Program Report: Christmas Program – December 19, 2016

The Durham Public School Program was preceded by the Durham Rotary Chorus led by Vince Simonetti as seen in several of the pictures above.

It was a very merry Monday at the last meeting of the year. Rotary member Steed Rollins introduced us to the K-12 Director of Arts Education for Durham Public Schools, Mary Casey. Ms Casey oversees the programming and continuity of the arts programs across the school system, and she invited the music students from Little River K-8 to our meeting.

The arts program at DPS has three important branches:

Arts Education – classes taught in visual and performing arts in the schools

Arts Integration – teaching arts within other classes, like science or English

Arts Exposure – exposing students to the arts around the triangle from museums to live performances like the Nutcracker

Leading the music program at Little River, the only K-8 school in the DPS system, Ms Kirlauski introduced us to her 70 elementary school students and 20 middle school students who wowed us with their holiday carols and piano performance. As a smaller school, Ms Kirlauski is able to teach piano to her students instead of band.

On piano we heard four middle school students perform Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and Deck the Halls (duet).

For the carols Ms. Kirlauski’s assistant, Dr Dan Huff, professor of music at UNC, accompanied her on piano. Dr Huff is also Ms. Kirlauski’s father.

The middle school students tenderly sang “Winter Wonderland” and “Let it Snow.”

The elementary school students moved from the gentle “Who Has Seen the Wind?” to the more raucous “Please Let It Snow.”

Together the students brought down the house with a choreographed version of Mr. Santa that is a decades old tradition at Little River to honor the music teacher who started the tradition many years ago.

Mark you calendars for “An Evening of Entertainment” on Friday, March 3rd when DPS students will perform at DPAC. Ticket sales go to funding scholarships for students.

Submitted by Kate Elia

Poinsettia Deliveries

police-station-poinsettias firestation-poinsettiasIt’s an annual tradition to deliver Poinsettias to the police and firefighters. The number sort of depends on who doesn’t show up to pick up plants that they’ve ordered.

A very handsome couple delivered several to Police Headquarters on Chapel Hill Street while Past President delivered to the fire station Downtown.


MLK – Day of Service


Or sign up through the United way here




Salvation Army Bell Ringing

The smiles reflect the joy of the holiday and the fellowship of Rotary. Thanks to the many Rotarians that participated this year. In the pictures are Ellen Cassilly, Lois Deloatch, Brady Surles, BC Dash, Mal White, Meg Solera and Vince Simonetti and one of his favorite tubas. Merry Christmas.

Rotary Minute – Mike Woodard


Called on for an impromptu Rotary Minute, State Senator Mike Woodard remarked that no good politician refused the chance to get in front of a microphone (or camera.)

However, he did keep it very short and told a story about teasing his brother by insisting that the blinking red lights of a departing airplane in the dark night sky was Santa skipping over them.  It’s a joke they repeat every year now even though both are well beyond the age of believing in generous fairies. Mean Brother. Mean Santa.

It may have been Mike’s last laugh of the week as he watched from the Senate Chamber as Santa departed without leaving all of Governor Elect Roy Cooper’s Christmas presents under his tree.

Program Report: Blake Hill-Saya – Biographer of Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore

saya-lois-eileen-webIntroduced by Lois Deloatch, Past President, Blake Hill-Saya told us of the “super powers.” that she discovered as a child. She imagined doors that she could open to unknown places and venture out on journeys of discovery.

We heard the first of her superpowers as she sang the Star Spangled Banner for us at the opening of the meeting. Her reverent rendition of our National Anthem thrilled all!

Blake Hill-Saya was joined by husband Cody Saya and aunt, a former member of the Club Eileen Welch. Hill-Saya is an opera singer, writer and medical message therapist based in Los Angeles. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Oberlin College and Masters of Music from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She has performed in the Triangle with William Curry and the North Carolina Symphony and with the Durham Symphony. She has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra with Charles Dutoit and Savonlinna Opera Festival among many other appearances around the world.

With a gift for writing, Hill-Saya is engaged with her aunt, in the research and writing of a biography of her great, great grandfather, Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore, a prominent figure in the history of American Medicine and in the history of Durham. The biography is a project of the Durham Colored Library Inc (DCL) and carries the working title of Lift My People. Eileen Welch is President and Chair of the Board of Durham Colored Library Inc.

The story of Moore is one of twists and turns that Hill-Saya has said is unfolding through her journey of discovery with her aunt. Welch, whose maternal great grandfather is Dr. Moore, has for some time been combing the archives of Shaw University. Together, Welch and Hill-Saya are documenting the stories passed down through their family and creating a lasting biography of Dr. Moore.

Just an overview of Moore’s accomplished life would fill many pages. Co-founder of N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company, graduate of the second class of Shaw’s Leonard Medical School, the first African-American doctor to practice medicine in Durham, NC, initiator and supporter of the largest group of Rosenwald Schools in any State in the Nation and a major force in the community of Hayti, Moore’s life touched that of all people in North Carolina and beyond.

Blake Hill-Saya pointed out that the book is the second project of the Durham Colored Library, Inc (founded by Dr. Moore). The first is the Merrick Washington Magazine, provided free of charge through DCL. She pointed out that the Durham Public Library has been very supportive of the biography. Hill-Saya said, in answer to a question, that the manuscript is nearing final form and that they are in discussion with a number of publishers. Her estimate is that publication will take place in 2019. We will all look forward to obtaining our copies!

Submitted by Doug Butler