The 1967 OSU Giant Killers – Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter — Part I

The Great Pumpkin and the 1967 Beavs

Nothing captivates a state or geographical entity more than a team labeled as an “underdog” which whether by adrenalin, good coaching, mental toughness of team members or a combination thereof, not only exceeds expectations, but also establishes a legacy – a story that will inspire future generations.  The team is usually remembered not only for its achievements, but the character and stories of its individual members and coaches.

In Oregon, I can think of a few that fit this category.

The 1937 Bellfountain High School Basketball Team – this unincorporated Benton County berg with a high school attended by twenty-seven students had a basketball team of eight boys, none over 6 feet tall. Burton “Bill” Lemmon coached the Bells to a 17 and 1 season which included two wins over the Willamette University freshman team!

Bellfountain High School in 2009

In a fascinating Portland Tribune story about the season, George Edmonston Jr. (also the retired editor of the OSU Alumni Magazine) tells the story of how “The Giant Killers” won the State Championship when all schools regardless of size played in the same tournament.

In the semi-finals Lincoln defeated McLoughlin and Bellfountain cruised to a 39-13 victory over Portland’s Franklin (still known as “The Quakers” at least then…..)  The Bells then beat Lincoln 35 to 21.

“To realize the size differential between the two contenders, consider that Lincoln High in 1937 had almost twice as many teachers as Bellfountain had students. Lincoln’s student body numbered 1,580, who attended classes in a building that had 45 rooms and occupied an entire city block.”  http://pamplinmedia.com/nbg/144-features/247929-116273-tales-from-the-grubby-end-oregons-version-of-hoosiers

The 1964 Portland State GE College Bowl Team – The Portland State College team, led by its captain, Jim Westwood (Beerchaser of the Quarter in March 2013) and coached by Professor Ben Padrow played the upset role by defeating their opponents for five straight weeks on national television before they retired as champions with the sum of $15,275 in scholarships – a large sum at the time.

Jim Westwood (second from left) and the PSC Team with Padrow (right)

“The 415 points scored in their final match ties them for fifth-highest single-game total achieved, and their 1725 points total set a new record at the time and is fourth highest overall.

The March 26, 1965 issue of Time has an article on how the College Bowl victories helped change Portland State’s image as “the flunk-out school” for University of Oregon and Oregon State drop-outs…” (“Portland State Alumni Association News” article by Kathryn Kirkland, May 2, 2005)

The 1967 Oregon State Football Team aka “The Giant Killers” – This post will be followed by two additional Beerchaser narratives on the story of the greatest magnitude in the State’s athletic history.  It’s personal to me because I was at OSU as a sophomore in 1967, attended the games and lived with ten members of that fabled team in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Gary Houser #89…Billy Main #22…Nick Rogers #79…Roger Stalick #74…Donnie Summers #21…and Coach Sam Boghosian.

You will see why this story deserves commemoration, but to put the season into perspective before getting into the details:

“In a four-week period, the Beavers became the only team to ever go undefeated against three top two teams in one season since the inception of the AP Poll, earning the nickname ‘Giant Killers.’  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Oregon_State_Beavers_football_team

The Giant Killer Legend

The Beaver team, led by the late coach, Dee Andros – also known as “The Great Pumpkin” – compiled a record of 7-2-1 that year.  As a sophomore standing in the student section, I can still remember the electricity in the air and history in the making as the fourth quarter ticked down when OSU was ahead of No.1 ranked USC 3 to 0 on a November Saturday afternoon.

But one has to remember that this victory was only the apex of a tale that not only captivated the State of Oregon, but garnered the attention of sportswriters and coaches throughout the nation.

The soon to be Giant Killers started their journey in West Lafayette, Indiana where 60,147 fans saw the unranked Beavers topple the No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers 22-14.  Keep in mind that this game was after two disappointing back-to-back OSU defeats to the Washington Huskies and BYU (at Parker Stadium in Corvallis).

Purdue had won nine straight games including nine consecutive wins at home.  Many of their fans wondered why their Boilermakers were playing this Podunk team from the West Coast.   Starting defensive back, Larry Rich, remembers Purdue students ridiculing the Beavs as they walked through campus wearing their team blazers.

As they got to the locker room quite a bit before they had to dress-down, the Beav’s Equipment Manager brought out a bunch of pads for players who might want to lie down and rest before the game.  Rich said that the manager was promptly chastised for suggesting that they recline on the same pads that the Notre Dame Irish had used a few weeks before.

After the Purdue triumph, the Beavers had a record of 4 and 2.

One of the great stories from that game involves the late long-time Beaver sportscaster, Bob Blackburn, who broadcast the Beaver games on KEX Radio.

The late Bob Blackburn in his tux

He was also the announcer for the new Seattle Super Sonics basketball team and on October 21, broadcast their maiden game at home with the Houston Rockets.   Black-tie was the appropriate dress for the evening.

“His wife Pat, remembered after the game, ‘I rushed him to the airport so he could get to Purdue to do the Oregon State football game, and he didn’t have time to change out of his tuxedo.'” (Feedback Radio.com 1/8/15)

Blackburn, when asked about it stated:

“Upon seeing me in the tux, Andros said that if Oregon State won the game, I would have to wear the tux for the remainder of the season…..As luck would have it, Oregon State, a 14-point underdog, upset Purdue.  And, of course, I had to wear the tux for the next seven games.” (The World 10/23/2003)

The first time the Beavers will face Purdue after that 1967 victory will be in 2021 when they play their season opener at West Lafayette. It will be followed in 2024 by a rematch at Reser Stadium.   (Oregon Live 12/5/17) 

After Purdue, OSU racked up another victory at home over Washington State.  Then on November 4th, they traveled to Los Angeles to take on another No. 2 ranked team – UCLA in Memorial Coliseum with an attendance of 50,172. The Bruins were led by quarterback Gary Beban, who was to become the 1967 Heisman Trophy winner. The OSU strategy was to keep the ball away from the Bruin offense. The end result – a 16 to 16 tie and Beban ended with 21 net yards on 16 carries.

Reporter Jack Rickard wrote in the November 6th Corvallis Gazette Times, “It wound up as a stalemate on the scoreboard.   Prothro once said that a tie is like kissing your sister…..That’s not bad if your sister is No. 2.”

The next weekend was filled with anticipation as the Beavs returned to Corvallis in a game attended by Governor Tom McCall and California Governor, Ronald Reagan along with  41,494 fans on Veterans’ Day who witnessed a 19-gun salute at the start of the game.

Gov. McCall won a case of oranges that day from Gov. Reagan

The governors, as grand marshals, had both ridden horses in the traditional Veterans’ Day parade in Albany which always draw thousands.  They made the 14.5 mile trip to Parker Stadium in Corvallis in a Model T.

“Cars moved at the proverbial snail’s pace, and at one time were backed up for five miles on the freeway north of Albany. It took some Corvallis residents who drove to the game an hour to get home following the game. Some out-of-town visitors didn’t arrive at Parker Stadium until half time.”  Corvallis Gazette Times 11/13/67

Reagan Celebrating victorious gubernatorial campaign BUT no victory in Corvallis!

When thinking about orange juice, it was usually in the context of what the less restrained OSU kids slurped out of their vodka-infused oranges they “smuggled” into Parker Stadium for consumption during the games.

But that Saturday, “The Juice,” contemplated was O.J. Simpson, who started the game with two spectacular runs.  The field was muddy although it did not rain during the game.  At halftime, however, the game was a scoreless tie:

“The start of the second quarter marked perhaps the most famous defensive play in the history of Oregon State football.   O.J. shook off a tackle at his own 37-yard line, bounced to the outside, and found himself with an expanse of open field and three blockers to lead the way.   

Safety Mark Waletich was the only Beaver who seemed to have a chance to bring him down, but with three Trojan blockers to contend with, the odds were not in his favor. 

Jess Lewis – legendary tack

Simpson slowed to set up these blockers, not realizing that Beaver defensive tackle Jess Lewis was coming up fast. Never giving up on the play, Lewis quickly closed the gap and made a touchdown saving tackle at the Beaver 32-yard line – over 30 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage.”  (BeaversEdge.com 11/11/67)

As Mike Chamess, now a Portland insurance consultant, but then a freshman reporter and later Editor of the OSU newspaper, The Barometer, stated in a recent e-mail:

Mike Chamness – then a freshman reporter

“…my Dad, Art, and my brother, Danny, came down to the USC game when we ‘squeezed the Juice’ for  3 to 0 win.  My dad told stories about going to that game for the rest of his life until he passed away in 2012 at the age of 97!”

And was the game exciting?  Definitely, to a tragic extent. In fact, Quentin B. Zielinskis, a 48-year old professor of horticulture and according to the Gazette Times, “an ardent sports fan” died of a heart attack at the game.  (Yes, Oregon State was an aggie college…..)

At that time, freshmen could not play on the varsity and the rook team was playing Treasure Valley Community College after a long bus ride to Ontario, Oregon.   As future All-American and then NFL defensive lineman, Craig Hanneman, stated in an e-mail:

“We were playing that same day at the same time in Ontario and were getting updates when we’d come off the field during possession changes.  Someone, I presume, had a transistor radio in the stands and was relaying the 0-0 score and then the 3-0 update down to our bench.  It was pretty cool when we heard the final score.  Anyway, I was already at OSU, but just couldn’t play varsity.  Jess was, of course, a big factor in why I came to Corvallis and pledged SAE.” 

Dirt and “The Dude.”

USC went on to win the Rose Bowl against Indiana 14 to 3.   O.J. Simpson was the most valuable player.Their only loss was to the Giant Killers.   USC ranked first in both the final AP and Coaches poll and outscored opponents 258 to 87.

Any OSU alum, or for that matter, any Oregonian interested in one of the great historic athletic tales of the State of Oregon, should visit the website below developed by Jud Blakely for the complete story.  It is a labor of love by this OSU alum and I consider it the War and Peace equivalent to sports websites.

http://osu67giantkillers.com/

Jud, was Oregon State Student Body President in 1964-1965 and also a member of SAE.  After graduation, he served as a Marine Corps Officer for thirteen months as an infantry platoon leader in Viet Nam – being awarded the Bronze Star and earning two Purple Hearts.  He has spent years researching, documenting and gathering statistics, video and stories from newspapers and the players themselves on the 1967 OSU team.

As Jud stated in the dedication to the players:

“The Giant Killers of Oregon State. Epic. Recalled so often––and honored so often––for all the right reasons.  You were ‘grace under pressure’ again…and again…and again.  You were the Laws of Physics in action again…again…again.  You epitomized the marvel of a ‘team.’

……..One concern is the slow, steady, historical ‘fading out’ of a unifying sense of respect for a Great Thing.  But the fact is…few Great Things have survived the passing of time in their original form……This website is an interactive home for many of those details—videos and audios, game programs, photos, and other resonating pieces of the puzzle of what drove you to become Great and memorable.

And so…I wanted to step off on a mission of discovery in 2002 to begin to gather up your words of recollection and cautious pride…and to craft a faithful story of what you lived 50 years ago, which is as fully alive and exuberant in you now as then.”

Craig Hanneman (right) on Mount Everest Climb

This blog periodically names the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and past recipients have included athletes (and mountain climbers including Craig “The Dude” Hanneman), war heroes, authors, academics and media personalities.

They may or may not have anything to do with bars or beers, but have made a contribution to society or have an interesting story which bears telling.  Even the crew of the USS Constitution was named in 2012 for their legendary 1798 war cruise.

Jud, himself, has a compelling personal history which I narrated in 2013 when he was named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2013/09/16/beerchaser-of-the-quarter-george-m-jud-blakely-iii/

Jud after patrol in 1966 at Than Thrah Viet Nam

1967 on the OSU Campus

The Memorial Union – a classic structure at the center of campus

These were days when college life was a really enjoyable, albeit protected, environment – largely insulated from the growing conflict in Viet Nam that had begun taking the lives of our former high school classmates.   Although we liberal arts majors occasionally wondered how we were going to make a living after college and males would ponder the end of student draft deferments, those four years were a time to grow, meet people and receive what was a solid education.

The term “lottery” was not associated with the video games that the State of Oregon has used since 1984 to supplement its revenue budget, nor the NBA rookie draft lottery commencing in 1985.

The lottery in the minds of most males over eighteen during those years was the military draft lottery which commenced in 1970. If you got a high number, you would essentially escape military service unless you otherwise volunteered.   And even if one had a low draft number, college enrollment meant you were deferred from conscription – until you graduated or flunked out.

On that December 1, 1969 night when Roger Mudd of CBS interupted Mayberry RFD to broadcast the drawing from Selective Service headquarters in Washington D.C., many young men around the nation gathered around TV sets hoping they would not “win the lottery!”  After the capsules were drawn, September 14th was 001 and my May 4th birthday was No. 276 although for NROTC guys, the issue was somewhat irrelevant. 

