Sunday Stealing: High school, music

an eclectic mix

Binghamton Central High School, NYThe Sunday Stealing for this week is nominally about high school.  There are a lot more questions about music and recreation, thank goodness.

To that end, I have a great fondness for this song, High School by MC5.

1. You are back in high school… what are you doing after school lately?

Usually, walking my friends home, which involves a circuitous route before I get home. It usually was the friends I walked home with in junior high.

2. Do you do homework early or late? Do you really study?

I did the homework I liked (geometry, trigonometry, history) early. The rest was at the last moment.

3a. Do you go to the games? Football? Basketball.. what is your favorite to attend?

I went to an occasional football game because, because as president of the student government, I felt a vague obligation to go. But the field was across town, so it was more of a pain to get there. Basketball was at my school, and I knew a more significant percentage of the players, including the center, David, who I went to kindergarten with.

b. Do you go to dances? Prom? (what’d you wear?)

I went to a few dances. And I attended two proms, I believe.


That’s me, left rear.

4. Lunch!  What are we having today?   What is your favorite lunch?

There is a yearbook picture of me on the General Organization (student government) page drinking one of those half-pint containers of chocolate milk with a straw. Beyond that, I have zero recollection of the cafeteria food.

Impossible to answer

5. What kind of music do you like the best?

I have over 2500 compact discs. It is an eclectic mix.

6. Does the radio play in your car, and if so, what station or kind of music plays?  Does music play in your home often?

Occasionally there’s music in the car, often dictated by my daughter, who plays music from her phone.

Music plays in my house often. When I am writing – like at this very moment, listening to Volume 3 of The Buddah Box, or I’m cleaning the house, or doing almost everything except eating, watching television, or sleeping, there’s music on.

7. What do you think of the music played in restaurants or stores? Do you find it relaxing or annoying?

It depends on the store. Restaurant music usually puts me to sleep.

It IS my life

8. What part has music played in your life? What kind of music was played at your wedding or at parties you have been to?

I have written about 6500 blog posts. Approximately one-third of them have mentioned music. I sang I Love You Truly at more than one wedding when I was still a boy soprano. Music from Mrs. Joseph started with fourth grade. My failed piano lessons. The MAZET singers at church. The Green Family Singers. Sitting in the stairwell singing with Candid Yam. Church choir as an adult.

I’ve been to lots of concerts, especially before I got married.

Back in 2007, I wrote a post about the rules of playing music. This is to say that if you have north of 2500 CDs, you ought to play most of them at least annually. Now 2500/365 is 6.82, and I don’t always play seven albums a day. But absent meetings and other distractions, I come close on many days.

What kind of music at parties? Again, eclectic.

Green Acres: not the place to be

9. Is the farm for you? How about a ranch, a village or a city? Which is your choice and why?

I’m a city kid. Small cities are fine. I like to walk or bus to the store and to the movies.

10. A short auto trip for the weekend with friends or a long vacation? Where would you go?

I’ve taken weeklong vacations and weekend trips. My wife wants to go to all of the 252 towns in Vermont; they established a new town recently.

11. The quiet life at home with a cuppa and TV or a good book or a night out with friends? Which sounds good today?

I hardly go out much at night. My DVR is about 47% full, so I suppose I should watch or delete some programs.

12. You have a choice of dinner and a movie or a game of cards and snacks at the neighbors’. Where are you going tonight?

I have a hearts game almost every year. But if COVID would ever go away – high transmission in Albany County AGAIN this week – I’d opt for a movie OR dinner, but probably not both in the same evening.

Friendly neighborhood…

13. Is there a hero or character on TV, in a book or a movie .. or even in all three that you especially like? What do you find attractive about them?

I always related to Spider-Man. Or, more likely, Peter Parker, who felt misunderstood. I edited an issue of a magazine about Spider-Man.

14.  Was there a book that was better in movie form? How about a movie you thought didn’t live up to the book?

Admitting I never got through the book, The Bridges of Madison County was a better movie. Catch-22 was the better book; there are lots more of those examples.

15. When you choose a book, program, or movie, which subject is it most likely to be: science fiction, mystery, romance, comedy, documentary, etc.?     What draws you to a particular book or movie?

Books/movies: history, politics. Film: Documentary. A good review helps in any case because there are lots of books, many movies, and more new television programming each year than anyone could ever watch.


