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IC Noon Rotary Stories
Posted by Shawn Reineke on Dec 09, 2016
The following new member proposals have completed their application for membership. If you have feedback; this is needed by December 22nd.
Elena Osinskaya (Usha Balakrishnan) Education: Academic Administration
Erik Mickalson (Jody Braverman) Insurance: Commercial
Minda Hamann (Tom Cilek & Jim Conard) Banking: Commercial
The following announcements were made at the Rotary meeting on December 8 as we were welcomed with music provided by 3rd, 4th & 5th graders from The Tiffin Beat Xylophone Group and their teacher, Paul Corbiere.
Rtn. Bill Olin invited us to First Methodist Church at 1:30pm this afternoon for Christmas Carols.
Rtn. Trisha Smith invited Rotarians to volunteer for the Salvation Army for Johnson County on the Rotary Ring Day on December 10 or another day of the members’ choice. Trisha also announced the Toys for Tots Campaign. Trisha announced that she helped 500 families register last week for Toys for Tots. She then shared a story about one application in particular. At the 50th application, she noticed the applicant wasn’t saying anything, when asked what’s going on? This family member confided that they were a family who donated to Toys for Tots, but now find themselves in a very different situation. Lost jobs are now their reality. Trisha now understands what happens on the other side of that box. The joy and impact of a donation is huge and genuine. Trisha expressed great gratitude for donations because it really does make a difference.
Rtn. John Gross reiterated the impact of our donations for Toys for Tots. 500 families served, means it will help 1000+ kids. “Please give because it feels good, thank you!”
Rtn. John Culshaw introduced his colleages at the University of Iowa Libraries: Greg Prickman and Margaret Gamm. President Usha took the opportunity to especially thank John, Greg, and Margaret for their efforts at organizing an excellent curated tour of the Shakespeare First Folio Exhibit at the University of Iowa Main Library on Sep. 8—exactly 3 months ago! The couple of dozen of us Rotarians who participated found it most interesting and magical that day—so, thank you! As Club Rotarians will recall, John Culshaw was the kick-off speaker as Usha’s presidency year began six months ago on the theme of Making Rotary a favored Third for all professionals (retired and active) in the Iowa City Area. John and Tim Walch will now collaborate on a Presidential Roast in June 2017 when Usha’s presidency year comes to a close!
Immediate Past President Thais Winkleblack introduced the program speakers with words that highlighted the large and expanding community impact of West Music.
Rtn. Steve West, with West Music President, Robin Walenta, and Rtn. and West Music Senior Vice-President Ryan West presented.
Steve gave a brief history on the last 75 years within the family business. He shared photos dating back to 1896 which included his Great Grandpa West and a photo from 1929 featuring The West Family Band. Steve’s father, Pearl helped to form West-Peterson Music in 1941 in a location in downtown Iowa City. Pearl repaired instruments and taught music at City High. The first West Music Store on Dubuque Street, repaired many accordions, the hot musical instrument of the time. The store moved to their 2nd location in 1962. In the 1970’s they opened a store in Sycamore Mall and shortly thereafter the Coralville store opened, becoming the company headquarters.
West Music became the exclusive distributor for Miyazawa Flutes in 1980’s. Also in the 80’s West Music began distributing their catalog to all high schools in the US. Steve West is celebrating his 47th year in the business. A couple of career highlights include meeting with Sir Elton John, Naomi Judd and being on the Sesame Street production set. However, most rewarding is his work to help children enjoy music.
President/CEO of West Music, Robin Walenta discussed present day West Music. West Music employs 209 passionate associates. These associates represent 1608 years of service. The West Music culture is 2-part; to cultivate community & advocate for arts/service. West Music won the Give Back Iowa Award for medium sized companies in 2015. Today West Music is found in 7 locations across eastern Iowa and western Illinois.
It was tremendously exciting to learn that in 2017, Robin will become the first female president of the NAMM-National Association of Music Merchants. Hearty congratulations to Robin from all our Club Rotarians!!
Ryan West reported that 925 schools are served by road representatives driving 4 days each week to help with instrument repairs and deliveries. The company has expanded their online presense allowing for world-wide engagement with over 1 million website visits. Their 40,000 sq foot distribution center is located near Lowes in Coralville. The West Music goal is to be sure all customers, however they choose to interact with West Music, have a great experience. West Music sells to 78 different countries. They have sold 6.5 million recorders in the last 10 years which makes West Music the world’s largest reseller of their #1 selling product. Shaker eggs are also a top seller. Lesson programs are offered to support success with music education. They teach over 100,000 lessons each year. West Music serves 1000 clients through Music Therapy. Ryan West reported that, “civic engagement and partnership is key to our success.” He believes that “we are as strong as our community”. They work to find ways to bring music education to the community and they look forward to next 75 years.
The program concluded with a musical sing-along and drum-circle facilitated by Melissa Blum: The Jingle Bell Jam! Rotarians had so much fun!
CONCLUSION: President Usha thanked Steve, Robin, and Ryan for their excellent program at our Club. She expressed special thanks to the children in the Tiffin Beat Xylophone Group and their teacher Paul Corbiere and their Principal Dan Dvorak for taking the time and enthusiasm to provide such meaningful entertainment for Rotarians during the festive month of December! In particular, President Usha thanks Steve West and West Music staff for all their efforts in making the program so very special and fun for all and bringing in not only the musical instruments for such a participatory type of program but also having music facilitators available—THANK YOU!
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