It was party time for Rotarians, as we gathered at the Power Company Bar and Grill on Virginia Street. Owner Michelle St John had the capacious back room decorated in contemporary “Island” style. For the first hour, we were entertained by the absolutely delightful Berkeley-Livermore Lab Ukulele Club*. 7 ukuleleists and a
percussionist performed their way through a large variety of island songs, all to the effect of getting us into a relaxed and happy mood! We were happy to introduce County Supervisor Erin Hannigan as a guest. President Tom opened the meeting the a stout “gong” of the Great Bell. Chartering and Immediate Past President Brian Kendall led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. After introducing first Solano Sunset Rotarians, then visiting Rotarians, Tom gave a brief introduction to Rotary for our non-Rotarian guests. He spoke of RI’s beginnings in 1905, with the rotation of meetings between offices of 5 Chicago businessmen (hence the name “Rotary”) and of how RI now counts 1.2 million members throughout the non-Communist world. Tom went on to mention that Rotary has five Avenues of Service, but that this club, being only a rear old, had chosen to concentrate on two: Community Service – for us the Continentals of Omega Boys and Girls Club; and International Service – a project to be decided by club members at our 1 May meeting. At 7.15, dinner, in the form of a buffet, began, and during the meal we were entertained by ukulele virtuoso and teacher Izy (Makana’akahailani) Holokahi, who hails from Suisun. His playing was amazing! As dinner drew to a close, guest Michael Wilson, former City Councilman and current staff assistant to Ms Hannigan,
energetically auctioned off the deserts for the evening. With so many delights to tempt our palates, this effort brought in $1200 for our projects! After a brief interlude during which Izy Holokahi wowed us again with his technique and during which the silent auction closed (it raised something like $1000), Mr Wilson was back “on” again to auctioneer our two final and largest items: a tenor ukulele hand crafted by Membership Co-Chair Mike Preovolos + 4 lessons from Mr Holokahi donated by Program Co-Chair Gina Snyder. (Your President heard on of the ukulele band members who played Mike’s instrument briefly claim that this instrument was finer than a $1200 device he once had opportunity to play!). Bidding was energetic and the auctioneering inspired. The result: $850 into club coffers. The final item was a back yard barbecue for 8 people in Rotarian Cathy and Mike Preovolos‘s back yard. “ca-ching!”: $550 to the treasury! With just a reminder of our work day the next day, the Great Bell chimed, and a bunch of happy Rotarians and guests filed out into the distinctly un-island-like evening. Summary: is was the best party ever! Your President received innumerable compliments about everything from the venue to the music to the auction items – but mostly about the spirit of the evening. Congratulations and most sincere Rotary thanks to Special Events Chair Ed Stern, “Blue Team” planning members Rotarians Cheryl Feldman, Tina Woody, Joan Sumagaysay and Cathy Preovolos, and “Gold Team” workers Rotarians Polly McCall, Cathy Preovolos and guest Dayle Kerstad. Thanks also to Treasurer John Feldman for managing the finances and the guest lists, to Rotarian Carol Larson for printing up the snappy-looking and useful silent auction item cards, to Secretary Bryant Burleigh for performing check-in duties as assigned, and to Rotarian Mike Browne, who procured our sound system at no cost, and served as general logistical helper and all around useful guy. A spectacular effort by all! *Ukulele Club members: Lida Gifford, Robert Fox, Neli Lopez, Olga Poblete, Lorraine Dowling, Christie Canaria, Francis Gibson (percussion), Lorenza Gibson.