Trial by (or over) fire for Blakely

Oregon State, not being an urban university and largely an “aggie college” in the peaceful berg of Corvallis, was not on the forefront of current global affairs.   This would change to some extent in the years following the Giant Killer victories, but in 1967 fraternities and sororities were at their heyday and “dead week” usually the only time of reckoning for students.

We participated in activities such as the Rook Bonfire – notwithstanding Jud Blakely’s foray with  two buddies three years prior, where in an unsuccessful effort to surreptitiously light the pyre early during his senior year, they were arrested for  “maliciously and willfully starting a fire.”  Although the municipal judge reduced the charge to “burning without a permit” and fined them $15 each, he was stripped of his OSU Student Body Presidency!

There were no online courses, social media, cable television channels or iPhones.  (Because long distance was pretty expensive, we called home – collect every few weeks – usually after 11:00 PM or on Sundays when rates were much lower)  And if you filled up your car driving back to Corvallis, there was a good chance that you would get a bunch of green stamps and even a glass from the gas station.  (Gas was $.34 per gallon in 1967.)

The SAE entry to the IFC sing – Whitney top left and Bartons (Gary and Duane) third and second from right end bottom row)

Other campus activities such as the Rook/Sophomore Picnic at which there was an annual Powder Puff Football game, the Inter-fraternity Sing, Joe College/Betty Coed court (see below – it would not be politically correct these days) were popular and had campus-wide participation.

Freshmen coeds had a curfew labeld “Closing.”  Larry Rich met his future wife, Mariellen Lorenz, when they were on “the court” for Joe College and Betty Coed at a photo-shoot at the MU in December 1967.  They were selected and were married two yeas later and will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year. The couple now lives in Lincoln City.   Mariellen, in response to my question about closing for coeds wrote:

“OSU regulated the innocent freshmen women who had to live in one of the dorms on campus their first year. I recall a curfew in the dorms of 11:00 weekdays and Sunday and 1:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. We couldn’t wear pants/jeans/slacks to class until my junior year and the skirts and dresses were cold in the winter!  And we didn’t wear shorts anywhere on campus, but very short skirts were the trend.”

Janet Williams and Mariellen and Larry Rich in Lincoln City

Closing, of course, could be easily circumvented by staying out all night and returning to the dorm for breakfast!.  One has to wonder the rationale for discriminating by gender on the curfew.  Did the OSU Administration think that Rook males were more mature and therefore should have the requirement waived?

Dad’s Weekend.   Larry Rich and his dad, Scooter – third from left bottom two rows and my dad, Duane and me – back two rows on the right

Mom’s and Dad’s Weekends were always a highlight and drew a lot of parents.

Mom’s Weekend.  My mom and I are sixth from the left in first two rows.

 

Gill Coliseum was also a concert venue

And we went to concerts by such groups as The Mamas and Papas, Three Dog Night, The Association and Lou Rawls (see below) which drew full houses in Gill Coliseum which was converted to an auditorium without great acoustics —  we didn’t care……

Rick Gaffney, one of the SAE frat bros, chaired the Sophomore Cotillion events on the weekend when the late Lou Rawls appeared in concert.  His concert was not well attended although all who went were thrilled with his performance.  

Our class of SAE’s rented a room at the Town House Motor Inn on 4th Street in “downtown” Corvallis for pre-functioning and post-functioning – also because we weren’t yet 21 and could not go to a venue that served alcohol.  (The motel is now the University Inn and one can still get a standard room with a king-bed for $70.39 if it not on a weekend with a home athletic contest.)  

Gaffney, (who was also a NROTC midshipman) invited Lou Rawls to our party at the motel, after the show, never thinking he’d actually come.  When he arrived, we offered him a beer — he asked if we had any “hard stuff.”    The only thing other than Olympia Beer in our inventory was Sloe Gin, which made Rawls guffaw.

Homemade Sloe Gin

Why Sloe Gin?  It’s a “red liqueur made with gin and ……drupes a small fruit relative of the plum. Sloe gin has an alcohol content between 15 and 30 percent by volume.” (emphasis supplied –  Wikipedia)
Rick Gaffney relates how he ran into Rawls again at Kona Village Resort where he worked as beach captain in the mid-70’s.  He was there with actress Brenda Vaccaro (“Midnight Cowboy”, etc.).
When  Rick re-introduced himself and reminded him of the Sophomore Cotillion show he did at OSU, he looked Gaffney right in the eye and said, “Sloe Gin — All you had was Sloe Gin.”   They both had a good laugh….. (Gaffney later became the owner of a successful charter-fishing business in the Islands.)  
Larry Rich and his date, Mariellen were there and Larry remembers Rawls sporting a fabulous, large diamond-studded ring with the initials “LR” and Rich said that he told the singer if he ever got tired of the ring, he would be glad to buy it “at the right price!”

“LR” initials rang a bell

And speaking of Giant Killer stories, Keith (Sweeny) Swensen, another one of the SAE’s there that night, relates another Lou Rawls story involving defensive back, Don Whitney:

“I remember the look on Don Whitney’s face when he came out of the bathroom singing a Lou Rawls’ song only to walk right into Lou Rawls, himself.   Whit turned bright red but then Lou complimented him on his singing.  After that, I don’t think Whit said a word for the next 10 minutes.  He just sat there with a shit-eatin’ grin on his face.”

One of the good things about OSU, which even now is still not a large school with 2017 enrollment (grad and undergrad) of 30,400, was that it was a closely-knit campus – you knew a lot of people regardless of whether you lived in a frat, a dorm or a co-op. This is in contrast to schools we played that year such as UCLA – 44947, USC – 45,500 and Washington – 45,600 (enrollment figures are from 2017).

And most of the Beaver athletes did not live off campus or in their own athlete-only dorms.  They were an integral part of campus life – you attended classes with them, saw them at the Memorial Union and lived with them.   (Maybe during the off-season, you might even raise a discrete mug with them at Prices, Don’s Den or the Peacock!)

For example, in the SAE fraternity, I lived with the following members of the Giant Killer Team – Larry Rich, Don Whitney, Roger Cantlon, Duane Barton, Jess Lewis, Jim Blackford, Don Welch, Chris Wahle, Clyde Smith and Jim Scheele.  In our freshman year, Rich and Whitney got up each weekday morning at 7:00 A.M. and did “rook chores” at the frat each morning like the rest of their classmates.  And we were not a jock house.

The SAE House in 1966 – (Scheele 3rd right back row – Blackford, Lewis, Whitney – back row right- Barton 3rd row five in from right – Wahle second row fourth from left with bandage! – ) Rich, Smith, Welch and Cantlon not present)

To further illustrate the point, as a member of NROTC, I would see Giant Killers Duane Barton and Billy Main (and later Rus Jordan) at drill each Tuesday for an hour when we paraded around the concrete parking lot – they were upper-class midshipmen. Midshipman and ROTC cadets were also required to wear our military uniforms to class one day each week and we did so without incident notwithstanding the growing national agitation about Viet Nam.  (One would often cross the street, however, to avoid having to salute an ROTC officer……)

That mood was to change in my senior year when the NROTC unit was firebombed.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  In an incident that still makes me chuckle, I also remember walking into a Russian History Class with my girlfriend who was also enrolled in the course.   It was the day of the week that 1/c midshipmen were required to wear uniforms on campus.   We were somewhat disruptive because we tried to slink in but were 15 minutes late and it was not a large classroom.  The professor stopped his lecture looked at me in my uniform and sarcastically stated, “And to think that the defense of our country is going to lie in the hands of people like you……..”

1970 NROTC First-Class (Senior) Midshipmen. (Note only males at that time. Women were first enrolled in 1972).

And as a freshman, I sat next to starting safety, Mark Waletich, in CK Smith’s “History of Western Civilization 101” class – one of those required courses in large (for OSU) classrooms with about 75 students.  Dr. Smith, in order to take roll to see who was skipping class (I thought that didn’t happen once you reached college) had us sit in assigned seats – in this case in reverse alphabetical order.

King John signs the Magna Carta

So I sat right next to Mark in the first row in front of the professor in a morning class.  In the first class, Waletich said “hello” and cheerfully asked me to nudge him if he fell asleep – he did a few times (evidently not very interested in the Magna Carta…..) and I would always give him a friendly elbow.

While we as college students attended class, hit the books, went to keggers and house dances and were thrilled by the amazing OSU Football Team, what was going on in the world?

In 1967, the average new house sold for $14,975 and the average income was $7,844.  Annual full-time tuition, room and board at OSU was about $2,500 although for our four-year after-graduation obligation, the Navy paid tuition, books and a $50 monthly stipend. (Main and Barton would have a six-year requirement because they opted for Naval aviation.)

A McDonald’s hamburger was 39 cents.  In 1967, the Dow Jones Average peaked at 973 with the low point at 786 and inflation was at 2.8%.  The most popular song was “To Sir with Love” by Lulu which was at the top of the charts for five weeks.  Other significant events included:

Ultra-conservative generals in Greece fear results of the elections scheduled for May. A coup led by Colonel Giorgios Papadopoulos, takes power. (This will be the last time most US citizens see the name “Papadopoulos” until Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos is indicted for lying to the FBI in 2018!)

Boxing champion Muhammad Ali has refused induction into the Army and is stripped of his boxing title. He is then indicted for refusing induction into the US Army.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park approximately 30,000 take part in a “be-in.” Among the participants are Allen Ginsberg, credited with creating the term “flower power,” and Timothy Leary, fired Harvard professor and LSD guru. California’s governor, Ronald Reagan, meets with FBI agents for information on Berkeley campus radicals.

The US Freedom of Information Act becomes official. To withhold information, government agencies must show its need to be classified.

The Monterey International Pop Festival opens in California and is attended by over 200,000. Featured are Janis Joplin, the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Otis Redding.

The Soviet Union has been under moral pressure from North Vietnam to help their struggle for national liberation. It signs an agreement with Hanoi to send more aid.

There is rioting over race in major cities including Buffalo, Memphis, Detroit, Newark and Cairo, Illinois.  Thurgood Marshall becomes the first black justice of the US Supreme Court.  In Cleveland, Carl Stokes is elected mayor – the first African-American mayor of a major US city.

In New York the musical Hair premiers Off-Broadway. (Admission was $8.50.)

John McCain bails from his damaged plane and falls into Hanoi’s Truc Bach Lake. He is viewed as a heinous criminal, beaten, bayoneted in the foot and groin and taken away for imprisonment and more primitivity and torture.

John McCain (front right) – a hero (in just about everybody’s book…)

Richard Nixon claims that the US must pursue the war in Vietnam to a “successful” conclusion or risk a Third World War.  Some 474,300 US soldiers are now in Vietnam.

(Excerpted from Macrohistory and World Timeline  http://www.fsmitha.com/time/1967.htm   Author Frank Smitha)

Now one thing that is a real misperception and deserves clarification is that the total focus of the 1967 Giant Killers season was the 3 to 0 victory over No. 1 ranked USC.  And while it’s true that this game (including the amazing tackle by Jess Lewis after OJ broke away) was the zenith of the season, the story transcends this one game as I will try to illustrate in the next two blog posts.

This misperception was reinforced by Portland newspaper, The Oregonian (which should have known better) when the banner headline on the September 26, 2008 Sports Page shouted “Giant Killers III.”   This was after the Beavers beat No. 1 rated USC 27 to 21 at Reser Stadium.  The accompanying article also asserted that Giant Killers II was the October 25, 2006 game in Corvallis when OSU beat the third-rated Trojans 33 to 31.

Now as you can see by the ticket stub below, I was at the 2006 game which was outstanding.  With OSU leading 33 to 10 at the end of the third quarter, USC fought back and scored a touchdown with seven seconds to go to make it 33 to 31, but the Beav’s Jeff Van Orsow knocked down the Trojan’s David Booty’s pass for a two-point conversion as time ran out.

And that was an incredible victory since it had been 39 years since the Beaver football team had beaten a team ranked third or higher in the national polls – in the aforementioned Giant Killers’ 3 to 0 victory.   On that fall 2006 victorious afternoon, as we hit the corner of 29th and Harrison Street in the ensuing traffic jam, we saw SAE frat boys standing on the corner holding beer bottles and a big sign that said, “You Honk.   We Drink!”  (We honked…..)

Now admittedly both of those games were celebrated victories especially given the woefully long drought in winning football seasons, but the Giant Killer story was and is much, much bigger and more compelling than the single victory over a ranked USC team.  The next two posts on Thebeerchaser will attempt to explain why – not a very challenging position to argue.

