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Whitman Music Celebrates 50 Years

180 alumni plus more than 400 in attendance to celebrate.

— Only three.

Walt Whitman High School, in 50 years, has had just three principals, just three instrumental music directors and just three choral directors.

“No one wants to leave here,” said Principal Alan Goodwin.

And many who have departed are delighted to have a chance to return.

On Saturday, June 22, 180 alumni of Whitman music programs returned to perform in the 50th anniversary concert, which was attended by more than 400 Whitman alums, staff, students, friends and family.

The oldest performers were the members of the rock band VI-Kings, Matthew Maury on bass, Stock Wilson, Joe Dolan and Bill Euler on guitar, and Rob Fisher on drums. Maury, Wilson Dolan and Euler are Whitman class of 1970, and Fisher is class of 1976.

Choral director Jeff Davidson and instrumental music director Terry Alvey were joined by former instrumental music director Chris Allen. Davidson has been choral director at Whitman since 1984; Alvey has been instrumental music director since 2008. Chris Allen held that position from 1990-2008.

Three alums shared memories of the music directors who could not be present. Alumna Joan Bowersox Jurenas, class of 1971, spoke in remembrance of former choral director George Messick (1962-1973). Tom Bulleit, class of 1975, remembered choral director Paul Wenhold (1973-1984) and Ken Moore, class of 1985, spoke about former instrumental music director Ron Dobberstein (1962-1990). All three described the lasting joys of music in their lives and the impact the music directors had on their lives.

The Alumni Chorus included Andrea Carroll, Whitman class of 2008, who is performing this summer with Wolf Trap Opera.

The orchestra, chorus and jazz band each came together for this single performance after a single rehearsal earlier in the day.

The performance concluded with the musicians surrounding the audience in a circle and singing the Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.