Preserved Stories Blog


MCHS 2015 organizing committee met in Kitchener on June 17, 2015

We were all set to take a photo of (left to right) Gina (Davis) Cayer, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge, and Scott Munro in the back seat of Lynn's Mustang, but then we discovered a baby car seat was already occupying the seat! Jaan Pill photo

We were all set to take a photo of (left to right) Gina (Davis) Cayer, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge, and Scott Munro in the back seat of Lynn’s Mustang, but then we discovered a baby car seat was already occupying the seat! Jaan Pill photo

The MCHS 2015 organizing committee met at the Boston Pizza restaurant at 190 Gateway Park Drive in Kitchener, Ontario on June 17, 2015.

The next meeting is in St. Williams, Ontario at 11:30 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

The purpose of the current post is to share some highlights from the meeting. The following notes are preliminary and are subject to correction.

At this Reunion, each person who attends is the star of the show. Every step in our planning, of the Reunion, has been dedicated to ensuring that this is the case. Each of us is equally important. There is no high or low among us.

Registration Cut-Off Date – for people paying by cheque sent to Diana Redden in Vancouver – is October 1, 2015

The last day to register by sending in a cheque is October 1, 2015.

After that, people will still need to send in a message – to the Database Team – providing their contact details and indicating they plan to register. The Database Team must be informed by Monday, October 12, 2015, if you are planning to pay at the door.

The payment, in such a circumstance, will be in cash, at the door. After October 1, 2015, the payment will be in cash at the registration desk, on the day of the event. We are not able to accept cheques, debit cards, or Visa.

If you have not registered in time, however, you will not be able to attend the Reunion, in the event you turn up at the door.

Please note carefully: Old Mill Toronto needs to know the exact number of Attendees THREE BUSINESS DAYS prior to the October 17, 2015 date of the MCHS 2015 Reunion.

Please keep this point in mind, if you plan to register at the last moment!

Cut-Off Date for Special Reunion Accommodation Rates is September 17, 2015

The cut-off dates for Special Reunion Accommodation Rates at Old Mill Toronto and Stay Inn is September 17, 2015.

We will set aside $106 per table for wine and sparkling water

We will provide a choice of red wine, white wine, and sparkling water at each table provided that we reach the number of Attendees that will enable us to include this expenditure in the Reunion budget. The current attendance projections indicate that we will reach the required number of Attendees.

We have about 40 people registered, and 15 people who have indicated they will be registering for sure. Our basic break-even point, in terms of the Budget, is 62 people. Thus it appears, with many thanks to our Budget Person, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge, that the Reunion has all of its basic expenditures covered. Whatever money is left over in the budget will be distributed as prizes.

The maximum attendance that our meeting room at Old Mill Toronto can accommodate is 200 people.

Scope of attendance

We have had a request from a 1980s MCHS grad, who would like to know if she can attend the Reunion. The answer is Yes. A person who attended MCHS in the late 1970s or in the 1980s is eligible to attend. They would be attending as a friend of the 1960s cohort of MCHS students.

As well, if you attended one of the feeder elementary schools, that MCHS students would have attended, but for whatever reason you did not attend Malcolm Campbell High School, you are eligible to attend the MCHS 2015 Reunion as well – as a friend of the 1960s cohort of MCHS students. The feeder schools include schools such as Ahuntsic, Cartierville, Morison, Laurentide, and Parkdale, among other feeder elementary schools.

Soft drinks for designated drivers

As well, provided we have the required Attendee numbers in place, we will be able to cover the cost of free soft drinks for our Designated Drivers.

Agenda – Time slots for each event at the reunion

6:00 pmStart. We will start on time. We will not wait for late arrivals to turn up. Jaan Pill will say a few words of introduction in his role as ‘The Prez.” (Jaan was President of the Student Council in the 1962-63 school year.)

Business Card Game

6:30 pmBusiness Card Game. We will explain how the game works – the winner gets a Prize! – in a subsequent post.

If I understand correctly – I will need to check the audio recording of the meeting – Scott Munro in his role as MCHS Bagpiper will perform, after which Lynn (Hennebury) Legge will say a few words. Exactly when, and in what context this will take place, I do not recall, which is why I will need to check the audio record of the meeting.