And by the way, we should not forget the Civil War Game in 1967 – usually the pinnacle of the season in a contest that commenced in 1894 and is one of the oldest football rivalries in the nation.   Oregon State had won the last three and traveled to Eugene for the christening of the new Autzen Stadium. Many thought that the outcome was a foregone conclusion given the Beavs spectacular wins and national ranking versus the Ducks 2 win – 8 loss season to that point.

In a game that will be described in more detail in the next post, Oregon State was losing 10 to 0 in the fourth quarter and had to come from behind to win 14 to 10.  Had the Beavers not had the fortitude to “reach back,” the season would not still be discussed and be the focus of narratives such as this one fifty-one years later.

But the Giant Killer legend lives on and as Blakely states in his website, “The Giant Killers have become a rich and precious gem.”  And it should be restated, that to fully appreciate the veracity of that statement, you should visit (and spend a lot of hours….) at his website.    http://osu67giantkillers.com/

To conclude this narrative, I offer another recent statement from former newspaperman, Chamness, who used his still good writing skills to sum it up quite well:

“As a Barometer reporter we covered events like protests and controversies.  It was depressing!  And then the ’67 Giant Killers came along and they were like an ‘Alka-Seltzer’ bringing welcome relief from the drudgery of reporting the hard news.

I don’t think any of us freshman really understood the magnitude of what our football team accomplished that season; and I’m sure none of us even remotely thought that we would be reminiscing and celebrating that season some 50 years later!  In the world of OSU football, the Giant Killers inspired us to ‘keep hope alive’ . . .  season . . . after season . . . after season . . . after season . . . . . ” 

Cheers!

Mark Edlen – Beerchaser of the Quarter

Mark Edlen outside his favorite beer place

“I briefly met Mark Edlen when we were both on the U of O Daily Emerald board together. Flash forward forty-five years, his firm Gerding Edlen has had a profound impact on our city, with the Brewery Blocks standing out among many great projects.

Mark and his firm led the way in sustainable development, making LEED a standard for our city. Serving on the Portland Development Commission with Mark, I saw him utilize his smarts and knowledge to protect the taxpayers’ interest as well as could be done. His civic contribution is as good as it gets.”

Tom Kelly

The above narrative was the response I received from Tom Kelly, President of Neil Kelly Company when I asked him to summarize Mark Edlen’s contribution to Portland.   Tom is another Portland civic icon and corporate leader and their relationship goes back to college days.

Gerding Edlen halls during Civil War….

It was fall in 1985.  Besides having just gotten engaged, I’d just started a new job as the Business Manager at the Oregon State Bar.  That’s right – The Lawyers’ Trade Union – as some of my attorney friends kidded me.   The administrative, financial and support functions in the organization all needed some rethinking – my predecessor had been fired and decided to go to seminary……

The Bar was in some respects a publishing house – it produced several Continuing Legal Education books each year written by dedicated Bar volunteer lawyers to help educate their peers on such stimulating topics as Creditors’ Rights and Remedies, The Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct (Annotated), Contract Law including a stimulating chapter on “admissibility of extrinsic evidence to establish ambiguity in a contract term,” and of course, Torts.  

The current CLE library is more stimulating given recent changes in Oregon law and for $165, one can buy the Bar appropriate titled book on marijuana law – Joint Oregon and Washington Cannabis Codebook. (Emphasis supplied)

So the first time I met Mark was when as a Xerox salesman, he and his partner, Joe DeJager, convinced me (in what was a great long-term decision) to buy a $30,000 copier with all the bells and whistles that would improve efficiency while lowering the cost of Bar productions.

That began a long-term relationship since Mark and Joe both soon went to work for Cushman & Wakefield.  They represented the Bar in its successful efforts to sell its current building and move to a newly constructed headquarters on Kruse Way in SW Portland. 

Having been extremely pleased with the effectiveness and energy they exhibited at the Bar, we continued to have them represent us when I moved to the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm as the Business Manager.  They were the firm’s leasing representatives when we renegotiated our lease for 100,000 + square feet in the PacWest Center.

Moving to the present – I was certainly aware of his success in the Gerding Edlen development firm and his charitable and civic efforts, but had not been face-to-face with Mark for a number of years when I asked him to join me for a beer at McMenamin’s Zeus Cafe (his favorite beer pub) so I could interview him as this blog’s newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  (We both drank a pint of Hammerhead Ale….)

The last time I sat across from him had been about ten years ago when I was raising money for the City Club of Portland’s Research Endowment Fund.  I met Mark in his office and began my pitch by reminding him that twenty years prior, I bought a $30,000 copier from him when he was a young Xerox salesman.  He immediately pulled out his checkbook and I left smiling.

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – Although this is a blog about bars and beer, each quarter I try to recognize an outstanding individual or group.  A number of these have nothing to do with my favorite beverage – they are just interesting individuals who have made worthwhile contributions to society and have a good story which should be told.

Craig (The Dude) Hanneman (right) on Mt. Everest climb

Past recipients include authors such as the late Brian Doyle (Mink River and The Plover), athletes such as former All-coast and then NFL tackle, Craig “The Dude” Hanneman and media personalities such as Dwight (The Godfather) Jaynes and Amy Faust of KWJJ, the Wolf. (To see their stories, click the links on their names.)

The most recent was Father Martin Grassel, the Procurator at the Mount Angel Abbey and also the Head Brewer for the Benedictine Brewery.

Father Martin Grassel

Now most people in the Northwest know of Mark through his success and the environmental values of Gerding Edlen Development Inc. or his civic efforts such as serving on the Portland Development Commission.  But Mark Edlen has a much broader story than these accomplishments.  He is also a wonderful family man, outdoorsman and athlete.  You will see why below.

The Honda 750 – his original high school motorcycle

To better understand this guy, we should go back to high school at Sunset High in Beaverton – he graduated in 1971.  His activities in high school gave a good indication of what was to come…..He worked at Safeway on the night crew and concurrently had a landscaping business during the day.

These jobs paid for the motorcycle he bought – a Honda 750, which he then sold to pay for his freshman tuition at U of O.

Gerding Edlen halls during Civil War….A life-long Duck..

“I then stumbled into the University of Oregon,” Mark states, and his remaining earnings from high school diminished to zero about six months after he made the scene in Eugene.  His delayed college education eventually continued at Portland State University for two terms before he returned to Eugene graduating in 1975 and earning his MBA in 1976.

His first job was with Xerox Corporation and he started his years at Cushman & Wakefield in 1980.  His legendary work ethic was evident according to Tom Usher, the Managing Partner at the office.  

I have known Mark for over 37 years, and I have never, and I mean never, ever met anyone in the real estate industry that has his energy and drive.  Emails at 3 A.M, meetings at 6:30 A.M.  (And on his Xerox sales skills) ‘I think he wrote the course for Xerox.  His favorite question was always, ‘So shall we meet tomorrow morning or in the afternoon?”

Mark Edlen was consistently one of the highest commercial real estate producers in Portland during his career at C/W and Tom Usher adds that part of his energy may have due to the daily ration of Diet Pepsi and maple bars he consumed.  (Mark asserted he gave up the maple bars about thirty years ago.)

The late Bob Gerding

He met long-time partner Bob Gerding in Portland in the late ’80’s when both were involved in a property transaction.  “Bob was very liberal and since I was a “Certified Lefty, we hit it off.”  He describes Gerding as brilliant with a PhD in biochemistry and “The best big thinker I have ever met.”  They cofounded the Gerding Edlen Development Inc. (hereafter GEDI) in 1996.

The Oregon State Bar building was the firm’s first build-to-suit project, followed by work for Key Bank.  Now from this point, I could describe in great detail the amazing accomplishments of GEDI – starting with their groundbreaking work in what was to become Portland’s Pearl District in what was both fortuitous and visionary.   (Stroh Brewing bought Blitz Weinhard and Olympia Brewing and GEDI had the opportunity in 2000 to buy the Blitz Brewery in what Mark described as “An action that was so far beyond our skis, it was ridiculous.”

The Armory was transformed into the Gerding Theater, home of Portland Center Stage

The Weiden and Kennedy  firm moved into their Pearl District building and the renovated Portland Armory became the first LEED Platinum building on the National Historic Register.

It became the home of Portland Center Stage and in 2006 was re-named The Gerding Theater at the Armory “….the first renovation of a performing arts venue in the world…it has drawn groups of people interested in sustainable design from across the country as well as international delegations from Russia, Belgium and Hungary.”  https://pcs.org/about-the-armory/  Historic preservation is another hallmark of the firm.

Then came the public-private partnerships and GEDI developed drug clinics, affordable housing and university facilities and schools.

The firm eventually evolved from Portland to other markets including Seattle, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles – another example of willingness to take on risk as “We never really planned to develop outside Oregon.”   They established investment funds in 2009 and the GEDI investment portfolio now involves management of over $1 billion in real estate assets.

Still involved with firm after retirement.

Mark after his “retirement” in early 2017 and handing the reins of the firm to Molly Bordonaro and Kelly Saito as co-managing partners, still remains chair of the firm’s Investment Committee and Chairman of the Board.

As an example of the firm’s standing, Bloomberg summarizes its description as:

“GEDI is internationally recognized for its expertise and success in creating mixed-use commercial, residential, educational, and retail developments. (They have) overseen the development of 56 projects totaling approximately $4.8 billion since the inception of GEDI.

And as an example of their acclaimed environmental work, let’s look at the highlights of one of their recent buildings – The Indigo@12 West – a 22-floor mixed use office, apartment and retail located at 12th and SW Washington in Portland.  “(A) laboratory for cutting-edge, sustainable design strategies,” (Downtown Development Group LLC)

  • Four rooftop wind turbines generate renewable energy on-site.
  • Solar hot water and high-efficiency windows that let in natural light.
  • Rainwater is harvested and reused, and an eco-roof helps to mitigate stormwater runoff.
  • High quality, sustainable finishes include renewable bamboo hardwood floors and cabinets and wool carpets.

“Gerding Edlen originated the 20-minute living concept and established a set of criteria called Principles of Place—where community plays a pivotal role alongside design and technology in the success of their properties.

GEDI is committed to developing buildings that attain net-zero energy use and embrace the fundamental philosophy of community that integrates neighborhoods, educational institutions and builds strong business, government and community partnerships.”  (From the Bullitt Foundation website)

And if you think that Mark’s intelligence, work ethic and interpersonal skills make this success come easily – Think Again!  He talks about the sleepless nights and pervasive concern about cash-flow during the recession in 2008, when interest rates skyrocketed and vacancies in condos and commercial real estate were staggering.

Fortunately, he has had a life-partner to help in his endeavors – Ann, his wife of thirty-eight years, who he met when she came to Oregon on a trip from her native New Jersey.   Ann moved to Oregon and became the Vice President and Marketing Director at First Interstate Bank.

She eventually resigned from the bank to raise their three kids – at that time, there was no parental leave to mitigate the demands of parenting…..She started her own strategic marketing firm, Think Joule about eight years ago.

A dynamic woman who graduated in the first class of women at the University of Notre Dame, her contributions to civic endeavors are exceptional  – under her leadership as former chair of the Pacific Northwest College of the Arts Board, she and current chair, Aric Wood, raised $4 million for the school’s capital campaign.

The PNCA Building

She is still a member of the PNCA Creative Leaders Council.  The Ann Edlen Creative Corridor at the school was named in her honor.  Ann currently chairs the OHSU Foundation.

She is an athlete in her own right and in addition to being an avid skier, many of the cycling expeditions involve both of them as riders.

Rather than continue with what could be three blog posts on the accomplishments of Gerding Edlen Development Inc., let’s now focus on Mark’s personal life.

If you look on his Facebook page, you primarily see pictures of their grandchildren and family gatherings, posts about environmental issues and descriptions of their cycling adventures or skiing at their Sun Valley home.

Mark asserts that he learned as much from his outdoor endeavors as he did in Business School – those being camping, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, hiking and most notably cycling.

His cycling days go back to his youth and although much more strenuous, probably safer than his U of O ski racing days and his several years racing motorcycles. (“You know you’re alive when you hit 150 mph on a Ducati”)   It doesn’t surprise those who know him to hear him state, “I love the hills and get my best ideas riding up Terwilliger Blvd.!“  

He estimated that last year he rode about 7,000 miles which is a typical annual regimen in trips ranging from riding in the Columbia River Gorge, “gravel grinders” in Idaho to a trek down the Oregon coast to Central Oregon loops to the couple’s multiple international trips through programs by inGamba. (France, Portugal, Italy, etc.)

To get a better indication of the combined challenge and joy in these journeys, I have excerpted some of the journal entries Mark posted on Facebook during their ride from Portland to San Francisco about four years ago. They are shown at the end of this post and are worth reading.

Each day his journal entry ends with the phrase, “Best Day of the Year,” – because Mark is not only a certified Lefty, but also a certified optimist.

