President Jennifer Hara called the meeting to order at 12:30 pm, leading American citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance.  She called on Tom Kern for the words of inspiration.  Tom spoke about Jim Thorpe who was considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports and won Olympic gold medals in 1912, played American collegiate and professional football, and also played professional baseball and basketball.  He was voted greatest athlete of the 20th century in an ABC Sports poll of fans.
Secretary Haleh Vaziri then introduced the following guests and visitors:
  • Raven Canty, sales representative at Reliable Churchill, Abrahem Helal's guest
  • Solomia Gorouhivska, musician, Natalie Korytnyk Forrester's guest
  • Dr. Sara Nieves-Grafales, retired psychologist, also Natalie Korytnyk Forrester's guest
  • Gib Leonard, Founding Director of The Buy A Brick Foundation, Sam Hancock's guest
  • Marcus Soriano, Professional Development Chair of the DC Rotaract Club
  • John Wanda, Founder and President of the Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda
  • Novin Afrouz, pianist visiting from Italy's San Carlo Rotary Club
  • Katsumaro Chikushi, attorney visiting from the Tokyo Rotary Club
  • Sergei Andronukov visiting from Virginia's Fairfax Rotary Club, and bringing us his guest, Darkan Nurmagambet, general manager of Artus Consulting
Secretary Haleh also announced that Past Secretary Matthias Schmidt (2013-14) from Germany's Giessen Rotary Club has contacted us to request help in the search for housing for his daughter Mirjam who is coming to Washington for a practicum with the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Mirjam will be in DC from February to July 2015. She is 22 years old and is studying international relations. She has previously worked as a volunteer in India for an organization promoting inter-faith dialogue and peace-building activities. If you are able to help with information about housing that may suit Mirjam's needs, please contact Mr. Schmidt or his daughter at the following coordinates. To reach Matthias Schmidt: Tel: (0641) 7 94 96 10, Fax: (0641) 7 94 96 19, Email: or  To reach his daughter Mirjam Schmidt: Email: Thank you!
Sergeant at Arms Buz Gorman offered congratulations to Rotarians celebrating birthdays this week:
  • Sam Holt - January 18. Sam joined our club in 1992, sponsored by Peter Gilsey. His classification is consulting-communications/media.
  • Jerry Kohlenberger - January 23. Jerry was sponsored by Thomas Parr when he joined our club in 2005. His classification is private equity.
  • Mark Wilson - January 23. Mark joined our club in 2006, sponsored by Ralph Hanan. His classification is agriculture-international rural development.
Sergeant Buz also announced the following anniversaries of membership in our club:
  • Bill Boleyn—a member of our club for 40 years!
  • Cal French and Cy Ansary—35 years
  • Tim Hanson—25 years
  • Jack Jackson, Hal Vaughn, Memo Grajales, and Oscar Bartoli—20 years
President Jennifer returned to the podium and highlighted several matters of importance for the club:
  • Kenny Barnes is in hospital but welcomes visitors.
  • Three Washington DC Club members, Clara Montanez and Past Presidents Doris and Larry Margolis, are featured in a photo of Rotary Day at the White House published in the latest issue of the Rotarian magazine.
  • Past President Howard Davis reminded everyone of the availability of two Parklawn Cemetery plots for sale by the Foundation.
  • PP Howard then presented a check to the Arlington Academy of Hope to support its women’s microfinance program in UgandaJohn Wanda, Founder and President of the Arlington Academy accepted the donation with appreciation.
  • Lisa McCurdy encouraged members to participate in the Foundation of Washington, DC fund drive and to consider some form of planned giving, whether as an outright gift, the designation of the Foundation as a beneficiary or the recipient of a direct bequest.
  • Katsumaro Chikushi, an attorney visiting from the Tokyo Rotary Club, presented President Jennifer with a banner from our sister club.
  • The Post-Holiday party will take place on Saturday, January 24th at Congressional Country Club. This will be a family-friendly event and is $40 for adults. Children are free under the age of 16.
  • The Federal City Rotary Club is hosting a fundraiser on January 28th at La Tasca in Chinatown.  Our club website has more details.
  • Put on your calendar now Rotary Day that will take place on Saturday, April 25th.  And don’t forget to volunteer to help!
  • The District Conference will be taking place on May 7-9 in Frederick, Maryland.  Let’s make sure our Club is represented in force!
Steve Liston introduced this week’s guest speaker Nicholas Alexander Brown.  Mr. Brown is a Honduran-American conductor, musicologist and music producer based in Washington, DC and Boston. He has served as a Music Specialist/Concert Producer for the Library of Congress Music Division since spring 2012. Brown is the founder and music director of The Irving Fine Society, which promotes the music and legacy of American composer Irving Fine and the American Neoclassical School. He is also conductor of the Library of Congress Chorale and Washington Sängerbund. He has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including Boston's Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican. Brown previously worked in the Harvard University Office of the President and Provost, and held internships with the Office of the First Lady at the White House and the Boston Symphony Orchestra Press Office. Brown received an M.Mus in Musicology from King's College London as well as a B.A. in Music (Conducting Performance) and History from Brandeis University.
Our guest speaker’s remarks focused on Leonard Bernstein and the themes of American Social Identity and Cultural Diplomacy.  Mr. Brown touched on Bernstein’s:
  • Background including his mentoring by Aaron Copeland, his directorship of the New York Philharmonic, and his prodigious record of composition.
  • Significant study of and appreciation for American culture as expressed in music and as a great influence in its own right of him and his musical work.  Brown highlighted Bernstein’s U.S. bicentennial composition of “Songfest” a song cycle with six voices and full orchestra that looked through the lens of American poetry as a way of interpreting our nation’s history.
  • Ambassadorial role around the world via the use of music as a way of personifying and promoting American culture.
Our speaker was well received by the Club and graciously answered a number of questions at the end of his remarks.  President Jennifer thanked him on the Club’s behalf and presented him with a certificate noting that a tree would be planted in his name in a public venue later this spring.
Club Raffle tickets were sold this week by Nancy Riker.  The small pot was valued at $117 and was won by Ken Kimbrough.   The large pot of $1980 will continue to grow!
The meeting was supported by Johnny Allem, Balraj Gupta, and Stu Shalloway at the Hospitality Table. Greeters this week were Pat Cunningham and Michael Harper.
The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 and will feature Victoria Sheffield who will speak on blindness prevention.
With no other business to conduct, President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30 pm.
Addendum from Secretary Haleh Vaziri
Since Tom Kern’s writing of this Meeting in Review, Mirjam Schmidt has contacted me again from Germany, but this time to inform me that she will not be able to come to Washington, DC next month as she had hoped. She and her father Rotarian Matthias Schmidt extend their appreciation to our club for our members’ willingness to consider assisting them.  And I offer a special thank you to Nancy Riker who helpfully reached out to the Schmidts.