You would be forgiven for not immediately figuring out where this picture was taken, or what it means! Let’s unlock the meaning first: the “Esteemed BACH Saturday Seminarians” group is a lunch group made up of BACH chorus members and friends. During most of the year, the group meets around noon on Saturdays to eat at a local restaurant in Champaign or Urbana. The use of the name “seminarians” is slightly shrouded in mystery, but seems to stem from the fact that discussions among the group range from the mundane to the (occasionally) erudite. There’s a lot of brain power among the seminarians, but we frequently – and all too easily, it seems – get sidetracked into topics that are whimsical, bizarre, or even quite ridiculous. The group’s emphasis is on friendship and good company, trying out new places to eat, and returning to old ones.
The Seminarians have been operative for seven years, the group having been founded in fall 2002 by choir members Jean Clarkson (alto), Emmie Fisher (soprano), and the late Robert Clarkson (bass). Other stalwarts are Mary-Beth Wallig, Laurie Matheson, John Wagstaff, Bob McColley, Sharron Mies, Allison Fromm, Dirk Mol, Jerry Wray, Michael Fisher, and Kevin Kelly.
We recently had the idea of “immortalizing” the group (we have never suffered from an excess of modesty) by sponsoring a brick in the sidewalk of Cherry Alley, outside the Urbana Free Library. This brick scheme is run by the Urbana Free Library Foundation, and costs $125 for a single brick, or $500 for five bricks. Inscriptions on each brick can be no more than three lines, of 13 characters each. Our brick was recently installed, and on Saturday, September 19, 2009, a few BACH seminarians held a short ceremony in honor of the brick, which you see above in all its glory. As reported elsewhere in this Newsletter, one of our newer seminarians, Vernita Gordon, recently left us to get married; and we are looking forward to having Allison Fromm’s new daughter, Katie, as our youngest member, even though at this point her contributions to our discussions are likely to be loud and somewhat incoherent.
Those wishing to sponsor their own brick – which is an unusual and thoughtful way to celebrate a friend or relative, and to help the library – should contact the Urbana Free Library Foundation at 210 W. Green Street, Urbana IL61801 (tel. 367-4057).