And although it may be challenging to comprehend given his business and outdoor pursuits, Mark Edlen has made his mark in the community through civic, charitable and public service activities.  The latest has been his four-year term on the Portland Development CommissionBoard service on Eco Trust, Portland Center Stage and the Bullet Foundation are a few of his other pursuits which are too many to list.

“Mark and his wife, Ann are actively involved in the Portland community and are deeply committed to education, healthcare, the arts, sustainability and the built environment. They believe that as engaged citizens we must always be asking, how can we add to our community, what is our  what is our responsibility to the livability of the built environment and how can we help less fortunate Oregonians attain their dreams.”  (From Bullitt Foundation website)

The Northwest is fortunate to have Ann and Mark Edlen living and working here.  They are both role models and whether one looks at their contributions to public service or reflects on the urban landscape that has been shaped by Gerding Edlen Development Inc. their impact is lasting and remarkable.

Mark is a still a young man and I have an inclination that the future plans of this newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter might be accurately reflected in the picture below with these quotes from American author and essayist Edward Abbey, who was noted for his advocacy of environmental issues:

“It’s all still there in heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure – they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days and years to come………May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

Excerpts from the 2014 Ride from Portland to San Francisco 

Summary:  Nine days, 860 miles, 69,000 feet of climbing, an unbelievable number of calories consumed and burned, enough water drank to float a boat and what at times seemed like endless saddle time all mixed in with some of the best scenery of mountains and the Pacific Ocean anywhere, great support personnel and most of all fun, world class riding companions from across the US, Australia, Canada and Germany.

But the climb turned out to be the easy part. The descents all through the day were absolutely nothing short of brutal. We were on old county roads that are only used by farmers and loggers for the most part. The roads were full of pot holes, ruts and many times turned to nothing more than dirt and gravel.

And to add to the fun, often they were in the shade which meant you couldn’t see the ruts etc so we were often caught by surprise and thus jarring our entire body as the bike dove into yet another hole in the road. I really think that my collar bones and shoulder blades are now fused to my skull and I am hoping that feeling comes back into my hands before the morning.

But that was only the first climb. The second was even more exciting. While it was only 1,000 feet, the grades were in excess of 20% and probably averaged well over 13%. I was out of the saddle giving it everything I had more than I was in the saddle. I would look for the grade to drop down to maybe 10-11% so that I could sit and get my heart rate down to a tolerable level……..

Just when we thought this might go on for a long stretch the route turned inland and back uphill once again and the furnace came on with the inland heat. Wow, you couldn’t drink or eat enough the rest of the day. It probably approached the mid 90’s and we baked. Everyone was caked in body salt and we were draining our water bottles quickly no matter that the fluids we were drinking were just short of being hot due to the temperatures, it was still wet and helped replace the fluids we were quickly shedding.

We crossed a lot of classic Northern CA rolling brown hills with oaks and struggled up and down the rollers heading for the “queen” hill climb of the day which was 3,000 feet up spread out over about a 7 mile stretch following a 10 mile roller approach. Fortunately the grades were more moderate at 7-11% but it was still a struggle for everyone…….

And once again, the descent was nothing short of brutal with pot holes, gravel, ruts and other fun obstacles……But the brutal descent led us back into the Redwoods Park and paradise where traversed the Avenue of the Giants and a truly world class experience. If you had any doubt about saving such miraculous splendor you need to visit this park. It is almost spiritual.

At one point we stopped, were silent and all you could hear was the whisper of the wind through these magnificent giants.

Unbelievable!   Today’s stats were 97 miles and 11,250 feet of climbing, by far the toughest, most challenging and perhaps brutal day that I have spent on a bike yet absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and satisfying at the same time.

The last two days were pretty challenging for me as I developed a respiratory issue that prevented me from being able to take in sufficient air so I simply eased off the gas and enjoyed a more moderate pace. During those two days we encountered some pretty significant coastal head…..several inland turns where we tackled various climbs of 1,000 to 2,000 feet at a time just for good measure…..

Most assuredly everyone was glad to be finished knowing that they didn’t have to mount up again the next day and I’m sure everyone was pleased with their accomplishment as it is amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind and energy to it…..I may not elect that mode of transportation tomorrow or even the next day!  But after a few days of rest and catching up at home and the office it will be time to start dreaming up the next adventure, but this time with Ann who is always the best companion…….

 

 

Father Martin Grassel Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Father Martin Grassel, O.S.B., is a monk who lives at Mount Angel Abbey, his residence for the last eighteen years.   He is the Abbey’s Procurator – the equivalent of the Chief Financial Officer and has responsibilities for technology, human resources, food services, facilities and financial management of the monastery and seminary located on a beautiful hilltop setting about twelve miles from Salem, Oregon.

But this man of faith with a quiet charisma has additional responsibilities which occupy his day – he is the lead brewer for the Benedictine Brewery, a small five-barrel operation starting up at the Abbey and for which there are exciting plans In the near future (see below).

The monks at  Mount Angel start their day with a 5:20 A.M. prayer service – one of six they attend throughout the day.  But Father Martin typically awakens between 2:00 and 3:00 A.M.

The monastery was founded in 1882 and its seminary in 1889.   Mount Angel is the oldest and largest seminary west of the Mississippi and the only such institution to have both a college and graduate school with a 2017 graduating class of 62. 

On this day, Father Martin is checking on his latest batch of English Pale Ale.  He checks the fermentation temperature and carbonation level to ensure the quality he demands and measures the specific gravity of the wort (or finished beer) with a hydrometer, while also making sure the fittings and hoses of the brewing equipment in one of the Abbey buildings are in good order. 

The attention to detail that yields a consistent and high quality beer and his appreciation for math and science are the same attributes that made this 1985 Computer Science graduate from the University of North Dakota, a skilled software developer for Honeywell Corporation in Phoenix when he was in his twenties.  Instead of technical brewery metrics, he was then working with flow charts, data modeling, embedded systems programming and gap analysis.

Father Martin is this blog’s second 2017 Beerchaser-of-the Quarter and the “honor” is richly deserved.  He joins the “elite”  list started on this blog five years ago which now includes writers, military heroes, academicians and even the crew of the USS Constitution for their “legendary” war cruise in 1798.

Although this is a blog about bars and beer, a number of these individuals have nothing to do with my favorite beverage – they are just interesting individuals who have made worthwhile contributions to society and have a good story which should be told.  Father Martin fits both categories.

The late Brian Doyle at the Fulton Pub

Past recipients include authors such as Portland’s own Brian Doyle (Mink River and The Plover), Princeton Professor Emeritus, Dr. Harry Frankfurt (On Bullshit), athletes such as former All-coast and then NFL tackle, Craig “The Dude” Hanneman and Viet Nam veterans and heroes, Jud Blakely, Doug Bomarito and Steve Lawrence.

(To see the narratives for this distinguished group, go up to the blog header and click on the tab entitled “Beerchaser-of -the-Month or Quarter.”)

The Chapel at the Abbey

Father Martin comes from a North Dakota family of four-children that was not a church-attending group.  He became involved in his parish in Phoenix after college graduation.   Although he tried to ignore the inclination, the divine pull to the ministry persisted – he considers Psalm Sunday in 1992 as his “faith anniversary,” and he enrolled at the Mt. Angel Seminary in 1995.

His intent was to return to Phoenix once he completed his formation for the priesthood.  That plan changed, however.  During his time in the seminary he felt attracted to the monastery.  “Once I stepped across the threshold at Mount Angel, I knew I was home,” says the mild mannered and friendly monk who made his final vows in 2003 and was ordained as a priest the next year.

Home……looking out over the beautiful countryside from the Abbey grounds

So what piqued his interest in beer and what’s in store for the Benedictine Brewery in the future?

“I was not a fan of beer in college or afterwards,” says Father Martin.  He did not drink soda or wine either.  

The monks occasionally have refreshments and appetizers before the main meal) and at a 2006 Haustus gathering of the monks (Haustus comes from the Latin verb meaning “to draw up” or “drink.” ) he tried Deschutes Black Butte Porter.  He liked it and later acquired a taste for other Deschutes Brewery beers.

He took an interest in the chemistry and production of beer.   “Beer stuck in my mind.  I’m an engineer.  What goes into making good beer and do I have the skills to accomplish that?” 

After all, brewing is a tradition with monks that goes back to eighth century in Europe:

The Benedictine saints Bonifatius, Gregorius the Great, Adelbertus of Egmond and priest Jeroen van Noordwijk (Circa 1529-30)

 “….when local water supplies were rife with disease, monks brewed beer as a way to sanitize the water and also produce a libation to serve guests who sought refuge….Beer was an important part of their diets, particularly because it could be consumed as a source of nourishment during Lenten feasts.”  (Catholic Sentinel 2/21/14)

There was no thought of “home” brewing, or I guess we should say “Abbey brewing.”  Then about five years ago, a friend of the Abbey offered to donate some beer equipment to the monks to which the initial answer was “No thanks.”

Father Martin adjusting the hoses

But after some reconsideration, the donated beer equipment became Father Martin’s experiment.   He read the book, How to Brew:  Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time, and made his first batch in the kitchen of a friend’s house.

He started brewing at the Abbey and there were many mistakes – “Once the hoses blew off the chiller and there was beer spraying all over the room.”  However, he persevered and made a batch of Pale Ale and “The monks liked it!”

In his role as Procurator, Father Martin and the leaders of the Abbey had been contemplating additional revenue sources to supplement the Abbey’s income.  A tree farm, press and saw mill which had been part of the Abbey’s revenue stream were all declining or gone.  And there had been some, albeit not unanimous prior interest by the monks in furthering the monastic tradition of brewing.

After all, hops have been grown on the  Abbey owned acreage adjacent to the monastery since the 1880s.   A long list of potential revenue sources was developed to present during a community meeting.  Father Martin’s new hobby was last on the list.  “That was one thing I was sure would not fly,” Father Martin said.  (Catholic Sentinel – 2/21/2014)

Soon afterward, a stainless steel ten-barrel system was donated to the Abbey and the Benedictine Brewery became a reality with Father Martin as the lead brewer.  Initially, much of the brewing was done through contracts with Seven Brides and Upright Breweries with assistance from the Oregon State University Fermentation Science Program.   Father Martin was impressed and pleased with the collegiality of the brewing community.

Contract brewing at Seven Brides

Consistent with his education and training, Father Martin employs the scientific approach to brewing which is necessary to have the consistency for producing quality beer.

He remembers his early days at seminary when the students critiqued their colleagues’ sermons and he stated, “Beer is like learning to preach.  You either like a homily or you don’t.   What about the beer do you like and why?  Make that determination and then pay attention to what you like.”

Two bottled beers (Black Habit – dark and St. Benedict – light) were developed and tested and have become popular and garnered good reviews from sales in the Mount Angel book store. The Mt. Angel Octoberfest requested Black Habit, where it has sold out the last two years.

The Benedictine Brewery and Taproom seating about fifty will open in early 2018.  It will be located adjacent to the Abbey next to the hop fields and be the site of regular events involving the Mt. Angel community and those who travel to the Abbey to visit the beautiful grounds on which the seminary is located.

The Brewery’s motto is appropriate – “Taste and Believe.”  Father Martin reflects, “This started as a revenue project, but it has become an evangelization project……..(It) has been inspired by God.”  (Catholic Sentinel)

Don’t be surprised to see some home-grown artwork displayed in the taproom.  This man of many talents has another avocation — mosaic work.  He was inspired by the mosaics he found in Italian churches when he studied in Rome, and now he enjoys the detailed work required.

Thirty mosaics have been produced by the Procurator and a number have been sold in the Abbey book store and they also decorate Father Martin’s office.  Those you see here are two of his favorites.

Cecelia – a companion of fourteen years

And if you see Father Martin walking the Abbey grounds, you might also notice his companion of fourteen years – his cat, Cecelia:

“There are a lot of feral cats in Rome and I took comfort feeding some of them.  I was the only one they would approach.  Feral or abandoned cats roam our grounds, too, one of which was Cecelia.  I started feeding her and she adopted me.”  

I was privileged recently, to hear Father Martin make a presentation on Benedictine Spirituality – essentially analyzing the concepts of prayer and asceticism – a disciplined effort to live for God.   The purpose of humanity is to seek God and what sets the monk apart is seeking the vision of God in this life rather than waiting until heaven.

The training and lifestyle of monks is to promote sanctification – reading and meditation inspires a personal dialogue with God and then contemplation, which helps one discern a lot about himself and who God is.  Ascetic practices include celibacy, work, personal poverty and moderation in speech, eating and sleep.

His lecture evidenced his great dry sense of humor.  “Some observing the Liturgy of the Hours may conclude, ‘This is just a bunch of guys in funny robes with mediocre voices trying to be a choir,’ but it’s truly the body of Christ glorifying God.”

