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A reunion, of sorts

This weekend I went to a reunion of sorts, for people who were involved in Ad Hoc Productions, a student theater group at Emory University that does musicals. Instead of being for graduates of a single year, the weekend was celebrating Ad Hoc's 40th anniversary--it's the oldest arts organization at Emory except for Rathskeller (an improv group). Which isn't saying much given how long Emory neglected music and the arts...

I was in Ad Hoc in its first decade, I guess: 1974-1977, my freshman through junior years. Not being the extroverted performing type, I could be found in the pit, generally playing flute. Which doesn't make me someone that anyone else at a reunion would remember (or vice versa given my poor memory for names and faces), but I still thought it would be fun to see who showed up and to attend the events. The plan was a party at someone's home Friday night (I skipped--a party to hang around with people I have only this one contact with sounded painful), a "rehearsal" Saturday afternoon to put together a few songs for the evening, a special tour of Emory's 4-year-old Schwartz Center led by current Ad Hoc members, then an evening dinner party with performances by the alumni and by the current Ad Hoc crew.

And it was fun. There were some organizational challenges, but once we all found the right room for the Saturday afternoon rehearsal, the time was spent either chatting in small groups or grabbing some music, picking a song someone remembered or that a group wanted to sing, and asking the poor accompanist (a last-minute substitute), who knew very little in the way of show tunes, to try to play it. Reminded me of a filk circle in a way--a bunch of people having fun singing songs together, with widely varying degrees of success at it. Oh, we did begin with introductions, as we spanned the 40-year range from George Fox, the founder, and at least one other person who'd been in the first show, to someone who graduated this past spring. It was not a large group--maybe 40 people total floated through during the afternoon. The greeting of the day was "what shows were you in?", with the answers given in shorthand. My list: [Bye Bye] Birdie, [Hello] Dolly, Lil Abner, Celebration!, and Once Upon a Mattress.

The evening affair, held in the parlor of one of the oldest dorms on campus, was billed as a dinner but was more a cocktail party. Table with savory stuff at one end, bar at the other beside the sweets table, and a baby grand piano in the middle of the room. To start things off, the current Ad Hoc crew did 5 pieces from their upcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors. Then there was a pause while people ate and visited, then George got one of the semi-prepared alumni groups to go. The rest of the evening was in the pattern of a period of chatting and eating, then some sort of music--another alumnus would do a piece, or one or more of the students would do something. Probably the most fun (though it came off better in the afternoon rehearsal than in the evening) was "Everybody ought to have a maid" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, done by the Levines father and son--father was in the 1972 production, son in the 2004.



Nancy Barber

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February 2018


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