Before Dinner, Scott Munro will perform ‘Amazing Grace’ on the Bagpipes.

Buffet Dinner

7:30 pmBuffet Dinner

8:30 pmSpeeches. We have set aside  30 minutes total time to for the Alumni speeches, with each person having a maximum speaking time of five minutes. If each person has five minutes, that means there are six speakers. One grad has already indicated he wishes to speak. That means there are five speakers yet to be chosen.

Speakers are invited to contact Jaan Pill at jpill@preservedstories and indicate that they wish to speak. We will select five speakers, aside from one already chosen; the content of each speaker will be pre-screened.

In choosing speakers, we will seek to ensure that all of the graduation eras – such as Early 1960s, Late 1960s, Early 1970s, and Mid-1970s – are represented.

We may have a separate time for five-minute speeches by former MCHS Teachers.

Speeches

Update:

We have had some initial discussions to date regarding people who want to share stories at the Reunion, with the assembled Alumni. We’ve decided (at any rate, as of July 28, 2015) that we’re not going to have a series of speeches at the event. Just one Alumnus (at this point, at his request) is scheduled to speak for five minutes. Any teachers who turn up, who would like to speak, is free to speak. Aside from that, we do not have any speeches planned, although varied people from the organizing team will say a few words related to the proceedings. By way of example, Lynn (Hennebury) Legge will outline how the ice-breaker at the start of the event, the Business Card Game, will proceed.

Our aim is to present a Reunion where every Attendee is the star of the show. We are interested in getting together, catching up on news mainly via conversations, on a person-to-person basis.

It will be a great idea to share photos from the Reunion, after and during the event. In that regard, in the event you DO NOT WISH to have your photo online, please inform Jaan Pill before or during the event, so that we can let everybody know what your preferences are, in that regard.

[End of update, which supersedes the text that follows immediately below; please refer as well to the Comments at the end of the post; the Comments have influenced our thinking about these matters.]

In the original version of this report, we wrote as follows:

By way of content, the speeches will serve the purpose of addressing topics in a manner that people at the event will feel comfortable, and at ease, in hearing. This is not the setting for a ‘roast’ or anything along such lines.

The nature of what we might describe as a kind of Storytelling Panel is a topic to which we have devoted considerable time and thought, by way of research and ongoing discussions with a wide range of Alumni who are familiar with storytelling practices in a wide range of settings and media, including radio.

As we have noted, we may have a separate time for five-minute speeches by former Teachers. Each MCHS Teacher, who is attending the Reunion, is invited to speak for five minutes, if they wish.

Each speaker, with the exception of MCHS Teachers who are speaking, will be pre-screened with regard to the content of their remarks. Speakers will not be permitted to go beyond the allocated speaking time of five minutes each.

The conversations that Alumni will be having, one to one, throughout the evening, are also a key venue for Storytelling, and for Catching Up on the News.

Spot Dance and Twist

9:00 pmDance. Our DJ is James McDonough of Able Entertainment, who has mentioned he has worked as a DJ at Old Mill Toronto in the past. We owe thanks to Gina (Davis) Cayer for the extensive work that she has done in researching potential DJs, and making all of the arrangements required for us to make the final choice.

Gina is also working on the development of the list of tunes that will be played (very quietly, in the background, so people can have conversations) during the Dinner Buffet, and (not so quietly!) during the Dance.

If you have suggestions for music from the 1950, 1960s, and 1970s please send an email to Jaan Pill at jpill@preservedstories.com or you can, of course, contact Gina directly if you are in touch with her, as many people are.

James McDonough has emphasized that the music on the list for the Dance portion of the evening should be “Music You Can Dance To,” as distinguished from “Music That is Great to Just Listen To.”

Lynn (Hennebury) Legge will, as I understand – again, I stand to be corrected; please correct me at any time, on any matter – explain what The Stroll is, and dancers will be invited to join The Stroll. [Update: See YouTube video of The Stroll – February 1958, at the link at the end of this post.]