I am pleased and honored to be a member of the Benedictine Brewery Advisory Committee and look forward to the opening of the Brewery and tap room.   (The other committee members, besides Father Martin and me, are Stephen Zimmer – chair, John Limb, Les Fahey, and Chris Brown and Jodi Kilcup of the Abbey staff as ex-officio members).

As our newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter so aptly states, “The Brewery has inspired us.  God wants us to use the gifts he has given.”  

A tapestry at the Abbey

Stay tuned for updates on this project and if you want to try Black Habit (or buy a great looking t-shirt) contact the Mount Angel Abbey bookstore.  Or come and visit the Abbey, which has a marvelous museum and library besides being located in a beautiful and idyllic setting.

Mount Angel Abbey Bookstore and Coffee Shop  

503-845-3345

 

 

 

Brian Doyle – Beerchaser Eternal

Brian at the Fulton Pub (drinking his favorite pinot gris.)

“Many of my friends are people I’ve never met; I counted Brian Doyle in that group.”

The above quote – from a piece by the editor of the Georgia Review the University of Georgia’s journal of arts and letters, was one of hundreds of laudatory comments from all over the world paying tribute to this literary icon and remarkable human being.   The breadth of Brian Doyle’s literary talent and speaking ability are evident based on the diversity of the novels, essays, short stories and presentations cited in these accolades..

And those reading his work could not avoid feeling the personal bond referenced by the literary expert above.  Just by reading several chaoters in Mink River, The Plover or Marten Martin, the reader quickly discovers Brian’s love of nature, his imagination and his fascination with the mundane details in life most of us take for granted.  He spoke to his readers in the true sense of the word.   

I was profoundly saddened by the passing of this author, award-winning magazine editor, family man and unforgettable personality, on May 27th.  Brian was diagnosed with brain cancer last November and his solid faith sustained him through the surgery and post-operative time with his wonderful family.

He had an expansive group of friends who marveled at his creativity, wit, compassion and charisma.  As Father Mark Porman, the President of University of Portland, where Brian worked for twenty-six years, stated:

“He was a man filled with a sense of humanity and wonder, who was interested in everyone’s story and who saw everyone’s potential. His warmth, humor, and passion of life will be deeply missed and his loss will be acutely felt here and beyond.”

Artistic talent demonstrated with this self portrait

I only knew Brian for three and one-half years and we first met after I wrote him a letter about the Brian Doyle Humor Scholarship awarded annually at UP.  I thought it was creative, inspirational  and a credit to both him and his university.

Having recently started this blog, I told Brian that I wanted to “honor” him by naming him my next Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – an accolade he could put on his resume right below Notary Public.   All it required, was to meet me for a beer and an interview.

To my surprise, he agreed and our meeting at Fulton’s Pub on Macadam – one of his favorites – was the first of a number of mug-raising sessions, although he usually drank white wine (and an occasional Hammerhead Ale on very hot days).   I inevitably left those sessions feeling better about the human condition.   My wife, Janet and I  had the pleasure of meeting his wife, Mary, at one of those get-togethers at Maher’s Pub in Lake Oswego.

Favorite watering hole…..

The chorus of those paying tribute to Brian Doyle is loud and prolonged and the inventory of his attributes cited reads like one of Brian’s lists in Martin Marten.  I enjoyed all of his novels – I’m half way through Chicago now and the manner in which his characters convey the essence of that great city make it my favorite so far.  (I have to admit that I even kept notes while reading each of his previous books so I could remember some of the many memorable phrases or metaphors.)

I could also talk about his love of nature; his poignant essays (e.g. his 2009 work, “The Terrible Brilliance,” based on the art therapy work Mary does for young children with serious illnesses at Doernbecher) or the quality of his conversations ranging from the ocean or the village of Zig Zag, to basketball, faith, Edmund Burke and younger days – we found out that we were both born in Merrick, Long Island, New York.

But I want to focus this narrative and my best memories of Brian, on his imaginative, idiosyncratic, dry and incomparable humor.  The following are examples of why I will always smile when I think of the bearded Notre Dame graduate.

“On Being Brian”

In 2002, he wrote letters to 215 other Brian Doyles he found in a national directory to learn more about them:

“Tell me a little bit about yourself, I wrote us recently. How did you get your name? What do you do for work? What are your favorite pursuits? Hobbies? Avocations? Have any of us named our sons Brian? What Irish county were your forebears from? Where were you born? Where did you go to college? What’s your wife’s name?

He spoke to or corresponded with 111 and his essay, “Being Brian,” was published in Harper’s Magazine“Oddly, we were all neurotic about getting to airports early (at least two hours) and all had terrible handwriting.”   (I have a feeling Brian would have undertaken this endeavor even if his name had been Jim Johnson or maybe even Alexi Fronkiwiecz……..)

He said that he was often mistaken for the Brian Doyle, who is well-regarded Canadian children’s author and I kidded him because in doing the research for my blog, I noticed that Portland’s Brian Doyle’s bearded countenance is shown in the summary caption of the Wikipedia article on the Canadian Brian Doyle!  Check it out – that’s still the case. https://www.bing.com/search?q=brian%20doyle%20author&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp

“On the Misuse of Adverbs”

Since we were both New Yorkers, I loved his essay about an altercation in which he and his five brothers “engaged” a male patron in a one of the city’s pubs. This piece demonstrates Brian’s love of the language and his imagination (he maintained this spat really happened, but some of the details could be storyteller’s license).

The Doyle brothers got kicked out of this New York City bar while defending a young woman and the proper use of the English language – from an aggressive suitor:

“Finally there was a moment when the young man leaned toward the young woman and gently covered her exquisite digits with his offensive paws and said:

‘Hopefully, you and I… ‘ at which point my brother Thomas stood up suddenly, launched himself over the balcony rail, landed with a stupendous crash on their table, and said to the young man, ‘Never, and I mean never, begin a sentence with an adverb.”‘

“In the Rain by the River”

Brian spoke at a dinner of the Lang Syne Association in Portland in 2015.  And as one Goodreads reviewer wrote in 2010, “He’s an insanely intense and achingly vulnerable speaker who laughs and cries at his own stories.”

His short and well-received address that night  focused on his five favorite Oregon writers with this eloquent preamble:

“……we rarely celebrate stories enough in public, but I will do so here, because after thirty years of writing I am convinced that stories are food, holy, nutritious, crucial, the muscle of citizenship, maybe even the subtle ways by which we can imagine and achieve a world where war is a memory and violence is a joke in poor taste and children are not afraid and humor and creativity are the common coins of our civic lives.”

He then provided one of his characteristic lists on these literary all-stars and a few other authors enumerating what they (and he) appreciated about Oregon.  Halfway through the list was this item:

“A thorough patience and even appreciation for rain and mist and mud.” (emphasis supplied)

The next time we had a beer (which was on a stormy, yucky day), I chided him about paying tribute to our never-ending precipitation.   I subsequently got a very short e-mail with only the words “Heh, Heh…”, and the above referenced essay attached – one that had been published in The American Scholar and included this excerpt:

“It has been raining so hard and thoroughly that the moss has moss on it. It has rained since last year, which is a remarkable sentence. Even the rain has had enough of the rain and it appears to be pale and weary when it shuffles to the lobby to punch in and out every day…….

Slugs — a new religion???

Slugs have congregated in the basement and established a new religion complete with tithing expectations and plans for expansion into Latin American markets. Mold is now listed in the stock exchange.”    

 

“Four Boston Basketball Stories”

I’ll conclude with the example below which was published in the Kenyon Review in the summer of 2012.  Brian loved basketball and this passion was reflected in his writing – just read the first few chapters of Chicago and you’ll get a flavor: 

Page 1:  ”I lived there for five seasons, leaving my street only to play basketball at a playground a couple of blocks away, or to run to the lake dribbling my worn shining basketball……..”

Page 20:  “I found a pitted basketball court three blocks north, in a school playground which turned out to be exactly on the borderline between the territories of the Latin Kings and the Latin Eagles……I tried to play there every afternoon, if I could before the sun went down…..I got in hundreds of games with the Kings and the Eagles, many of whom fancied themselves terrific ballplayers, and some of whom were.”

In his imitable style, he describes players named Monster, Bucket, Nemo and Not My Fault who:

“….despite being short and round, dearly loved to fly down the middle of the court with the ball, try a wild ridiculous shot in dense traffic, fail to make the slightest effort to claim the inevitable rebound, and then either claim he was making a visionary creative pass, or denigrate a teammate for note being in position to receive the supposed miracle pass.”

Brian was named to a city league all-star team in Boston in 1983 and had the jersey framed in his office.   How tough was the league in which he played???

“…. (it) was so tough that when guys drove to the hole, they lost fingers.  One time a guy….got hit so hard his right arm fell off, but he was a lefty and hit both free throws before going to the bench….

I heard that his team later had a funeral for the arm with everyone carrying the casket with only one arm as a gaffe, but they all got so howling drunk that they lost the arm and had to bury the casket empty and then they spent the rest of the night trying to remember every lefty guy in the history of sports……”

Award-winning magazine with only one editor for twenty-one years

At one of our last Beerchasing expeditions, Brian and his University of Portland colleague, Dr. Sam Holloway and I met near their digs in the historic St. John’s Pub – one of the McMenamin’s establishments. I arrived early and began downing a pint of their good Ruby Red Ale.  When the other two arrived, I was not surprised that Brian ordered his typical pino gris, but Sam, who is a well-known consultant on the business of micro-breweries and head of UP’s Master Strategist:- Craft Beer Business program,  also ordered wine – a temporary gluten issue…

At the St. John’s Pub – good conversation but failure to solve global issues…

We then had a deep discussion about the merits of each beverage which ended with me quoting one sage who asserted:

“Beer – because one doesn’t solve the world’s problems over white wine…..”

Brian is no longer with us, but his legacy will long prevail.  And I can just imagine one of Brian’s first orders of business in the heavenly realm:

After retrieving two spare halos, he converts them into basketball hoops upon convincing God to let him be the player-coach of a team – we’ll call them the Divine Disciples who will ultimately play for the league championship.

In the huddle Brian uses his knowledge of scripture and cites Mathew 20:16 (English Revised Version preferred) “So the last shall be first, and the first last,” to describe a weak-side pick and roll play which will take advantage of the opposing team’s lackluster defense.  (The guy who lost his arm in the Boston game has a new and perfected body as promised in the New Testament and scores the winning layup with his restored limb and “Not My Fault” even admits culpability for several critical turnovers.)

I’m confident that Brian would never subscribe to the premise that “everyone gets a trophy” – even in heaven, and he and his team will toast their victory and raise both the championship trophy and mugs/glass in an ethereal pub.

We will miss you, Brian, and thanks for enriching our lives.

Original Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter post from February 2014

https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/02/24/beerchaser-of-the-quarter-author-and-wine-drinker-brian-doyle/

Amy Faust – Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (and Mandolinist…)

Eating her lunch at 10:30 AM

It’s 4:40 AM on a weekday morning and Amy Faust reluctantly rolls out of bed after having racked up about 7 hours and 10 minutes of sleep – if you count the half-hour she spent reading her latest novel as slumber time. This has been the routine for the last eighteen years for this media personality – she’s the Amy of the Mike and Amy in the Morning Show which airs from 5:30 to 10:00 AM each weekday morning on KWJJ The Wolf at 99.5 FM. http://www.thewolfonline.com/shows/mike-amy-morning

Well, the above period of time needs to be modified to state, “This has been the routine for the last eighteen years except for about a two-year period between 2012 and 2014 when she slept more normal hours.”   During that period, she made her living using her considerable talents in various other jobs, because management of the station had unceremoniously fired the popular duo in an economy move – they were replaced by a cheaper syndicated show based in Seattle.

The dynamic duo

But Amy’s morning routine returned in mid 2014 when she and her broadcast partner, Mike Chase, who after being terminated, had moved to North Carolina to take another broadcasting job, were reinstated.   The station ultimately responded to the uproar from the Mike and Amy fans, which were voluminous and incessant.  Perhaps, it’s best described by this June 12, 2014 excerpt from The Columbian – the newspaper in Vancouver where the duo has a lot of fans:

“Getting fired isn’t so rare, especially in the churning world of broadcast media. But getting rehired by a media company that publicly apologizes for its flub is a singular career achievement.

‘I want to speak to you about a mistake that ‘The Wolf’ made back on Aug. 6, 2012,’ program director Mike Moore of Portland country music station KWJJ ‘The Wolf,’ recently said on the air…….. Faust said she’d both halfway expected the pink slip and yet was ‘absolutely shocked’ that corporate station managers based on the East Coast actually went through with it.

But something unexpected happened, Moore continued: ‘Almost immediately, many of you told us that we’d made a mistake. We received thousands of calls, Facebook posts, emails and even snail mail letters. The overwhelming sentiment was that you really missed Mike and Amy, and you wanted them to come back. You also wanted a local show.’   

