club

The Rotary Club of John Knox Village began in 2008 as an opportunity for our residents and others to serve the greater community and have fun together. Each year, The Club plans three fundraisers, including Knox Rocks, one that supports an international cause and another benefitting the surrounding Pompano Beach community.

Knox Rocks raises about $10,000 each year. The Rotary Club members also support ShelterBox (, the premier international aid organization that provides shelter and life-saving equipment following disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes and other emergencies across the world.

The Club currently has approximately 50 members and meets every Wednesday in the Lakeside Dining Room for dinner at 5 p.m. For more information about The Rotary Club of John Knox Village, visit ( and under the Resident Life menu there is a listing for Rotary Club.

John Knox Village Rotary Club

History of The Rotary Club at John Knox Village:

One organization here at John Knox Village you may not be acquainted with is our own Rotary Club. It’s only been on campus since August of 2008. What a wonderful opportunity it has provided the residents and others to serve and have fun.

IMG_5236b6x9It all began with a vision shared by two of our most involved residents — Hank Watson and the late Bob Simon. Hank has been a Rotarian for more than 40 years. Bob was a former District Governor of Rotary International in our area. Together they formed a winning plan. Hank would recruit the first members, and Bob would prepare and file all the necessary paperwork and forms.

Today, there are nearly 50 members of the Rotary Club at John Knox Village.

Each one faced a formidable task. Whoever heard of a Rotary Club whose members all were residing in a senior community? What would be the benefit? What could such a Club accomplish? Who would want to join? Why would Rotary want such members?

First, no one has previously heard of a “senior” Rotary Club. Even today, few know of this upstart Club. The Rotary Club of John Knox Village (RCJKV) is the only organization in which its members are seniors with an average age of 83. That’s a unique fact.

All the rest of the questions can be answered in two words — fun and service. Members of RCJKV have fellowship and fun together – working, learning and socializing. Service comes in the form of three distinct fundraising events each year — one for a community charity, one benefiting an international effort and the third is the all-out, two-day event “Knox Rocks,” which raises funds for our Health Center.

Why accept this brief introduction? Come on out on a Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the John Knox Village Lakeside Dining Room to see for yourself.

We’ll welcome you the chance to share a fun evening with John Knox Village’s own Rotary Club!

Stay Informed:

Read the most recent copies Rotary Club publication, the Village Crier:

Village Crier March 2016

Village Crier February 2016

Village Crier January 2016

Village Crier December 2015

Village Crier November 2015

Village Crier October 2015

Village Crier September 2015

Village Crier August 2015

Village Crier July 2015

Village Crier June 2015

Village Crier December 2014

Village Crier November 2014

Village Crier October 2014

Village Crier August 29, 2014

Village Crier July 25, 2014

Village Crier June 28, 2014

Village Crier July 3, 2013-2

Village Crier July 3, 2013

Village Crier June 19, 2013

Village Crier June 12, 2013

Village Crier June 5, 2013

Village Crier May 29, 2013

Village Crier May 22, 2013

Village Crier May 15, 2013

Village Crier May 8, 2013

Village Crier May 1, 2013

Village Crier April 24, 2013

Village Crier April 17, 2013

Village Crier April 10, 2013

Village Crier April 3, 2013

Village Crier March 27, 2012

Village Crier March 20, 2013

Village Crier March 13, 2013

Village Crier March 6, 2013

Village Crier February 27, 2013

Village Crier February 20, 2013

Village Crier February 13, 2013

Village Crier January 30, 2013

Village Crier January 23, 2013

Village Crier January 16, 2013

Village Crier January 9, 2013

Village Crier January 2, 2013

Interesting Presentation at Rotary Club

Interesting Presentation at Rotary Club

John Knox Village has its own Rotary Club that meets every Wednesday night in our Lakeside Dining Room. The presentation…

Posted by John Knox Village on Thursday, May 21, 2015

Knox Rocks V Raises Another $10,000

Knox Rocks V Raises Another $10,000

IMG_5191b6x9On April 23-24, the residents and guests, who attended the two-night Knox Rocks V concerts, were highly impressed by the vocal talents of their peers and others.

Hosted by the Rotary Club of John Knox Village, the concerts raised another $10,000 toward our new skilled nursing center, The Woodland at John Knox Village, which is currently under construction and set to be open in 2016.

Since the inaugural Knox Rocks in 2011, the main attraction is our Villagers Men’s Chorus. Under the direction of resident Ron Davis, the group has grown to more than 50 members. This year, the men sang some familiar songs and added 10 new tunes to their repertoire.

Some of these songs included “California Dreamin’” made famous by The Mamas and the Papas in 1965, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” by Duke Ellington and “The Whiffenpoof Song,” which is a traditional closing number of The Whiffenpoofs, an a cappella group at Yale University. It was later recorded by famous artists Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and even Elvis Presley.

IMG_4934b6x9“I commend the guys for their great performances. There were numerous compliments by the large audiences both nights. Our group looks forward to singing at this event each year,” Ron Davis said.