We will not have a Limbo Dance Competition. Those days are past!

We will also provide Amazing Prizes for the Spot Dance and for The Twist contest.

If you have not been practising The Twist for some years – the Dance That was banned at Malcolm Campbell High School – we would suggest that now is a good time to start practising.

Quiet places to chat

For Alumni who wish to find a quiet place to chat, by way of catching up on the past 40 or 50 or more years, during all or part of the Dance portion of the Reunion, there are quiet places in the hallways outside the meeting room.

Alumni can, in fact, meet in hallways anywhere at Old Mill Toronto. If the weather is still good, and chairs are still outside at the patios in the courtyard areas of Old Mill, Alumni can also hang out there and chat. The pub at Old Mill Toronto will also be open, as I recall.

12:30 pmLast Call. Last Call for what? I will check the audio recording, or my notes.

1:00 pmMusic is done and our rental of the room is done as well.

Additional ways to get more people to attend

We spent some time on this topic. We are doing well at reaching out to potential Attendees and have several new leads to follow up, by way of locating core people in various networks of Alumni.

We owe many thanks to everyone, among all of the Alumni, who have been hard at work reaching out to their own circle of contacts.

Your efforts on behalf of the Reunion are much, much appreciated!

These are notes that serve as highlights of key points from today’s meeting, of the organizing committee, in Kitchener, Ontario.

Conversations with our teachers

We have recently added a page to the MCHS 2015 website.

The page is entitled Conversations with our Teachers.

As the page notes, Graeme Decarie has indicated he is planning to attend. Soryl Shulman Rosenberg has also told us by email that she is planning to attend.

 The Twist – Chubby Checker

We owe thanks to Gina (Davis) Cayer for sharing with us the link to the following YouTube video:

The Twist – Chubby Checker

The Original Stroll – February 1958

Again, our thanks to Gina for the link:

The Original Stroll – February 1958

Play it back on a good speaker system

To get the full power of the music, a good pair of earphones, or a high-end speaker system, is highly recommended. We are pleased to mention that our DJ, for the Reunion, has the latest electronic equipment – an absolute necessity for such an occasion. As well, the acoustics in our meeting room are of the highest quality; it’s the kind of detail that we checked out months ago, as part of our research related to the MCHS 2015 Reunion.

 

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10 Responses to MCHS 2015 organizing committee met in Kitchener on June 17, 2015

  1. Bill Jacobson says:

    I am terribly disappointed and feel you are taking the same approach with pre screened speeches that you did with the ill-advised and ultimately discontinued dress code some months back We are all adults and do not need anybody, whatever their intentions, to constrain , in any manner what attendees would like to say The way things are going, I am almost expecting an attendee manual for participants to be distributed. I can get that from HR, and do not need that from my colleagues and former students. I had hoped this would be an informal opportunity to reconnect with old friends I have not seen in many years. While I appreciate your desire to ensure a well run function, I can only encourage to to lighten up somewhat. I had really hoped to attend, but I am now having second thoughts. I will keep an eye on how things evolve and make my decision later. Nonetheless, thanks tto the committees for their hard work and good intentions.

  2. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    We appreciate your comments. Comments from all sources are of interest to us.

  3. Bill Jacobson says:

    Is that the totality of your response Jaan? No response to the issues raised? No intent to respond substantively? No discussion within the organizing committee? No agreement or disagreement?

    Simply an acknowledgement?

    • Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

      By way of following up on your previous comments, Bill, I’m pleased to say that the organizing committee met in St. Williams, Ontario, near the shore of Lake Erie, on July 28, 2015. I will write a report on the meeting. In the meantime, with reference to the concept of a Storytelling Panel at the October 17, 2015 Reunion, we have decided there will be no Storytelling Panel. One person, who requested an opportunity to talk about his career, will speak for five minutes. The rest of the storytelling will be via the Business Card Game at the start of the Reunion, and the conversations that Alumni will have, person to person, at the time of the Dinner Buffet and all through the evening.

      With regard to how the organizing committee has addressed varied topics, in the past as now, please know that we are volunteers; we seek to arrive at solutions that help to move the Reunion project along, as best we can. Whatever conclusions people may have, regarding our work, are of interest. How my own work may or may not be characterized is of interest for me, to know about, and is a matter for each observer to decide.

