News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Program Report: Christmas 2017 DSA Chorus


This is all very subjective, of course, but congratulations to Program Chair Steed Rollins, Mary Casey of DPS, and the administration and instructors from the Durham School of the Arts, for one of the best Christmas programs I can remember.

In many years the real entertainment is watching much younger children perform…their expressions, interactions with each other and often the earnestness they bring to the performances, is the source of many broad grins and happy smiles. The younger kids remind us that so much of Christmas is about happy children.

This year, however, the chorus from the School of the Arts was older, more talented, more confident, more polished and the pieces more challenging. They did a fantastic job of showcasing the Choral program at the school which serves approximately 600 students. The tone is much more of a reminder that the spirit of the celebration is all about the message of peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Although, there were some lighter moments in the Coral program including the Hawaiian Mele Kalikimaka, they finished with one of my favorites, Carol of the Bells.

Nevertheless, the highlight of the show was a piano and cello performance of O Come, O Come Emmanuel by students Ben Kearsley on the piano and Peter Sumner on the cello. This brought the house to its feet for a standing ovation.

It also brought me to tears. I happened to be sitting at a table with Nick Malinowski, a soon to be member of the club and new Kidznotes Executive Director, and Rotarian Lucia Powe, a great supporter of Kidznotes and Nick’s sponsor. Several years ago, I was at the head table (when we had one) when former member and Kidznotes director Katie Wyatt played a piece on her viola that also brought me to tears in front of the whole audience. It was the first time I realized a well-played string instrument could work such magic.

We should also note that the club chorus entertained the club with two Christmas pieces before the School of the Arts performed. However, this was hardly a warmup act.  In my humble opinion, this was the best performance I’ve ever heard from them. The quality of the performance should be no surprise since the group is sprinkled with some serious musical talent including co-founder and former conductor of the Durham Symphony, Vince Simonetti, who led the group.

The whole program received a much deserved and enthusiastic standing ovation at the end, which had to make new Superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga and DSA Principal David Hawks, who were in attendance, very proud.

Also in attendance were choral program directors Amy Davis, Sean Grier and Kellen Moss, as well as piano teacher Art Davis and strings teacher Jody Crafford.

If you want to hear or learn more about the choral program at DSA, they have their own website at although it doesn’t look like it has been updated in a while.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

Photos by Tom Bagby


Salvation Army Bell Ringing Project


                        50 Years of Rotary Bell Ringing

Thanks to the 63 members who participated in the Salvation Army Bell Ringing Project, Dec. 12 – 16, at Hope Valley Commons Wal-mart.
A special thanks to those who worked two or more shifts. We started this project in 1967.  Can you imagine how many bells we have rung in 50 years? This year we also had several musical groups:  Meg Solera and Vince Simonetti, Sherry DeVries and husband Mykola, and Deanna Labriola’s young daughter and friend who enjoyed singing Jingle Bells.

New Member: Teri Canada

We welcome back to our membership architect Teri Canada. Teri was inducted by Membership Committee member Shannon Leskin and was sponsored by Past President Arthur Rogers. That’s Arthur in the background as Teri flashes her Wolfpack loyalties. Here in her own words is a little bit about Teri’s background. We’re glad to have you back Teri. Please welcome Teri and introduce yourself if you haven’t met her before.

I am an Architect who has been living and working in Durham for the past 20+ years.  I moved to Durham after graduating from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. I previously worked for Isley Hawkins, MHA Works and The Freelon Group (now Perkins+Will).  I have been married for almost 18 years to my husband, Will Gilbert, and we have a 9 year old daughter named Morgan.  I recently started a new architectural firm, EVOKE Studio Architecture, along with two partners, Billy Askey and Edwin Harris.  We have been in business for over a year and are located in downtown Durham at 401 Foster Street.

I was an active Rotarian from 2006 until 2009+, but my activity dropped in Rotary due to my work travel schedule.  I am returning to Rotary because this organization has an excellent record of service that continues to significantly impact local, national and international communities.  I also remember the encouragement and support that I received from my fellow Rotarians when I previously served.  Many of those members kept in touch with me after I left the organization and they are also a key reason for my return.

I am happy to be given a second chance to serve as a Rotarian.  I look forward to working with my fellow Rotarians to accomplish great things in the coming year.

Thank you,

We Honor Mayor Bill Bell

The Rotary Club of Durham took the unusual step of paying tribute to long time County Commissioner and Mayor Bill Bell in a ceremony at the December 11th meeting. President Seth Jernigan made the introductions at the beginning of the ceremony by introducing Mayor Bell and other Rotarians that have served with him in Durham. Pictured above are Mayor Bell, Councilman Charlie Reese, City Manager Tom Bonfield, County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow, Councilwomen Cora Cole-McFadden, former Councilman and current State Senator, Mike Woodard, President Seth, Dave Ross, who was a neighbor of Mayor Bell when he moved to Durham with IBM in the early 70’s and Past President and former County Commissioner MaryAnn Black.

Mike Woodard delivered the tribute for the club.  His words are below:

In 2007 when I was on the City Council, I got an email from a resident who took us to task, “Stop what you’re doing. There is too much going on in Durham.”

Remember, this was a year before DPAC opened. I would love to talk with her now.

In the early 70s, when a young IBM engineer got involved in his neighborhood, no one could have predicted what Durham would become over the next 45 years—and what that young engineer would become.

No one—including that young engineer himself.

[Read more…]

Program Report: Fred Annand – The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina: A Bird’s Eye View of Conservation

Lynn Richardson, a lifelong member of the Nature Conservancy, introduced Fred Annand who is Director of Conservation Resources for this non-profit organization whose mission is to “protect the lands and waters on which all life depends.”  Lynn pointed out that coincidentally Rotary International has begun taking a keen interest in environmental issues.  Fred has worked for thirty-seven years with the Nature Conservancy in North Carolina.

Founded in the late 1940’s in the United States and with chapters in all fifty states, the Nature Conservancy has evolved into a global organization with more than a million members and with projects in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands and elsewhere.  Fred points out that the work of the Conservancy has been grounded in science with about 600 current staff members bringing scientific backgrounds to their work.

In North Carolina, some 700,000 acres are protected by the Nature Conservancy working with individuals, corporations such as the giant landowner Georgia-Pacific and federal agencies including the Department of Defense.

[Read more…]

Rotary Minute: Arthur Rogers – Hosting a Rotary Peace Fellow

Good afternoon Rotarians!

The holiday season became even more special for my family 11 years ago when we met Mayer Ngomesia. That year, I signed on to be host counselor for Mayer, a Rotary Peace Fellow from Cameroon. Though he only lived with us for a week or so before moving into his own apartment, he quickly became part of the family. Mayer made it a point to spend a lot of time at our house the two years he was at Duke getting his master’s degree. And he spent a decade of Christmases with us! Even after leaving Duke and Durham, Mayer would fly home, as he called our house, to be with us for Christmas, often arriving late on Christmas Eve- sort of like Santa Claus!

Last November, my son Henry and I traveled to Zanzibar, Tanzania to see Mayer get married to his wonderful wife Lolem. Now they live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and have other places to go for Christmas. We miss seeing Mayer at Christmas, but love knowing we have dear friends we can visit in far-flung places.

I’ve served at a host counselor for 3 peace fellows and I’m currently assisting Bumni with a 4th. It’s always a great experience and our club is well positioned to be a valuable resource for the fellows. Consider volunteering when you are asked this year and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be selected!