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Blame these institutes of learning for the man I am today

The Grade School Years

It all started with St Michael the Archangel in the Back of the Yards
neighborhood in Chicago. It was a small school back then (non existent now
as the school portion of the parish closed in 1993) so it was easy to join groups
at an earlier age then in other schools I think. My brother and I were altar boys for the
longest time, including taking our turn with the Slovak mass said every sunday back
then. As Grobarcik IS a Slovak name you'd think we could follow along, but alas, we were not a
multi-lingual household or anything! Nowadays the church's alternative language of choice is spanish.
I would not really fare much better there, despite my supposed 4 years of learning that language,
but I am digressing already. I started in band in 2nd grade and spent a couple of years on trumpet
before splitting a year with a french horn and baritone and finally getting fitted for my first tuba.
Much as I'd like to link like crazy to those years, I've got bupkus right now, sorry!

After 6th grade it was on to St Christina in the Mt Greenwood area.
At that point my Irish side was among friends, especially come March.
I was hoping that one bright spot of the move would be that I could move back to trumpet again when
I joined the band there. Unfortunately I made the mistake of mentioning to Mr Manna, the band teacher, that I
did in fact know how to play the tuba and there was no escape. After time of course I grew to be ok with
that :-).

Hunting around I did dig up what claims to be a St Christina Alumni webpage. Its rather
sparse, but I did submit my name to add to the list and of course have linked it here.
Guess we'll see if that helps bring people together there.

In the meantime, enjoy this fine little bit of nostalgia ... click for a bigger version

The High School Years

Continuing on in catholic education track, I went to Marist High School
as a member of the class of 1990. Back then it was a boys only school, but in 2002 they became coed the
lucky bastages.

Other Band Alums
Bob Maiers (Tuba) - MIA 2 previous links I had for him have gone bye-bye ... help me internet, you're my only hope!
Neal Barshes (Tuba) Apparently the fastest scalpel in the west now!
Ted Novak (Baritone) Catch him on WGN Radio
Chris Fusco - The Gift (Baritone) Read his article on donating part of his liver.
After that, read some of his other articles over at the Sun Times
Erik Kantz (Clarinet / Drum Major / VP) Now a friendly neighborhood lawyer
Jon Harmening (Trumpet / Drum Major) - Check him out in action (look for that tell tale goatee) in the Bagpipes & Drums of the Emerald Society
Chris Lihosit (Clarinet) Formerly deceased, now risen from the dead
Kevin Sheehan (Saxophone) Now playing Sax for the Glenn Miller Orchestra
Dave Nommensen (Trumpet) Asst Band Director for Lemont HS
Eric Pancer (Percussion) Sys admin and Percussionist, as well as a prolific photographer!

Other HS Alums
Gerald Beeson - Making it big and still making it to Turkey Bowl
Rob Creighton - Radio man currently with 97.3 Yes FM in Lubbock, TX

[Manna WAY back in the day] [Frank in the seat of power]

With the end of the 2006 school year Frank Manna officially retired from the Marist Band
after 42 years at the school. I was fortunate enough to have attended
the last couple of concerts in the spring. Its interesting to see how little
changes over the years. They played a song that we played our senior year (check out our version of
Blast From The Past). Of course the night ended with the
Marist Fight Song, albeit with slightly different lyrics then back in my day.
I was disappointed to have no dixieland song though ... but thats just the tuba player in me always looking
for any reason to see a tuba guy in front of the band playing with a little ensemble :-)
Feel free to take a listen to our senior group playing a little Dixieland Jam.

Anyway, articles such as these written by Chris for the Suntimes and this one
appearing at The Reporter can give you an insight in to Frank and his legacy. I also ran across a
radio show that you can listen to with an interview with Frank
and 2 seniors from the class of 2006.

Speaking of band ... check out the masterpiece of of all senior pep band programs ...
the Tuba Tribune.

[Me playing director - Spring 1989]
Here's a pic of me in my first official duty as band president,
directing the school fight song - Spring Concert 1989

[Manna - 95 Man of the Year]
Our band director, Frank Manna, receiving the Man of the Year in 1995.

[1990 Bandsmen in 1995]
Fellow 1990 classmates - Lumpy, Me, McNulty, Patula, Kantz,
Mucha, Harmening, and Fusco

While random googling I ran across a posting of our NYC band tour from 1990.
Go check out our appearance in the NYC St Patricks Day Parade.
[Me and the tuba - 19990]

Another influential person in terms of what would be in store for the rest of my life
was Bro Hanshumaker. He was the teacher of all the computer classes I took in high school
and gave me my first job working in the office at the school and being a TA for the summer
classes that I had already taken. You can learn more about Bro Hanshumaker (as I did!) in
a Eulogy from Richard Foy's site on the history of the Marist Brothers
in Esopus NY.
[Hansy WAY back in the day]

I am also a graduate of the [Chief!] University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign.

We went to see the football team play the 2002 Sugar Bowl
as well as the 2008 Rose Bowl.
So far we apparently haven't been good luck while traveling to bowl games ...

Here are some more U of I links that may interest you ...
FightingIllini.com (Athletics)
College of Engineering
U of I Bands
Chief Illiniwek in 'Three In One'
Final Chief Performance

I've been hunting for some of the roomies from college ... so far not a lot out there
for you guys.
Kevin Paur - Geez forget upcoming nuptials ... man has a couple of kids now! Update Greg :-)
Chad Wohlrab - Still making those cold things up in a cold state
Ed Capua - Talk to him about YOUR leasing needs. Ed is officially the first to give
me grief about going bald. He apparently has eagle eyes when it comes to that thing (its not so hard to spot nowadays). Thanks Ed!
Brian Jordan - Roomie along with Maurice for freshman year in our cozy
little triple, now band director and out performer in the Denver Pops in CO