Back on the bus…….

During their off-the-air stretch, Chase and Faust tried putting out a podcast and worked together for the quirky TV show ‘Portlandia,’ Chase as an actor and Faust as a location manager. Faust also did some writing, some traveling and some ‘sitting on the couch’ in genuine mourning, she said, because she’d loved working with her pal Chase and loved working in radio. Eventually, though, the station invited them back — and publicly called their firing a mistake.

‘I’m not gonna lie. It’s a little satisfying,”’Faust said.”

In Moore’s defense, Amy confirms that it was not his decision and he successfully campaigned hard to get them back on the air.  It had been a perfect job for thirteen years and she remembers when they told her on a Monday with no notice “Your services are no longer required.  Here’s a brown box to take out your stuff – and you should be gone within four hours…..”  Her first reaction was to laugh and say, “Mike was right,” because he had the feeling for six months that they were on the chopping block and even said on the previous Friday, “I think we’re getting fired on Monday!”

With daughter, Alice

In retrospect, it was a positive experience because she was able to take time off with the six months salary remaining from what was a “no-cut contract,” and take a wonderful road trip to the Redwoods with her daughter, Alice, and then able to drive her to school each day.

Amy Faust is the first individual in 2017 to be named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter and joins the “elite”  list started on this blog five years ago which includes writers, military heroes, academicians and even the crew of the USS Constitution for their “legendary” war cruise in 1798.   Although this is a blog about bars and beer, a number of these individuals have nothing to do with my favorite beverage – they are just interesting individuals who have made worthwhile contributions to society and have a good story which should be told.

Portland author, Brian Doyle ****

Past recipients have been authors such as Dr. Harry Frankfurt (On Bullshit) or Portland’s own Brian Doyle – **** see note at the very end of this post **** (Mink River and The Plover), athletes such as former All-coast and then NFL tackle, Craig “The Dude” Hanneman and Viet Nam veterans and heroes, Jud Blakely, Doug Bomarito and Steve Lawrence.  And the most recent recipient before Amy, is also a media personality – The Godfather, Dwight Jaynes of CSN.  To see the posts for this distinguished group, go up to the blog header and click on the tab entitled “Beerchaser-of -the-Month or Quarter.”

Jack, hosting Town Hall

And it should be noted that Amy becomes the first direct relative of another Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  Her dad, Jack, retired appellate lawyer at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm and former moderator of the award-winning public affairs program, Town Hall which was broadcast for many years each Sunday on KATU, was so named in September, 2014. 

The elder Faust’s story can be viewed at https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

The Faust kids Barbara, Amy and Charlie

One of three children (also Barbara and Charlie) of Jack and Alice Faust, she  was born in Portland and attended Wilson High School where she graduated in 1983 “as a straight B student – I was an academic late bloomer…….!” 

An academic “late bloomer”

Her mom has been active in civic and public affairs having served as a commissioner over 6 years on both the State Commission for Women and the State Child Care Commission and was appointed by both Republican and Democratic Oregon governors.

Civic activist, Alice Faust

You can see by the picture below from Jack’s law school years that Amy grew up in a conservative and formal household……

Jack receiving nourishment from fellow law school classmae, Dave Krieger

 

Amy attended Scripps College, majoring in American Studies and loved it.  During summers, she had internships first at KATU and then in Washington DC for the Senate Commerce Committee when Oregon Senator Bob Packwood served as its Chair.  She also worked for Public Broadcasting in LA on some documentary films which gave her background for later work.

Admitting that “I had terrible taste in boyfriends in my youth” (something both her parents confirmed), she moved to New York after college graduation “driving my car across the country with a Frenchman.”   After she sold it to an artist, the car was impounded shortly afterward and then smashed in a tow yard after being towed for non-payment of nine parking tickets. (Time constraints precluded research on similar outstanding tickets in Portland.)

The Dixie Chicks neednt have worried……

Her experience in New York lasted nine years in which she worked on freelance documentary productions including helping to write a news book for ABC with Peter Jennings.

She also appeared in a band named “Bushmills” in which she sang and played the mandolin in “underground clubs.” “We were an all-female group similar to the Dixie Chicks although with a lot less talent.”

She leveraged her experience as a disk jockey in college for a gig as a DJ in a venue named Rub-a-Dub – it was a club not a car-wash….

Kevin second from right) and Amy, Beerchasing at the Yard House

She met her future husband, Kevin, at a party in the Ex-Lax Building (“Things have been going smoothly ever since…..”).  They were both dating other people and were friends for a year before they became a couple.  They moved to a wonderful six-unit apartment in Brooklyn right across the street from the bakery where the movie “Moonstruck” was filmed.

“We paid only $350 per month and fortunately Kevin had handy-man talents which the 91-year old landlady needed because even though he was Catholic and had been an alter-boy, she always thought he was Jewish and discriminated in her leases.” 

One of her real estate regrets is when they decided, based on cashflow (or lack thereof) to turn down the opportunity to buy the apartment building for $300,000 – it’s now worth $10 million!

Kevin, Mike and Amy

Kevin then graduated from the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, with a degree in architecture where he was class valedictorian.

Founded in 1859, Cooper Union is among the nation’s oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher education.  (He gave the valedictory speech from the same stage on which Abe Lincoln delivered  what has become known as his “right makes might” address” in 1859.)

They moved to Ireland where Kevin taught architecture for a year in Dublin.  Amy did a few television jobs as a production coordinator.

Then it was back to Portland with no jobs. They still live in the same NE Portland house that became their home in 1996.  Kevin got a job in a high-end construction firm (Hammer and Hand) and Amy worked as a freelance writer and authored advertising copy for clients and produced television commercials.  (“It was an experience where I was totally over my head and was stressful because I am not the epitome of a detail-minded person…”

That’s when she first met Mike Chase – he auditioned (and got the part) for a bank commercial Amy produced.  He had just been fired from a weekly radio show on 94.7 FM and got a job on 1080 AM, where he asked Amy to work on the weekly show “just for fun.”  Flash forward to 1998 — Amy is pregnant and gets a call from Chase who has been hired by a country-western station and asks Amy to be co-host (“By the way, our show starts at 5:00 AM.”)

Their thirteen year run brings us back to the spontaneous termination and Amy is back trying to figure out what she wants to do when she grows up.  So she returns to freelance writing and lands a gig as a location manager for Portlandia – a job she loved but was like solving a crazy puzzle for each show – trying to get the permits and the right background for each scene as well as figuring out details such as disposing of trash and parking for the cast and crew.   She managed five people and did the job for about four months the first year and has worked a little on each season ever since.

Amy with her parents, Alice and Jack

Amy, notwithstanding her modesty, is a talented writer and also wrote a column for a low-budget publication –  “Our Town.”  After that it was freelance work for Willamette Week.  You can see a sample of her writing at the end of this post. It will take you to an excerpt from the account of her dad’s fascinating experiences with the RajNeesh when he featured the topic of the cult’s “invasion” of Antelope, Oregon, on three separate Town Hall shows.   The article was originally published in the July, 2014 edition of 1859 magazinehttps://1859oregonmagazine.com/think-oregon/art-culture/rajneesh-oregon-cult-history/

This woman of many talents does not consider herself to be a local celebrity.  “Because I’m on radio rather than television, I’m not recognized except when I go to hockey games or am in doctor’s offices.” 

Her dad’s account contradicts that, however.  “When I used to host Town Hall, people meeting Amy for the first time would always ask if I was her father.  Now, I’m the one who gets the inquiry, ‘Is Amy your daughter?’”

Recognized at Grand Central Bakery by musician Bills Wadhams

Amy and I met for our first interview in Grand Central Bakery in NE Portland and about 45 minutes into the session, a guy walks up to her and greets her with a hug.  It was Bill Wadhams who led a 1980’s one-hit-wonder band named Animotion.  She had interviewed him while working for Willamette Week.

Perhaps she does not have the visual profile of local television personalities, but she was also “recognized” in the Buoy Beer Company Brew-pub in Astoria.  “Our group was being kind of rowdy and I was talking and laughing rather loudly and a woman at the table behind us turned around and said,  “Aren’t you Amy Faust from KWJJ The Wolf.”

A distinctive laugh…..

Evidence that she can be recognized by her laugh can be garnered by listening to this brief interview Mike and Amy had with Keith Urban.  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mike+and+amy+kwjj+the+wolf&&view=

Her preparation for the show (besides setting her alarm for earlier than any of us would want to consider) consists of filing things away for discussion pieces and the quizzes they feature each day.   She also stays abreast of trending topics on social media and what’s going on in the community.  “We’re always looking for topics.  Our show is a context eating machine…”

Grant Constitution Team – Alice is the last student on the right next to coach, Jim Westwood – former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

Daughter Alice is now a high school senior at Grant High and a member of the Constitution Team which recently placed first in the Oregon high school competition and will soon travel to Washington DC for the “We the People” national finals.  She has previously admonished her mom, “Don’t ever mention me on the show.”  Alice will attend the U of O in the fall.

I reminded Amy about a show I enjoyed some years ago when, in the absence of Mike Chase, she got her dad to be the guest co-host. “It was a fun show although I had a “dump” button with a seven-second delay to control what he was saying if necessary.”  (She didn’t have to use it.”)

Amy is also active in the community.  One of her favorite civic pursuits is volunteer coordinator for Portland Meet, an organization that “……welcomes and befriends immigrants and refugees, enriching community by creating mutually beneficial mentoring opportunities that promote cross-cultural learning, enhance work skills and build trust.”

Her involvement was inspired after she read the book What is the What, a novel by Dave Eggers based on one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who after fleeing his country during the civil war, eventually immigrated to the US.  The book portrays his “struggles to adjust to the mixed blessing of his new life.”

She teaches citizenship classes – the picture is of Howa, a woman from Somalia who gained citizenship after the class.

Subject of nightmares…..

Amy also related how their listeners “never forget anything” and in response to my question about examples of this premise, she launched into some interesting (if not curious) stories about her cat that used to lick the wax from her ears and the sucker fish that died an ignominious death in her basement after Amy forgot about it – “I still have nightmares about that.”

Each Beerchasing session in which Amy has joined Jack and her brother, Charlie, (at Kelly’s Olympian, MadSon’s Pub and The Independent) has elicited other great stories such as when she met Dolly Parton and the legendary, George Jones.  They are always fun to hear her recount although people in surrounding booths often wonder who in the group has the unique laugh.

Jack, Amy and brother, Charlie in the center, Beerchasing at Kelly’s Olympian

While Mike and Amy’s gig on The Wolf is going quite well, I can assure you that should the ax fall again, Amy Faust will use her considerable talents on some new adventure.  We can just take comfort knowing that it would never be working in a commercial aquarium……..

Excerpt from Thebeerchaser post on September 2, 2014

Three Town Hall shows on the Rajneesh and the Bhagwan concluded with two in Rancho Rajneesh – now, Antelope, Oregon. Ma Anand Sheila was the spokesperson for the Bhagwan.  Amy Faust, Jack’s daughter and a local media celebrity, writes a compelling account of these shows in the July, 2014 edition of 1859 Magazine(The first two shows had not gone well for the Followers and they balked at having the third one):

“Then, just one day before the scheduled taping (of the third show), they reversed their stance, sending my dad an apology and a boxed lunch from Zorba the Budha Deli. While my dad remembers his receptionist, Jeannine Marks, saying, ‘I wouldn’t eat that if I were you,’ like a good, waste-not child of the Great Depression, he wolfed it down. ‘What are they going to do,’ he replied, ‘poison me?’

The next day, his producer, India Simmons, got an odd phone call from Ma Prem Sunshine, asking simply, ‘How’s Jack today?”’Sunshine’s tone of voice prompted Simmons to call my dad, who was in fact at home in bed with a fever of 103, horribly sick for the first time since age 5. Not wanting to miss the show, he recruited my mom to drive him to Antelope, feeling nauseous the whole way.          Copyright2003 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz (http://web.org/web/2007/1026130939/http://m31.de/ranch/index.html) Osho Drive By

After a heavy does of Tylenol, he hosted the show, which was indeed more damaging to the Rajneeshee reputation than the previous episodes. In the face of criticism from detractors, the Rajneeshees often broke into loud, disconcerting laughter, and at one point responded to an angry local by bursting into song.”  (Jack Faust’s response in ending the chanting was, “This show is not a musical!”)

**** Note

My friend, Brian Doyle, author and University of Portland’s editor of their award-winning magazine, Portland, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  After surgery, he is recuperating at home under the care of his wife, Mary.   Whether Brian will be able to return to work is uncertain and his friends have started a “Go-Fund-Me” site to help with the costs of his recuperation.