By request, a Facebook meme

Chuck Taylor

bulldogBy request, one of those Facebook memes about high school. “Think about your SENIOR year in High School…if you can remember that long ago!! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be! It only takes 5 minutes, do it!!!” Or don’t. I’m not all that invested.

Incidentally, one of my friends suggested that people ought not to participate in such memes. Nefarious folks might use your information to figure out your password. I think this is a legitimate concern. So for all you bad actors out there: the password for everything I use is Binghamton37. So now you don’t have to look for it. You’re welcome.

1. Did you know your current love? Well, no.
2. Type of car? No idea. I don’t even know what my parents were driving at the time. I have no automotive memory.
3. What kind of job did you have? At some point, I was a page at the local library for seven months.
4. Where did you live? Binghamton, NY, the Parlor City.
5. Were you popular? I suppose so. I was elected president of the student government. But I was never a class notable. I was popular enough among the antiwar crowd, and the music/theater people, I guess.

Thomas J. Clune, choir director

6. Were you in choir or band? Choir and male glee club! I loved glee club. And there are choir songs I can still recall.
7. Ever get suspended? Not exactly. It was more of a severe dressing down.
8. If you could, would you go back? Oh, God, no.
9. Still talk to the person that you went to prom with? Yes, at least once a year.
10. Did you skip school? Not unless it was to go to an antiwar demonstration.


11. Go to all the football games? Some of the home games.
12. Favorite subject? History. It had been math before that year. Intro to Calculus confounded me.
13. Do you still have your yearbook? Yes, though I never got a senior picture.
14. Did you follow your career path? I thought I’d be a lawyer, so no.
15. Do you still have your high school ring? Never bought one.

16. Who was your favorite teacher? Helen Foley, public speaking and theater maven, and mentor to Rod Serling.
17. What was your favorite style? Nerd, before it was cool.
18. Favorite Shoes? Chuck Taylors. Don’t know that I could wear them to school, though.
19. Favorite food? Lasagna.
20. Favorite band? By the time I graduated, the Beatles had broken up and Diana Ross had left the Supremes. Maybe The Rascals?

21. High school hairstyle? I never could do a ‘fro.
22. What favorite perfume? n/a
23. How old when you graduated? I was 17, going on 18.
24. Who do you think will play along and fill this out? I don’t even ask.
25. What high school did you attend? Binghamton Central, which hasn’t existed as an entity since 1982.


Beauty and the Beast; Sweet Charity

I should note that in Beauty and the Beast, Belle was played by Alexa, my niece – my BIL’s daughter.

Beauty and the BeastMy family saw two high school musicals the last weekend in March, Beauty and the Beast at Catskill HS and Sweet Charity at Albany HS. They both were excellent, so I’ll be rooting for both schools in a competition.

“The School of Performing Arts at Proctors announces the 3rd Annual HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARDS for New York’s Capital Region in partnership with The Broadway League. Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards…”

Our family attended the awards event last year. Caitlin Van Loan was nominated as best supporting actress for playing Marion the Librarian’s mom in Catskill’s The Music Man; she was excellent this year as Mrs. Potts.

Annabelle Duffy WON as best actress in AHS’ Hairspray last year, and got to represent “the Capital Region at The National High School Musical Theatre Awards competition in New York City” last June. She played Charity this year. Albany also won three other awards in 2018, including best choreography.

I should note that in Beauty and the Beast, Belle was played by Alexa, my niece – my BIL’s daughter. She’s been in the CHS productions for seven years – and I believe I’ve seen them all – but this is her first lead. My unbiased opinion is that she was very good.

So was the guy playing the Beast, Magnus Bush; Alexa and Magnus are pictured. The performers playing Lumiere, Gaston, Cogsworth, Madame Bouche and many others were also strong. There are far more decent male singers in the CHS productions than there were even three or four years.

While the Albany HS productions have been solid for a while, there has been a real emphasis on its social relevance in recent years. So they’ve taken the historically sexist play, written by Neil Simon, and attempted to give it a feminist spin.

I was unfamiliar with the story of Sweet Charity, though I knew three songs: Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now, and the faux religious The Rhythm of Life.

In any case, we’re making plans to attend the High School Musical Theatre Awards ceremony on May 11 at 7 p.m. at Proctors.

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