Knox Rocks V also featured various guest performers, including “The Half Tones”( John Knox Village’s Barbershop Quartet), the return of “Pighead Pete” (resident and Master of Ceremonies Herschell Lewis), resident Jack McNamara’s “O Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble” and soprano soloist Elizabeth Sjoberg, the niece of resident Jeanne Mills.

_MG_4867b6x9Another highlight was the comedy act titled “Olympic Synchronized Swim Club,” which first made its debut at the 2011 Spring Scene. Special thanks to residents Paul and Sally Loree who directed and produced the group of male swimmers.

For more information about the Rotary Club that meets every Wednesday evening for dinner in our Lakeside Dining Room, visit ( Under the Around JKV section, there is a listing for the Club.

More photos from the two nights are on that Website and the official ( page.

Knox Rocks V – Night Two

Knox Rocks V – Night Two

Here are the photos from Friday night's Knox Rocks V concert.

Posted by John Knox Village on Monday, April 27, 2015

Knox Rocks V

Knox Rocks V

Last night, the JKV Rotary Club hosted its Knox Rocks V, a two-night benefit concert raising funds for our new skilled…

Posted by John Knox Village on Friday, April 24, 2015

Knox Rocks V

In one of the most anticipated events of the year, the Villagers Men’s Chorus returns to the John Knox Village Centre Auditorium stage in two performances of “Knox Rocks V” on Thursday and Friday, April 23 and 24, at 7:30 p.m.

_MG_2663d 6x9 groupThe concerts have been an annual affair since 2011 and are sponsored by The Village’s Rotary Club. The benefit concerts have raised funds for The Woodlands at John Knox Village, the new health center that has adopted The Green House model of care. Now under construction, it is expected to be open in 2016. To date the annual concerts have raised $45,000.

Three Part Concert

According to Ron Davis, Director of the Villagers, the concert program will be varied and entertaining. “The concert will feature three parts,” he said. “Parts One and Three will feature the 57 voice Villagers Men’s Chorus. We’ll have a potpourri of 10 new songs never performed before by the Villagers.”

Some of these songs include “California Dreamin’” made famous by The Mamas and the Papas in 1965, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” by Duke Ellington and “The Whiffenpoof Song,” which is a traditional closing number of The Whiffenpoofs, an a cappella group at Yale University. It was later recorded by famous artists Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and even Elvis Presley.

“Part Two will be a program of specialty acts including guest artist, Elizabeth Sjoberg, who is a professional soprano and niece of Village resident Jeanne Mills. Elizabeth wowed the audiences at last year’s event,” Ron said.

Quartet Returns

Also on the program during Part Two will be the Knox Rocks return of the JKV Barbershop Quartet, featuring Villagers singers Rion Carswell, Jack McNamara, Director Ron Davis and Village CEO Gerry Stryker.

Part Two will also reprise one of the most popular “comedic acts,” ever to grace the Knox Rocks stage. It was during the 2011 Spring Scene when the Men’s Synchronized Swim Team first performed a parody of the same Olympic competition. In fact, there is a ( video available titled “John Knox Village Senior Synchronized Swimmers.”

_MG_2682c6x9Similar to the previous Knox Rocks concerts, this year’s Master of Ceremonies is Herschell Lewis, and the piano accompanist for all musical numbers is resident Anita Ferguson.

How the Villagers Began

David Haun, an original member of the Villagers, said the group got started simply to perform once at the The Village’s Annual Spring Scene talent show. “Basically the only expectation was to have fun with a group of guys for one performance at Spring Scene,” he said. “But, it was so much fun it grew and continued.”

“There is camaraderie in singing with the Villagers. It brings the men of The Village together who have an interest in music to have an opportunity to become involved and be a part of the group. It is a sense of belonging as men of The Village,” he added.

Tickets on Sale Soon!

The tickets are $25 per person. Our Rotary Club is selling them in the Dining Room March 31, April 1-2 or until they are sold out. Our Rotary Club meets every Wednesday night for dinner in the Lakeside Dining Room. The purpose is to promote fun, friendship and service.

Knox Rocks is one of three fundraising efforts organized by the Club each year. The other two benefit an international cause and an organization in the surrounding Pompano Beach community. For more information, visit ( Under the Around JKV section there is a listing for the JKV Rotary Club.

Rotary Club Promotes Fun, Friendships and Service

(Article appeared in August 2014 Village Voice)

IMG_3919-rIt was in 1905 when the first Rotary Club was formed when attorney Paul Harris called together a meeting of three business acquaintances in downtown Chicago. The other two gentlemen to join him were Gustave Loehr, a mining engineer and freemason, and Hiram Shorey, a tailor.

The name Rotary was chosen because initially the men rotated subsequent weekly club meetings at each other’s office.  It was later when it was decided to have meetings at a regular location.

This simple start of the Rotary Club quickly grew across the United States – the next four started in California (San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles) and in Seattle, WA. In 1910, the National Association of Rotary Clubs were formed.

A year later, the first meeting of the Rotary Club Dublin was held in Ireland, making it the first club established outside of North America.

Today, there are more than 34,200 clubs and over 1.2 million members worldwide. These Rotarians usually meet weekly for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it is a social event, as well as an opportunity to organize work toward individual club’s goals.

