The summer of Junior year, I flew to Seattle with two friends, and then we drove across the country back to Villanova (in a VW bug!), What a great experience! It was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean, Mount Rainier, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon... and days of corn (it seemed) in Kansas.
Whoa... was I ever really that thin?
One of my passions while at Villanova was singing. I was a member of the Villanova Singers, a men's chorus that in those days had over 80 members, and The Spires, a smaller group that features guitars and bass. The Spires performed at all the Villanova Singers concerts, plus sang at a number of other events. One of my most memorable: singing for Hubert Humphrey, at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, when he was campaigning for president. One of the songs we performed (sung to the tune of the Coke commercial): "I'd like to tell the world to vote, for Hubert Humphrey, He'll get our country back on track, and work for you and me..."
The Spires are still going strong today; see the web site for information on the current incarnation.
The most noted Spires member was Jim Croce, who had a good career and tragic death. One of the members of Manhattan Transfer was also a Spire.
Saint Thomas of Villanova Chapel. The chapel was built in 1883 in the Victorian Gothic style. A major restoration was completed in 1993, to my dismay. The modernization killed a bit of the Victorian Gothic spirit, I think.
I have fond memories from this chapel and the "guitar mass" days-- fine friends, great musicians, awesome voices...
"Love is but a song we sing
And fear's the way we die.
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry.
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why.
C'mon people now
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try to love one another right now"
One of the Villanova Singers... I can't remember, but I imagine this was taken around the end of October.
Now if there's a smile on my face
it's only there tryin' to fool the public
but when it comes down to foolin' you;
Now honey, that's quite a different subject
But don't let my glad expression
give you the wrong impression
Really I'm sad
I'm sadder than sad
You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad
Like a clown I pretend to be glad
Now there's some sad things known to man
but ain't too much sadder than
the tears of a clown
when there's no one around
So if a boring weekend is on the horizon, make a decision to do something radical... pile a bunch of friends into a bunch of cars, nab some tents, and drive to Niagara Falls.
One of my life's most amazing experiences happened on this camping trip. When I walked out of my tent at dawn the first morning, there were thousands of worms suspended above the ground, hanging from trees on silken threads. It was one of the weirdest, must surreal things I've ever seen (or walked through).
Dorm Life: Two people live in a space about the size of a walk-in closet. I was fortunate to have a roommate who was much more than tolerable.
Here, a bunch of my friends and I hang out in my dorm room, in what was then called "The New Dorm." It eventially was baptized "Stanford Hall."
I was always fascinated by this carved stone at the corner of Lancaster Pike and Route 320, just off the Villanova campus. And I've alway loved this photo I took of my friend Dave and his girlfriend. The stone is from a long-lost Villanova mansion.
I've Photo Shopped out the gas station and realtor signs, just to up the romance factor a bit. The quote on the stone is the first verse of a poem by Robert Herrick. The full poem:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.
Seated, left to right; Patti, Mary.
Two things are very wrong in this picture.
1. There is a female in our dorm room. This was a huge "thou shalt not" when I was at Villanova. Females were NEVER allowed in a guy's room, and vice versa. We obviously thought that was a very stupid rule.
2. The second very bad thing... two rocking chairs we "borrowed" from the porch of the convent at nearby Rosemont College. (We eventually returned them. Catholic guilt is a powerful force.)
Oh, we were bad!
Why are so many of my finest memories associated with an event at which a keg was present? The Villanova Singers offered many such events.
Here, brothers Stan & Dave, plus Ted, along with Ted's wonderful Bryn Mawr girl friend-- all very cool people.
Amazingly, I've just reconnected with Stan and Dave, after a lapse of 32 years; the wonders of the Internet never cease to boggle my mind.
July 2, 1972-- the morning after the first annual July Fools' Party. My great friend Ippi had this party at his parents' home in West Orange, NJ. This shot is from the backyard of this house (even though it looks like we are in some wonderful wilderness!).
This tradition has continued for decades, with just a few interruptions (The 29th July Fools' Party takes place in July 2005). Now there are several generations that participate. There is always a good number of Villanova Singers there, plus a lot of beer... so the music always gets better as the day goes on!
Periodically, the Villanova Singers would pile onto busses and hit the road. We typically sang at Catholic Girls' Colleges, in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburg, NYC, Boston... I have many fond memories of the concerts and the social aspects involved. A number of my singer friends are still married to those sweet women they met on the road!
One of my fondest tour memories: our director got "snowed out" of a concert. We were already in Chicago, but he got snowed in in Philadelphia. After a lot of "Now what the hell do we do" discussions, I ended up directing the choir during our concert. What a rush... moving your arms and hands, and having 80 powerful voices follow your motions.
There is a train station on the Villanova campus. In about 30 minutes, you can be in Philadelphia and enjoy all the cultural events the city offers. This is a program from a recital at the Academy of Music. A young tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, was rather impressive!
The Academy of music began its life as an opera house, then served as home to the Philadelphia Orchestra for many years. It now is home for the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
The Villanova Singers often paired with a girls' choir at a Catholic girls' college. Each choir would perform separately, and then they would pair for a few major numbers. Singing was always fun, and so were the social events after the concerts. Here, a scene from a "mixer" after a concert in Detroit.
Villanova offers a variety of contrary options. Philadelphia is a short trip. Valley Forge Park is nearby. Adjacent towns such as Wayne offer a variety of restaurants, coffee houses, and movie theaters.
Here, we commune with nature and each other. Communing sometimes works: the Immaculata girl and her Villanova guy have been married now for years.
By Al Dubin and Joseph Burke
The two men responsible for Villanova's Alma Mater have a pretty impressive songbook, including works such as I Only Have Eyes for You, We're in the Money, Forty-Second Street, Shuffle Off to Buffalo, the Academy Award winning Lullaby of Broadway, and the infamous Tip Toe Through the Tulips With Me.
The Villanova Alma Mater
When the twilight shadows gather
Out upon the Campus green,
When the blue and purple night
Comes stealing on the scene
Loyal heirs of Villanova
Sing a hymn of praise
To our dear old ALMA MATER
And our College days.
When we leave your shelt'ring walls,
We shall leave an echo ringing
Through your treasured halls
We will leave an echo ringing
In the silent night
While our memories are singing
Of the Blue and White
When the last big game is over
And the last roll call is heard
When the oldest pedagogue
Has had his final word
We shall come to ALMA MATER
In our dreams again
With prayer for Villanova
And a sweet amen.