  4. Ted Speevak says:

    A possible solution is to eliminate the 5 minute speeches altogether.

    Would attendees rather be subjected to a slew of 5 minutes speeches or have more time for interaction?

    Perhaps you could survey the individuals in the database on this matter?

    • Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

      You make good points, Ted, as Bill has done (above). As I’ve noted in the response to Bill, the organizing committee met in St. Williams on July 28, 2015. I will write a report on the meeting. In the meantime, we have decided there will be no Storytelling Panel at the Reunion. One person, who requested an opportunity to talk about his career, will speak for five minutes.

      The rest of the storytelling will be via the Business Card Game at the start of the Reunion, and the conversations that Alumni will have, person to person, at the time of the Dinner Buffet and all through the evening.

  5. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    The key decisions about such matters are made by the organizing committee at our face to face meetings. We will bring forward the suggestions that have been made, by Bill Jacobson and Ted Speevak.

  6. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    Graeme Decarie has recently brought me up to date on the steps that led to the banning of the Twist at MCHS. He comments:

    “Perhaps I can take this opportunity to reveal a long-hidden truth. It’s about the dance in 1963, I think, for which I banned the twist. It caused a lot of controversy, and lots of speculation than I did to satisfy and overheated sense of morality.

    “Here’s the true story.

    “I have never liked pop music, and have never been much of a dancer.

    “Consequently, when students asked me (constantly) if I was going to ban the Twist, I didn’t even know that they were talking about.

    “But every day, students would bug me about it. Then, one questioner, even before I answered, said, ‘You can’t ban it. It’s been on the Ed Sullivan Show.’

    “And I thought..;.. the hell with that. Ed Sullivan does not set the standards for MCHS dances. I do. And that’s when I said it was banned.”

  7. Ted Speevak says:

    Jaan:

    Regarding the “5 Minute Speeches”, there was an exchange of posts between Bill Jacobson, you & I.

    Your last note (June 20/2015) on the subject stated:

    “The key decisions about such matters are made by the organizing committee at our face to face meetings. We will bring forward the suggestions that have been made, by Bill Jacobson and Ted Speevak.

    Since then there was another meeting of the organizing committee in July. What was decided @ that meeting?

    Many Thanks;
    – TS

  8. Jaan Pill Jaan Pill says:

    Ted:

    We decided at the meeting that we will not have a series of five-minute speeches. There is one MCHS grad who had contacted us earlier, who wants to speak for five minutes about his career. He will have that opportunity. If a teacher from MCHS wants to say a few words, we will invite that person to say a few words. Aside from that, we’re not going to have a series of five-minute speeches.

    Our focus, by way of storytelling, will be on the person-to-person conversations that occur when people mix and mingle during the Humber Buffet Dinner.

    We have updated the MCHS 2015 website, regarding this topic.

    Comments from you and from Bill Jacobson were closely taken into account, when we had the face-to-face meeting of the organizing committee on July 28, 2015 at St. Williams, Ontario.

    Regarding Bill’s comments about the previous ‘dress code’ controversy, I feel it’s unfortunate that the organizing committee’s attempt to provide a helpful answer to an earlier inquiry, regarding what would be suitable for people to wear, at the reunion, would give rise to a particular view of where the organizing committee is coming from.

    However, I for one am aware that it’s easy for a particular impression – about myself, by way of example – to develop, and that’s just a part of life. I take responsibility for the fact that I could have communicated the message better, with regard to the what-to-wear discussion. A person learns to live with the fact that some things that we do, as organizers, meet with a positive response, and some do not. One learns from such experiences.

    We will be delighted if both Ted and Bill, and as many other grads as possible, do have the opportunity to attend the reunion. All MCHS Alumni have so much to offer, to ensure that we have the best get-together that is possible, for those of us who remember MCHS from half a century ago, give or take a few years. Every person who attends is the star of the show. That’s a consistent theme that has been emerging, in all of the organizing meetings that we’ve had to date.

    Best,

    Jaan

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