Since August of 2008, John Knox Village has had its own Rotary Club. The vision began with two residents – Hank Watson and Bob Simon, who unfortunately has passed away since then.

Hank had been a Rotarian for more than 40 years, and Bob was a former District Governor of Rotary International in South Florida. Today, the Rotary Club of JKV remains a strong organization with more than 50 members.

The Rotary Club meets every Wednesday evening in our Lakeside Dining. The dinners feature various programs that are entertaining and informative. It also is an opportunity to socialize, have fun and discuss ways to recruit new members.

Recently, The Village’s Rotary Club introduced its new leadership. The officers are as follows: Don DeJong, President; Boots Maurer, President/Elect; Mary MacLaren, Secretary; Paul Loree, Foundation; Bill Zeiher, Treasurer; David Haun, Sergeant at Arms; Nancy Johns, Immediate Past President; and Margo Lewis, Administrative Director.

“It’s a great opportunity to work with the Rotary members. I have made some great friends. We are always seeking ways to recruit new members and get them involved with the Club,” Don DeJong said.

There also are various Directors that provide their leadership help, including: Jane Wynn, Club Service; Nancy Johns, Community Service; Bud Kreh, International Service; Joyce Wood, Membership; Ron Davis, Music Director; Mary MacLaren, Newsletter (the monthly Village Crier); Mary Jane Graff, Programs; Betty Fifer, Hospitality Committee; and Margaret Castendyck, Sunshine Committee.

Helping plan the weekly programs, Mary Jane Graff is extremely excited about some of the guest speakers and their topics. In July, there was an antique car presentation, “The Photography of Gene Hyde,” resident Barbara Rowell and her “Underwater Around the World” SCUBA diving experiences and Rutchel Louis Coutzee with “Life in South Africa during Apartheid.”

The dinners also feature 50/50 drawings and Happy Dollars, which is an opportunity for members and guests to express reasons for being happy while contributing a dollar toward the Rotary Club.

In addition to the socializing, the Rotary Club of JKV is committed to three annual fundraisers – one for the local community, one benefitting an international cause and the third is the annual Knox Rocks concerts. Funds raised from the two-night event help our current Health Center and The Woodlands at John Knox Village, the new skilled nursing center that is under construction.

“In addition to recruiting efforts, one of our goals is to continue the success the Rotary Club has had with fundraising,” Don said. “Our members have come up with some brilliant ideas to help others in need.”

To become a member of the Rotary Club of JKV, an individual must be invited by a current member, attend a few meetings and be voted on by the Rotary’s Executive Board. There also are some membership dues.

For more information about the Rotary Club of John Knox Village, either contact Membership Chair Joyce Wood at (954) 782-2873 or visit the Club’s site at (


Rotary Club’s Knox Rocks 2014 a Major Success!

(Article appeared in June 2014 Village Voice)

_MG_3834b6x9The Rotary Club of John Knox Village was pleased to announced it raised another $10,000 from the annual two-night Knox Rocks concerts, which were on Thursday and Friday, April 24-25.

All the proceeds benefit our new health center, The Woodlands at John Knox Village. This state-of-the-art skilled nursing center will be the first of its kind in Florida to adopt The Green House model of care. The Village plans to break ground this summer on the project, which is expected to be complete and open by the end of 2015.

Since the inaugural Knox Rocks in 2011, The Rotary Club of JKV has contributed more than $40,000 toward our Health Center.

Both evenings of Knox Rocks 2014 welcomed a full crowd in our Village Centre Auditorium. The headline act again was our Villagers Men’s Chorus under the direction of resident Ron Davis.

The group, which now has 52 members, performed some of their well-known songs, including “There is Nutin’ Like a Dame” and “Aura Lee.” However, Knox Rocks showcases new songs by the Villagers, such as “Walk Like a Man” (Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons), “What a Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong), “I Can See Clearly Now” (Johnny Nash and later, Jimmy Cliff) and “Shut De Do,” which was written in 1982 by gospel singer-songwriter Randy Stonehill.

Between the opening and closing Villagers’ sessions, there were a number of fun specialty acts. Anita Ferguson took center stage with her “Gershwin Prelude” piano number. She joined fellow resident Norm Liedtke during “Ballin’ the Jack,” which also included a dance routine by his wife, Phyllis, and Murray Hunter.

Master of Ceremonies Herschell Lewis added his “Pighead Pete” act “Eefin.” Eephing is an Appalachian vocal technique that is often described as a kind of hiccupping and rhythmic wheeze that began in rural Tennessee more than 100 years ago.

Several of the Villagers, The Villager Harlequins, appeared in the comical “Black and White Mystery” – based on an optical illusion YouTube video. Also “The Half Tones,” JKV’s own barbershop quartet entertained the attendees. Finally, the guest performer was soprano singer Elizabeth Sjoberg. The niece of resident Jeanne Mills, Elizabeth sang “O Mio Babbino Caro” and “One More Kiss.”

The dates for next year’s Knox Rocks have been set for Thursday and Friday, April 23-24. More photos can be found on our Website ( and on Facebook.