The response so far has been good and if you want to contribute to this worthwhile effort, use the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/betenderandlaugh

The Godfather, Dwight Jaynes —Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

linked-in

“I’ve only known Dwight Jaynes for a little more than 40 years, so I’m still learning about the guy. But as far as I can tell, there’s never been a multi-media person of his caliber in the Portland area. Newspaper, radio, television — Dwight has done it all, and with a far higher degree of sensibility and skill and acumen than almost anybody else.

When they put together the Portland Sports Media Hall of Fame — and it’s high time for that to happen — Dwight will be a charter member.”

Long-time friend and co-author, Kerry Eggers

Long-time friend and co-author, Kerry Eggers

The quote above was authored this month by one of Oregon’s journalism icons – Kerry Eggers in response to a request I made about Dwight Jaynes for this blog.  Dwight is usually identified by the moniker – “The Godfather.”  And what is the background behind this effusive quote from his long-time friend.   Well, the evidence is pretty compelling.

Let’s start with Dwight’s 2010 induction to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and being named as Oregon Sportswriter of the Year five separate times.   (Eggers has also garnered the accolade five times himself.)

 

He has made his mark both as a reporter and editor in the print media, become a familiar presence on radio as a talk-show co-host and analyst and one of the four regular commentators on the Talkin Ball television show following each Portland Trailblazer broadcast on Comcast.   His one-on-one interviews on Comcast’s “Posting Up” with such sports luminaries as Charles Barkley, Phil Knight, Bill Walton and wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper  were also notable.

Dwight at induction to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame

Dwight at induction to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame

In recent years, he’s also made the move to social media with a blog on Comcast and a new podcast with a creative moniker – “The Podfather’s Godcast.”   Oh, and don’t forget his two books – one of which (Against the World) was coauthored with Eggers and the other – The Long Hot Winter – was a collaboration with former Portland Trailblazer player and coach, Rick Adelman.

k-signTo interview Dwight for the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, I suggested a venue for our  lunch that both of us knew well – the Kingston – right across from Providence Park – and most recently known for the after-game celebrations by Portland State Football Coach, Bruce Barnum, who would buy everybody in the house a beer after one of PSU’s victories in his first year (up to a  $500 tab….).

Lunch Interview at the Kingston

Lunch at the Kingston

Kerry Eggers’ quote aptly summarizes why I wanted to “honor” The Godfather as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – a Portland native – he graduated from Cleveland High School in 1965.

Most of the narrative will be on Dwight as an interesting guy who cares a lot about his family, his thoughts about his profession and Portland and what he thinks about topics you may not find in articles about him.

And as some background, my past quarterly Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter awards have gone to athletes, military heroes, authors, academicians – most of whom I have met, but not all – for example, the crew of the USS Constitution for their 1798  war cruise.   The person or group “honored” may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars.

Such is the case with Dwight, who told me that he never drinks.  “I used to spend a lot of time in Frank Peters’ Grand Café and the Peters’ Inn downtown when I worked for the Oregon Journal and The Oregonian, because colleagues would congregate there into the wee hours.” 

543442_10151163976179486_1616489476_n-750-sports-talk Although I was well aware of who he was based on his thirty + years as a columnist for the Oregon Journal, the Oregonian and then as the inaugural editor of the Portland Tribune, I first met Dwight based on a failed bid to have lunch with him as part of a benefit in 2010 which radio station 750 -The Game, was sponsoring to help victims of the terrible earthquake in Haiti.   He was then co-host of the morning show with Chad Doing and Antonio Harvey.

I bid $75 and left on a business trip to Chicago. Upon returning, I called and learned the bad news, but decided not to give up.  I enjoyed his insightful columns and his candid conversation on the air about everything from the Blazers to why Portland does not have a Major League baseball team.

So I got his e-mail address and told him that although my bid didn’t make the cut, I would donate a similar amount in his name if he joined me for lunch. After all, a mid-60’s Cleveland grad and a 1966 Oregon City High School grad might have some common interests.  His response was, “You don’t have to do that, I’d be happy to meet you for lunch.” 

waynetwitchell-187x300

Wayne Twitchell – threw a mean fast ball even when he played for Wilson High

From my perspective, that lunch was great – we talked about high school sports figures from that era – Dwight had a great story about facing Wayne Twitchell – the 6’5″ 1966 Wilson High grad who was a fast-balling right-handed pitcher and basketball player for the Trojans.  (It involves being the last batter to face him when Twitchell threw a no-hitter.)

Twitchell went on to pitch for five teams during his ten years in the Major Leagues including one All-Star game appearance in 1973.

Noted Oregon Journal sports columnist, George Pasero

Noted Oregon Journal sports columnist, George Pasero

The Godfather’s anecdotes from working with the icons in sports journalism such as George PaseroLeo Davis and L.H. Gregory,  are fascinating and could fill another book.

About a year passed and a few more lunches and I asked Dwight for a favor. I was working then as the Chief Operating Officer at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm.   Given a number of high-profile Oregon sports issues at that time and his reputation as a journalist and media personality, I  thought our clients would be interested in hearing about his story and opinions about the changing role of the media in sports. schwabe logo

Based on the response from staff when we announced it, we decided to open it to firm personnel as well.  Well, our largest conference room which seated about 120 people, was filled to capacity.

microphone-2Since it was my idea, I was designated to introduce him and his characteristic modesty was typical in my response for information on his background – a two sentence e-mail……That meant I got to do the research and there was no shortage of information since even seven years ago, the search term, “Dwight Jaynes” generated 66,000 hits on Google, including this one by a colleague: 

“To call Dwight Jaynes, Oregon’s Godfather of professional sports reporting would not be an exaggeration.  Dwight has sports – and Oregon – in his blood…..and also in his resume.”

In addition to his resume and awards in articles in the Web, there were plenty of opinions on his work since he is known for his candid and sometimes blunt opinions of the actors and organizations involved in Oregon sports.  According to an Eggers’ quote in a story he wrote about him in the Tribune, Dwight in his acceptance speech at the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame induction stated: “During my career, I’ve offended just about everybody……I’ve had the opportunity and I’ve taken advantage of it.”11210511_943586342366076_862263819731128367_n-talkin-ball

For example, in a 2001 article in Willamette Week about his new job as founding Editor of the Tribune, two on-line commenters lamented:

“Dang, I’ll miss Dwight. He’s a great journalist and columnist.  He always points out the not so obvious, even if it reveals the painful truth.”

“I hope he surfaces soon so he can do what he does best – observe, research and report.”

To which another reader – a guy named Bob, who obviously didn’t like some of his opinions, responded:

“Good riddance.  Jaynes sucks…..!”

The Godfather - Dwight Jaynes -- Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

The Godfather – Dwight Jaynes — Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Well The Godfather was supposed to speak for about 45 minutes at Schwabe that day, but because of the reaction of the audience and considerable number of follow-up questions, he finally was able to get out of there for an interview with Phil Knight at Nike that afternoon after at least and hour and one-quarter.   (And based on the reactions of both clients, attorneys and staff, I was a hero for suggesting the idea for which his honorarium was a bottle of wine…..)

Below are the highlights of our conversation at the Kingston:

Beerchaser:  Okay, let’s get this one resolved early on – How did you get the moniker, “The Godfather,” which seems to be used more these days than “Dwight”?

Godfather: It was about ten years ago when I was working at 95.5 The Game, on the morning show with Chad Doing.   Gavin Dawson, who was the host and now works at CBS radio in Dallas, came up with the label, but initially I didn’t like it.   My brother, however, who has pretty good instincts, told me to “ride it out” and that it was workingIt stuck.

Beerchaser:  You worked with a lot of Northwest legends in sports writing.  Who was the best and who was your favorite?

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Sportswriter Bob Robinson

Godfather:  Leo Davis was the best followed closely by Ken Wheeler, who helped me a lot.  Bob Robinson was the best basketball writer and could remember the score of every game he covered.

And writing for the Oregonian in those days was great.   We covered sports and the news very well.  I was able to travel to every major sporting event that I wanted to cover.  (Beerchaser comment:  Those days are unfortunately gone and on one of the four days of the week a subscriber can get home delivery of The Oregonian, the delivery person almost needs to tie a rock to the paper to have enough bulk to throw it…..)

Not afraid to "tell it like it is."

Not afraid to “tell it like it is.”

Beerchaser:  You are known for your candor in writing and broadcasting and willingness to take a position where most of the younger crew throw “softballs” and hold back criticism, evidently to preserve relationships and sources.  An example was your criticism of Mo Cheeks when he coached the Blazers and you were one of the few, if only Portland writers, pointing out his deficiencies as a coach.   Comment on this.

Godfather:  “Telling it like it is,”  didn’t used to be rare as is the case now.   I’ve been around long enough, where it’s expected.  We never used to be friends with the people we covered and now that’s not the case with many in the profession.  The people we covered weren’t our friends for obvious reasons.

In some respects, it’s like the current relationships on the field or on the court.  In fact, I have seen members of the opposite NBA team go over and try to calm down an opposing player when he objects to a call to prevent his opponent from getting a technical and a fine.  That’s a change from the past.  (Beerchaser comment:  Yeah remember Bill Laimbeer and the Detroit Pistons playing the Trailblazers….)

Beerchaser:   What’s your favorite sport to cover?

10400659_131828648784_4116729_n-terry-porterGodfather:  Baseball, then hockey and basketball, although I really have little interest in the NCAA and don’t watch college basketball.  I really enjoyed covering the Portland WinterHawks.

 

Interviewing former Oregon State Beaver football coach, Mike Riley

Interviewing former Oregon State Beaver football coach, Mike Riley

Beerchaser:   What was your best interview and some of the most memorable?  The worst?

GodfatherCharles Barkley for “Postin Up” (http://www.csnnw.com/dwight-jaynesposting-brand-new-show) was my favorite and the best.   He’s an amazing guy.  (We didn’t get to broadcast if for a long time after it occurred because of the delay in getting his waiver signed and returned….)   Magic Johnson and Carl Malone were also great to interview.

Not surprising - best interview!

Not surprising – best interview!

 

Pistol Pete in 1967 - great basketball vision, but poor interview....

Pistol Pete in 1967 – great basketball vision, but poor interview….

The worst was Pistol Pete Maravich early in his professional career with the New Orleans Jazz.  (I then was able to relate my own Pistol Pete story of seeing him after standing in line all night outside Gill Coliseum in Corvallis when LSU played the Beavers on December 22, 1969.)

“It was basketball, Maravich style, replete with 45 personal fouls, seven technical fouls, 68 free-throw attempts, a fight, a player ejection and a crowd of 10,388 captivated by it all.” 

Legendary ref, Frank Buckiewicz, officiated and when the fight between LSU’s forward, Lou Sanders and the Beavs guard, Vince Fritz, started, OSU’s Football Coach, Dee Andros The Great Pumpkin –  came flying out of the stands to try to break it up.  https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Classic+basketball+bout.-a0156085283

Beerchaser:  Your favorite and most respected coaches?

Godfather:   My favorite coach was my Cleveland High baseball coach, Jack Dunn, who is 86 and still lives in Portland. http://portlandtribune.com/bnw/21-news/195802-home-run-hero-jack-dunn.

Legendary baseball coach, Jack Dunn

Legendary baseball coach, Jack Dunn

Jack Ramsey was not only a superb and unique coach, but a Renaissance Man and amazing human being.  When the Trailblazers were in New York, Jack would take in a Broadway play(s) whenever he could.

Mouse Davis, the great Portland State Football coach, also rates very highly based on the breadth of his career and his record – not only did he play football, but his outstanding coaching record in high school (Hillsboro, Sunset and Milwaukie: 79-29 combined record including a State Championship at Hillsboro), college at PSU and Hawaii, and the pros (World League of American Football, the US Football League, Arena Football League, NFL and Canadian Football League). Beerchaser comment: In fact, speaking of Godfathers, “Davis is now widely regarded as the ‘godfather’ of the run and shoot offense.” Wikipedia

Mouse Davis when he coached at PSU

Coach Darrell “Mouse” Davis when he coached at PSU

Beerchaser: I know that baseball seems to be your favorite sport.  Not only have you covered it, but you also played it at Cleveland, helped coach at PSU and worked for the Portland Beavers in their heyday.   Give us some stream of consciousness thoughts about baseball.

Godfather: Some people say, “It’s an old man’s sport,” but it’s big money and very successful on TV.  It’s really one of the last pro sports that most millennials can affordably attend.  Besides, it’s a spectator sport where you can both watch and also interact and have a good conversation with the people you’re there with.  For example, going to a minor league game at the Hillsboro ballpark where the Hillsboro Hops play is a wonderful experience.

