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Letters: March 2013

Letters: March 2013

Caught sleeping

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the photo gallery, “Catching some z’s” which was posted in the February online-only edition.

The guy sleeping at the far right was from my class: Herb Hess, business major, class of 1960. A really nice person.

Natalie (Berkowsky) Hartz ’60

Fraternal songsters

Editor’s note: We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the carolers pictured in last issue’s “Looking back” were members of Theta Nu Sigma, the fraternity that was also featured in the “‘Tale-gating’ at Homecoming” article of that issue.

I know those guys! It’s the Theta Nu Sigma fraternity, most likely practicing for a Christmas presentation either at Green Hall or a Trenton-area school or hospital, or practicing for caroling on campus. I recognize Ron Albert ’62 (front row, second from left), Frank Nunziato ’62, MA ’67 (front row, white sweater and harmonica in hand; he’s also my big), Bill Seiple ’63 (seated with TSC sweatshirt), Ron Hilliard ’63 (second row, standing, wearing the TSC sweatshirt), and Bill Bange ’63 (back row, far right, in tan sweater). I would suspect that the photo was taken in 1959. TSC and Theta Nu Sigma were life-changing experiences that initiated friendships and brotherhood that became an intimate part of our lives throughout the years.

Mike Grecco ’64

016_16-SharpI’m second from the left in the first row. I was a member of the Caroliers from 1958–62 and director my senior year. The photo seems to be taken in one of the girls’ dorms (judging from the windows in the background) during one of the refreshment breaks. After many weeks of rehearsals, the Caroliers would venture out about 10:30 p.m. to tour all the dorms and serenade the residents. Each night’s route was planned well in advance so that residents in each dorm would be able to hear us at a different hour, and a different dorm was designated each night to admit us for cocoa and snacks. We would serenade through the stairwells of the chosen dorm, then continue on our way to complete our caroling. Each night, until the wee hours of the morning, for about 10 days before the break, we would carol. The best times were right after a snowfall, or better still, during one. It was great fun then and great memories now.

Ron Albert ’62

I am the singer on the left side, second row, holding a hat to my chest. The photo was taken, I think, in December 1960, probably in Bliss Hall. I recognize Frank Patterson ’63 (front row, far left, with the white collar), Ron Albert, Timothy Nolen ’63 (to Albert’s right), and Bill Seiple. Second row is Dave Cowperthwaite ’63, MA ’66 (to my right) and Ron Hilliard (to my left).

Eugene Giancamilli ’71
(but I should have been ’63)

I recognize Ron Albert (who played trumpet in the band under Professor Stan Austin; I played flute under our genius conductor), Tim “Tex” Nolen (for whom I had the pleasure of being piano accompanist under Professor Art Smith), Bill Seiple (a trombone player in the band), and Ron Hilliard. My husband, the late Ron Bennett ’60, MA ’69, was a Theta Nu brother, and I always stayed on campus (I was a commuter) to hear the caroling in the girls’ dorms. He was always proud of the fact that he was a brother and conducted Theta Nu’s Jazz Band in the ’60s. Back in those days, prior to getting engaged, girls were “pinned.” I proudly wore my Theta Nu pin prior to my engagement. Thanks for the nostalgic picture.

Liana Swiss ’62
(music major and Theta Nu groupie)

Every year, a group from the music department would get together and go from women’s dorm to dorm singing Christmas carols for the last 10 or so days before the Christmas break. Each night, a different dorm would host us and feed us. It was a beautiful memory I have of TSC. By the time Christmas break arrived, we were exhausted. This picture was taken in one of the dorms or in Phelps Hall about 1960. I recognize Frank Patterson, Ron Albert, Tim “Tex” Nolen, and Bill Seiple; David Cowperthwaite, Gene Giancamilli, Ron Hilliard, and Bill Bange.

Bill Seiple ’63

I think the photo was likely taken in 1961 or 1962. Pictured in the center is music major Mike Gallina ’65, MA ’69.

