Minnesingers say thanks


To the Editor:

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) Minnesingers and I wish to thank everyone who contributed to a successful and fun Minnesinger Homecoming and auction Friday evening at Atria. The members of the Minnesinger parents’ group, especially members of the auction committee (Beth Hayes, Mary Alice Russell, and Gayle Poggi), worked tirelessly to organize both the auction and the reunion of former Minnesingers. Parents and Minnesingers gathered auction items which the Island community so generously contributed.

Parents Debra Grant, Sofya Nadelstein, and Esther Teves greeted everyone graciously at the door, passing out music-themed auction paddles and programs. Parent and former Minnesinger Molly Conole put together a program of music, featuring former and current Minnesingers, which kept the auctiongoers entertained throughout the evening, as did the lively banter of emcees, former Minnesinger Ken Romero and current Minnesinger Ben Nadelstein. Others whose efforts made this event possible include Bill Russell, Bob Dutton, Tanya Koch, Tom Engley, Margaret D’Angelo, Barney Zeitz, Laura Roosevelt, Jack Livingston, Adam Hayes, Emily Meegan, Sue Dawson, Jenn Weiland, Colleen McAndrews, Tsa McCord, Karen Overtoom, Mary Ellen McElroy, Grace Collins, Cindy Grant, Patti Grant, Margaret Mirko, and Kara Merry.

In the culminating performances, former director Robert Nute conducted all the Minnesingers, who represented five decades of the group, in Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” followed by a rousing rendition of the spiritual “Ain’t That Good News,” directed by current conductor Janis Wightman; and Molly Conole led everyone in “Dear Old Martha’s Vineyard,” written by Thomas J. Ryan in 1914. Accompanist Nancy Rogers was, as always, invaluable on the keyboard. Minnesinger stage manager Jeff Caruthers transported and manned the sound system, and Geoff Patterson, Brad Austin, Mike Cassidy, and Jeff Fisher helped bring needed equipment from the high school. Christian and Greer Thornton and the staff of Atria provided a lovely setting as well as delicious appetizers, and parent Leslie Hewson’s spectacular desserts were enjoyed by everyone.

A special thank-you to Matt d’Andrea and Richard Smith, school superintendent and assistant superintendent, and former superintendent James Weiss for joining the festivities; and my particular appreciation to current and former Minnesingers, some of whom traveled from off-Island, for providing a unique evening of music, memories, and fun. As always, thanks to the members of our Island community for their continued support of this wonderful group of students and parents. We all look forward to making the reunion an annual event. Don’t miss it next year!

Janis Wightman

Minnesinger director