Portland should have a major league baseball team, but nobody wants to stand up and be an owner.  (Dwight has also talked in some of our previous lunches about the failure of the City of Portland to show leadership in bringing a major league team to the Rose City.)   The City will not build an acceptable facility like the municipalities who have teams.  That also raised another issue on which he has a strong opinion: “The Memorial Coliseum should be torn down or recycled to create a new facility.  It is not workable as an arena.”

Beerchaser:  Tell us about your family.

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Dwight, daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter

Godfather: My son, Will, is a law enforcement officer for the National Park Service at Great Smokey National Park and his wife, Molly,  also works there for the National Park Service.

My daughter, Elizabeth Kulp, lives in Indiana, is raising three kids and is the owner of a small business.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.

Beerchaser:  You’ve collaboratively written two successful books.  In fact, I checked, and you can still get them at Amazon and on the “sale” table at Powell’s – albeit at a pretty cheap price…..! Tell us about them and any more in the pipeline?

With co-author Kerry Eggers

With co-author Kerry Eggers

Against the World: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Portland Trail Blazers Chase for the NBA Championship – November, 1992 (Co-authored by Kerry Eggers)

 The Long, Hot Winter: A Year in the Life of the Portland Trail Blazers – January, 1992 (Co-authored by Rick Adelman) 
With co-author Rick Adelman

With co-author Rick Adelman

Godfather: There is no money in writing a book and it is a grind.  Kerry and I alternated chapters in the second one.   The book with Rick was written in one month due to the need to get it published while people were still interested.  We transcribed reams of Rick’s dictation and notes, which had to edited and fact-checked to meet the Christmas deadline.
I just might have another book, but it would be a novel – a newspaper-related story reflecting the unique and funny people working for that type of organization.
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Beerchaser:  You’ve talked at some of our lunches about rules changes you would make in the NBA and I think those reading this might be interested in two of them that are kind of unusual.  You know what they are….
Godfather:  They should prohibit the hand slaps or high-fives after a missed free-throw by a teammate because of the amount of time it takes and because it is essentially a meaningless and robotic gesture.  If they are going to be allowed, maybe it’s okay after a player makes the free-throw….
The flop rule implemented in 2012 has had some problems.  It’s pretty subjective when a referee calls a flopping violation resulting in a $5,000 fine for the player after the second violation.  The NBA should review each flop violation after the game and if the referee blew the call, he or she should pay the fine instead.
Beerchaser:  Any final thoughts on your career?
Godfather“The journalism and broadcasting business has changed so much, especially with the presence of social media.  But I understand it, have adapted and love what I do.  My cell phone is a primary tool in the job and makes life a lot easier.  I never thought I would have a personal answering machine…)”
**********
Dwight Jaynes, based on his wide-ranging professional accomplishments, deserves the title, Godfather, but he is also a great guy with a sense of humility and humor.   Check out his blog and his podcast at CSN.

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Boating ith noted blogger, Jack Bogdanski

Boating with noted blogger, Jack Bogdanski

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June 2016 Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter — Oboist Kelly Gronli

Kelly Gronli

Kelly Gronli is a wonderful mom and a professional musician who has assiduously worked on her craft since she was ten – she’s also a superb music teacher and the newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  See her remarkable story below.

800px-Oboe_modernI was privileged to first meet her four years ago – about one year after I retired.   I played the oboe for three years in junior high, but gave it up because of the conflict with high school athletics.   At the Marylhurst University Annual Dinner in 2012, I asked Dr. John Paul, Director of Music, if they had any adjunct faculty members who were oboe instructors.

Thus began my relationship with this extraordinary musician who is the Principal Oboe for the Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Eugene Symphony and frequently plays in Oregon Symphony appearances.

After Kelly switched from piano to oboe

After Kelly switched from piano to oboe

Her musical talents first surfaced when she was three and asserted, “Mom, it’s about time we girls started playing the piano!”  Those lessons started the musical journey that saw her Advanced Band instructor relent after he initially said, “No you didn’t!” Kelly showed him that she had, in fact, memorized the complete major and minor scales.  

Kelly’s mom was her mentor and manager and found both the orchestras and bands in which Kelly played through junior high and high school.  She started going to summer music camp at age 11 at the Sewanee Music Festival on the campus of University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee – her summer routine for five years.

I have learned in my lessons when Kelly hums or sings an excerpt in dulcet tones from a piece I am trying to learn, that she also has a strong and beautiful singing voice.  Perhaps this was honed by her youthful roles in such productions as “The Music Man” when she was in grade school as illustrated below.

A leading role in "The Music Man" while in middle school.

A leading role in “The Music Man” while in grade school.

Her music instructors opened doors and she graduated from high school one year early so she could go to music conservatory at Harid Conservatory – at age 16.  Tuition was by scholarship and the only cost was for housing.

She was the youngest of about 60 students of which about 80% were gifted foreign students.  She lived on campus in Boca Raton, Florida, a distance from her home in Vienna, Virginia. (Harid is now a school of ballet.)  She majored in Music Performance and during the summers she performed at embassies in the Washington DC area.

A "young" Kelly at a recital while at Hared Conservatory

A “young” Kelly at a recital while at Sewanee – University of the South

Next came graduate school in the Chicago area (Evanston) at Northwestern University where she worked on her Master’s Degree in Music:

“The woodwinds program of Northwestern University has a long and distinguished history – it combines the study of performance, pedagogy, music theory, music history, and scholarly research and writing.”

She achieved this goal in one year when she was just over twenty (while part-time waitressing) and her Master’s recital featured the challenging Oboe Concerto by Richard Strauss (Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra).  The video below is the First Movement in Saint Saen’s Oboe Sonata – one of the other pieces played in that recital.  (You may have to turn your volume up slightly for this first video. The videos below are YouTube and you may have to left-click on the square to engage the video)

Another example of her ability to make beautiful music with the oboe is exemplified by one of my favorite hymns I asked her to play spontaneously at one of my lessons:

A weekend trip with a friend to the University of Wisconsin at Madison is where she first laid eyes on Patrick, the guy who would become her future spouse (now of twelve years).  

Kelly and Patrick (he also plays the drums)

Kelly and Patrick (he also plays the drums)

While living in Evanston, she decided to audition for Second Oboe in the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra – a part-time position in which she competed with nineteen other people to win the chair.

I was curious about what constitutes an audition for such a position so I asked Kelly about the typical audition experience she labels as “expensive, stressful and difficult.”

“An audition is run in rounds. The first round or preliminary round is always blind or behind a curtain. Each candidate is assigned a number and everyone plays the same pieces usually comprised of a portion of a solo work (almost always the exposition of the Mozart oboe concerto, for an oboe audition) and a few excerpts from orchestral works.

People usually play for about 10 minutes. The audition committee will then make cuts and decide who they want to hear again. If there aren’t many candidates to begin with the second round could end up being the final round or the committee can decide to hear just a couple of candidates again. Sometimes candidates will be asked questions during the finals, usually inquiring about moving to a new city or something on their resume. An audition can last 1 day or a few days depending on the number of candidates.  

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra

Tacoma Symphony Orchestra

Well, she was awarded the position and she and Patrick moved to Tacoma where Kelly also became the Principal Oboe in the Bellvue Philharmonic Orchestra.  Waitressing duties at  a Ruby Tuesday restaurant  also were on the agenda and meant she was able to spend time around people besides musicians….

A move to Portland came next to balance the distance between Tacoma and Eugene after Kelly, in a competition with twenty-five people, became  Principal Oboe in the Eugene Symphony.  By that time she was giving oboe lessons to about fifteen adult and younger students.  While in Portland, Kelly soon began to sub in the Oregon Ballet under Director and Conductor, Neil De Pointe.

The English Horn - larger than an oboe but still double reed

The English Horn – neither English nor a horn….

Adding to her resume were some appearances as a sub in the Oregon Symphony under new Musical Director Karlos Calmar, playing the English Horn – another instrument in the Kelly Gronli arsenal……(You will hear her play it in two of the duets below.)  She also became a good friend with Oregon Symphony Assistant Principal Oboe, Karen Wagner.

Meanwhile, Patrick graduated magna cum laude in Geography from Portland State University and the couple got married in 2004 – five years and one day after they met in Madison.  He now works for Northwest Natural Gas Co.

Another successful audition and Kelly’s resume now included Principal Oboe for the Portland Opera in addition to continuing similar positions with the Eugene Symphony and the Oregon Ballet – while still teaching.  In her “spare time” she was elected as a Director on the Executive Board of Musician’s Union Local 99.

12313527_10153164283550658_365572813242749224_nIn 2011, Kelly and Patrick welcomed their first child, Dane, who I know from my interactions with him during the last four years as a delightful and personable five-year old, who loves his new sister, Piper, their daughter who just turned one-year old in May.

Piper - one year old

Piper – one year old

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Kelly with Yitzhak Perlman

It is a privilege to have an instructor, who is not only a gifted communicator, but also has such extensive experience ranging from playing under Director John Williams on multiple occasions, but has also appeared with such luminaries as the world’s pre-eminent violinist, Yitzhak Perlman (three times); cellist, Yo Yo Ma, Marvin Hamlisch in addition to playing in the orchestra during appearances by Roberta Flack, Ray Charles and Debbie Reynolds.

Another highlight was playing with Phish’s  (Patrick’s favorite rock band) guitarist, composer and vocalist, Trey Anastasio, when he played at the Oregon Symphony.  Patrick also plays the drums in his own band.

Phisch

Kelly with Trey Anastasio of Phish

And while Kelly’s musical career has been noteworthy, balancing her part-time positions in different cities, motivating her students with continued admonitions – if I’m typical…… (“sit up straight, breathe from your diaphragm, look ahead at the notes in the music, fix your embouchure, sit up straight…..”) and being a good parent is a continuing balancing act.

Asked to identify her most stressful moments, she immediately offered two – Playing a concert with the Eugene Symphony while suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy.  After the performance she burst into tears and went to the Emergency Room.

  • Playing a concert in Eugene while she was nine-months pregnant because there was no back-up oboe in the Eugene Symphony at that time (the baby was delivered the next day).

The most traumatic occurrence dates back to Feburary 11, 2007 when she and two Eugene Symphony colleagues (Kjersten Oquist and Angela Svendsen) were commuting back to Portland late one Sunday evening after a rehearsal in Eugene.  A woman, who was later convicted of manslaughter, DUI and assault, collided head-on with their vehicle near Albany after the woman drove the wrong direction in the northbound lane of I-5.   Kelly’s two colleagues were both killed in the resulting collision. The driver received a sixteen-year prison sentence.

Kelly the craftsperson at work on a reed..

Kelly the craftsperson at work on a reed..

Kelly also is a craftsperson, of sorts, since she makes oboe reeds for her own use and that of her students.  The oboe is one of the few woodwinds (besides the bassoon and the English horn) that employs a double reed.

This idiosyncratic mouthpiece “consists of two pieces of cane fastened together with an opening at the tip (which are) fastened to a metal tube, the lower half of which is normally surrounded by a piece of piece of cork.”   (The tube is inserted into small opening at the top of the instrument.)  WikipediaOboe_Reed

Oboe reeds are only 7 millimeters in width and very fragile and temperamental leading to the joke: “How may oboists does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Twenty, because they will have to try that many to find one that works for them.” 

How many oboists to screw in a light-bulb...?

How many oboists to screw in a light-bulb…?

The “temperament” of the oboe reed and the very specific structure of the “embouchure” (the way in which a player holds the reed in his or her mouth) may be one reason why learning to play an oboe is so difficult and the sound emanating can range from “horrific to hand sculpted by an angelwith no middle ground whatsoever.”

While at times Thebeerchaser has reflected that trying to re-learn the oboe in retirement is a fool’s errand, it has been a worthwhile experience.  After all, I met an inspirational instructor, friend and superb professional musician in Kelly Gronli.

The highlights were appearances in the last two years at the Pittock Mansion during the Christmas holidays, when at Kelly’s urging, four of us (Pianist, Faith Carter; Flutist, Sarah Rose and Kelly and I on oboe) played one of the two-hour gigs the Mansion offers to volunteer musicians while visitors are touring the impressive dwelling.

From l to r - Sarah Rose, Santa, Don Williams, Faith Carter and Kelly Gronli

From l to r – Sarah Rose, Santa, Don Williams, Faith Carter and Kelly Gronli

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Before the first appearance in 2014, Kelly advised me that eating a banana would help with nerves.  She was correct although I have to admit to supplementing that fruit with a shot of vodka before I left the house (I wanted a vegetable extract too…..)

To listen to one of the lighter numbers we played at the Pittock during our last practice session, click on the video below:

And finally, two short duets (oboe and English horn) with Kelly and one of her students………..whose motivation to re-learn the oboe has significantly increased his affinity to drink beer!

You will see and hear more from Kelly Gronli as she continues to teach and entertain classical musical fans throughout the Northwest in the coming years.  Raise a mug to the newest Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter!

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