Jack Hyde ’67

Your shot of the carolers brought back memories. I took part in 1965 and 1966. First we would rehearse a time or two in Bray Hall; there were always more than a few music majors in the group. We then made about three to four stops a night, and only at girls’ dorms. This was only after the ladies were safely ensconced in their rooms at curfew—10 p.m.! At our last stop, the ladies invited us in for cookies and hot chocolate, although I seem to recall a surreptitious flask being passed around on occasion! Traditionally, our opening and closing song was always, “Here we come a-wassailing.” It sounds very much like a scene from Leave it to Beaver from this perspective, but it was a lot of fun at the time.

Les Szigethy ’69, MA ’71

Hearing the men caroling late at night with their voices growing louder as they approached your dorm and then fading as they moved on was one of my favorite memories of TCNJ (then TSC). Sometimes the dorm would invite them in for refreshments, which may be why they were in the Allen House Drawing Room. The College was a wonderful place to get an education, then and now. Sweet memories.

Mary Jane Hekker Hansen ’60

The full Theta Nu chorus was quite large and very popular, and used to put on a number of performances on and off campus. If I remember correctly, one of the Trenton radio stations had us cut a record, which they played on their local station.

Ron Goldblatt ’54

I believe this photo was taken about 1960ish. I was the conductor of the Carolers at this time. I’m Timothy (Tex) Nolen, the skinny one sitting in the center with the grey sweater and glasses. The glasses are gone and so is the sweater, (thank God) to be replaced by cowboy boots and hat. I live in Santa Fe, NM. From left to right, Frank Patterson, now deceased, my sax player in Tex and the Radicals, my jazz band. Next, I believe, is Ron Howard. I could be wrong about the last name. Don’t know the guy with the harmonica. Seated in the TSC sweatshirt, is Bill Seiple, trombone. Second row, starting from the left, is Davy Copperthwaite, trumpet, standing with his roomey, Gino Giancomilli, piano. The others are a loss to me, but all great guys, as I recall. We all joined the Carolers so we could serenade the girls’ dorms. It served me well in the Opera world and on the Broadway stage. Great time.

Timothy Nolen ’63

Bill Griggs ’47 recalls campus holiday traditions from yesteryear

The photo cap, “Sounds of Seasons Past,” brings back strong memories of my experiences singing Christmas carols with my fellow music major men on the campus in December 1941 and 1942. I believe the tradition had started in the mid-thirties when the Hillwood campus opened.

In early December ’41, the men of the music department gather in Kendall Hall at night to rehearse Christmas carols. We learn several carols in four-part harmony (TTBB) that had been arranged by Franklin Grapel ’33, a former music student.

The upperclassmen describe the tradition of caroling outside the girls’ dormitories late at night during the week before the Christmas break. It is the duty of the freshmen to copy Grapel’s arrangements, learn and save them to insure that the tradition will continue.

We practice under the direction of Dick Wagner ’42, a senior music student and the only senior man of the Class of 1942 remaining. The others have been drafted. On a cold December night, around 11 p.m., we bundle up in coats, scarf, and gloves. Quietly, we tramp over the frosty grass into the brisk night air. With a starlit sky above, we reach Norsworthy Hall and stand facing the windows in a semi-circle. A pitch pipe sounds “D”. Dick Wagner raises his hand and, on cue, 17 male voices sing out in unison, breaking the night silence with:

“Here we come a-caroling among the leaves so green,

Here we come a wandering so fairer to be seen.

Love and joy come to you

And to you your wassail, too,

And God Bless you and send you

A Happy New Year,

And God Bless you and send you

A Happy New Year”

(Old English Wassail Song, traditional)

Above us, one by one, lights appear in the windows. Here and there a lighted candle glows, and girls poke their faces out of the opened windows as they listen. “The First Noel” is followed by “O Come All Ye Faithful” and on and on until we end with “Silent Night” and move to another section of Norsworthy to continue the caroling for the appreciative girls. Next, we carol for Ely, Brewster, and Allen Houses.

