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.

The Half Tones Sing at Barbershop

The Half Tones Sing at Barbershop

On Saturday, our Barbershop Quartet, The Half Tones – Rion Carswell, Gerry Stryker (President/CEO), Ron Davis and Jack…

Posted by John Knox Village on Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Posted by The Barber Club Barbershop on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Villagers Perform for Retired Educators

Villagers Perform for Retired Educators

These fine gentlemen are terrific singers and great ambassadors for John Knox Village!

Posted by John Knox Village on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Villagers Men’s Chorus Honor Ron Davis

Villagers Men’s Chorus Honor Ron Davis

Since 2008, John Knox Village resident Ron Davis has worked hard to create and direct our 50+ member Villagers Men's…

Posted by John Knox Village on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Villagers Newsletter 9.4.2015


Welcome to your second weekly newsletter for the 2015-16 season. I feel that we got off to a great start last week, and I am looking forward to an even smoother rehearsal next week.

Our next rehearsal will be on Tuesday, September 8. BASSES & BARITONES please come at 3:30 p.m. TENORS come at 4:30 p.m. You should bring copies of the following music, which are the same four songs from last week, plus two new ones:


After September 8, we will not rehearse again until Thursday, September 24, when I am back from Cleveland. I hope to know the exact time of that rehearsal soon.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on the 8th.

– Chris Toth, Director
(216) 406-0228


Men’s Chorus Continues with New Director

Men’s Chorus Continues with New Director

Chris Toth brings his music talents to John Knox Village.

Chris TothHe is hanging up his cleats, or in this case, his white gloves, black vest and incredible dedication. Recently, John Knox Village resident Ron Davis announced he was retiring from his post as Director of our highly popular Villagers Men’s Chorus.

Since its inaugural season in 2008, with the first performance at John Knox Village’s Annual Spring Scene that year, the Lakeside villa resident has helped the group grow from 38 members to now more than 50 residents.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but my health was more important,” Ron said. “The extra time I have will allow me to explore other interests and spend more time with my family and friends.”

The Villagers Men’s Chorus performs at John Knox Village and throughout the area at local venues that appeal to seniors who would consider moving to our community. These locations have included the Galleria Mall, Annual Broward Senior Idol, places of worship, Broward Retired Educators Association functions and for other organizations both off campus and visiting John Knox Village.

Ron has taught our men to sing nearly 100 different songs. Weekly rehearsals give them a chance to socialize and practice new material, which usually is featured at the Annual Knox Rocks concerts in April.

Organized by the Rotary Club of John Knox Village, the two-night event raises funds (about $10,000 each year since 2011) for our new Health Center, The Woodlands at John Knox Village.

When asked what he will miss most, Ron said, “I will miss the fellowship and friendship and the joy of singing. They are truly fine gentlemen.”

In addition to Ron retiring, The Villagers Men’s Chorus Accompanist, resident Anita Ferguson, had to stop playing for the group.

With Ron’s announcement came the immediate questions, “What is the future of The Villagers Men’s Chorus?” and “Who would take over for Ron and Anita?”

John Knox Village is honored to announce that Chris Toth, a highly respected freelance musician in Fort Lauderdale, is the new Director. In addition, resident Elaine McNamara, who recently became the Director of The Note-Ables Ladies’ Chorus, will be the Accompanist.

From the Cleveland, Ohio area, Chris earned a Bachelor of Music and an Artist Diploma from The Cleveland Institute of Music. Before moving to Florida, he worked for Brecksville United Methodist Church, Fairmount Temple, St. John Nepomucene Church, The Temple-Tifereth Israel, St. Angela Merici Church, MasterSingers and The Cleveland Messiah Chorus.

Beside excellent vocals, Chris specializes in keyboard instruments – organ, piano, synthesizer and harpsichord. For more information about him, visit his Website at (

“I am anxious to work with this large enthusiastic group of men who share a passion for entertaining others,” he said. “I also hope to have The Villagers Men’s Chorus get out and be seen and heard in some new places.”

In fact, John Knox Village encourages outside organizations to book the group for performances. For more information, please contact the Public Relations Department at (954) 784-4726 or e-mail (

Letter to The Villagers Men’s Chorus

Letter to The Villagers Men’s Chorus

Dear Gentlemen:

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


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