It’s after midnight, time to drive to Mabel Bray’s house in Trenton. Miss Bray, head of the music department, has been tipped off that we are coming. Sometime near 1 a.m., we stand at her doorway and open with “Here We Come a Wandering.” The neighbors seem to enjoy the carols too. After several carols, we are invited inside for refreshments, sit by her fireside and enjoy talking with Miss Bray. A very sleepy gang of carolers finally returns to Bliss Hall and sleep somewhere around 3 a.m.

During the next four nights, we repeat the same schedule, except each night ends at the different faculty member’s house: Eleanor Sabary, piano department; Samuel Monroe, band and orchestra; Carol M. Pitts, concert choir; and Charles Rounds, Shakespeare, and Mabel Rounds, violin and strings.

In 1941, the caroling followed by one week the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The tradition continued in 1942 and then stopped as practically all STC men enlisted or were drafted into the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corp, or Navy Air Force. I enlisted in the Navy and served 34 months assigned to USS Kephart (DE 207/APD 61). After discharge from the Navy, I returned to the STC campus in March 1946, and along with many old classmates renewed the caroling tradition in December of that year.

All through the years, I’ve wondered how unfortunate we were not to have the tape recorder and other recording devices to use. The advent of portable recording devices in many forms came in the 1940s. But we missed it. I can hear the caroling faintly in my mind, and imagine how great it would have sounded if we had, back then, the audio-visual electronics of today—to hear and view the Theta Nu Sigma Chorus, STC Concert Choir, and the Christmas carolers of the 1940s.

Bill Griggs ‘47 (originally Class of ’45)

Title IX correction

You were incorrect in listing Joyce Cochrane as a gymnastics instructor. Phyllis Cooper coached the women’s team and ran the gymnastics classes, including a recreational Saturday program where many students got valuable teaching experience. Phyllis was very involved in the sport and had many successful seasons, which included state championships and regional qualifiers. She also produced many successful coaches and judges.

Jeanne Albert Devenney ’73

Faces from the past

Editor’s note: The photo of New Jersey State Normal School women’s basketball players from 1908, which appeared on the December issue’s Table of Contents page (and in an edited form on the cover), came to us from the College Archives. The photo did not list any of the players’ names, but two readers recognized familiar faces.

1908-photo_V1It’s fascinating to see this again. The girl at the lower left of the picture is, to my knowledge, Anna May Brasch, of Middletown, NJ. She is my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister, who graduated in 1908 from the Normal School on State Street. She was also my godmother. Anna May is the anchor for our family at TCNJ. My parents are alumni: Audrey (Bonello) Kuhlthau ’48 (Anna May’s niece) and John Kuhlthau ’50. I graduated in 1976 and received my master’s in 1980, and our four children, John ’11, Kaitlin ’12, Katherine’14, and Kristen ’15, are the legacy following in the family tradition! It is neat for me to see that picture again after so many years! Anna May’s hair always reminded me of a basketball! It was her copy of the 1908 Signal that I donated to TCNJ’s Archives in 2011. Thanks for sharing the beginning of Title IX!

Phil Kuhlthau ’76, MEd ’80

My grandmother, Mary Ellen Fitz Race, is pictured in the back row, second from the left. She was born in 1891, and would have graduated in 1909 or 1910. She later married a Miller.

Irene C. Miller ’78

Editor’s note: Several readers asked why the Dr. June Walker Softball Endowment Fund was not listed in the “12 in ’12” article in the December issue. The article highlighted a dozen endowed funds that were established and awarded for the first time in FY ’12. While the Walker Fund was established during FY ’12, it will be awarded for the first time this spring (FY ’13). We apologize for any confusion the article might have caused, and would like to assure everyone who donates to TCNJ that their generosity is greatly appreciated by the College.



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