On October 15, 2017, Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company celebrated 80 years with a beautiful event at the Hackensack Golf Club. The afternoon included lots of singing, amazing food, and getting to catch up with friends old and new.
We kicked off the afternoon with a toast to Jack Strangfeld, who was one of our Life members and beloved by all who knew him. Then, our president, Tim Domini, gave a hysterical speech about his time in the company. Continue reading below for some photos from the event and the entirety of Tim's speech (and see if you can guess which show each of the G&S references comes from!)
TIM DOMINI GALA SPEECH:
As many of you know I have been singing G & S since the mid nineteen eighties – and after all this time I now am President of a G & S society and must deliver a speech at this most important milestone occasion – the 80th anniversary of our Founding. You have no idea what a poor opinion I have of myself and how little I deserve it. So if I may I want to share my thoughts about how much WS Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan have affected my life lets us say this is - Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.
As I look back at the world of G & S and RGSOC – I see – well – I see a nice dilemma we have here – –that calls for all our wit. REALLY –
There has been very hard work by so many people to keep the flame burning – so much singing and laughter and friendship and eating. Yet, there have been dark times – Times when I thought – Or you , Or I , must yield up our life to Ahrieadnes. I really would prefer it was you – such is the nature of our troupe that we stay a family throughout these conflicts –
Of course the friendship that comes with membership is something that is treasured, something of tremendous value, something beyond value really, something that is never toyed with – Never , what Never? No never…..well Hardly ever…..
And WHAT do we make of the long, long, long , tenure of this organization? Should it have folded long ago? So many have said we sing old music and we do not fit in anymore with the things that the internet and the two career family now makes us obsolete – We go, we go, Yes but we don’t go – (except maybe to the diner). We continue to step out on stage and sing these marvelous works and speak these wonderful words.
Joining a family that is like RGSOC is akin to falling in love – now I know what love is. There was a happy time when I didn’t – but bitter experience has taught me….. we have these flights of soaring music, the appeal of a laughing audience, the joy of working closely with friends’ season after season and sharing the special moments of theater that most strange alchemy of escape.
Of course – I have also been involved in the politics and management of the troupe – as a leader of the company I often think of the Leaders of the House of Peers, it is said that they Throughout the war did nothing in particular and did it very well…. A goal that this organization eschews to and abides by. The board has been a group of Men and Women who work for the good of the company as much as they can. Rarely – there have been issues that created hard feelings over artistic issues – or – financial issues – of course there was the time the feminine members of the board declared MAN is Natures Sole Mistake – yet even these conflicts were overridden by the troupe’s overwhelming friendliness and desire to get out there and sing the wonderful words and music of the dynamic duo Gilbert and Sullivan.
Despite the fact that I wasn’t There, the troupe has ventured into many different formats and ideas towards our long-term survival. All I can say about some of these ideas is that My object - ALL SUMBLIME – I will achieve in time – to let the punishment fit the crime… I too have opinions and ideas, I actually have a Little List, perhaps after lunch –
I will not pretend that the work of the board can not make someone crazy – I often have to find a way to stay calm or like prior board member Margaret find Some word that teems with hidden meaning, like "Basingstoke". It might recall me to my saner self. For, after all, I am only Mad Margaret! Daft Meg! Poor Meg! He! he! he! – leadership does come with burdens………
Yet through all these hard times one can keep perspective – I always try hard to I've jibe and joke, And quip and crank, For lowly folk And men of rank. Yes a gentle sense of humor is the basis of membership in RGSOC – it is the rock upon which the foundation of the troupe is built – let’s face it the boys are funny and the shows stay funny 125 years later.
So despite all the worries and woes of the past years I have been involved with the troupe I find Oh, philosophers may sing Of the troubles of a King, But of pleasures there are many and of worries there are none; And the culminating pleasure That we treasure beyond measure Is the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done.
So as I think back to all the days and times I have spent with my fellow Savoyards and all the meals, and parties and fun occasions yes I think So bumpers – aye, ever so many –The cost we may safely ignore! For the wine doesn’t cost us a penny, Tho’ it’s Pomméry seventy-four! After all It isn't so much what's on the table that matters, as what's on the chairs.
So as I wrap up this discussion I am reminded it is an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances – so as I look back at my time in RGSOC I am proud that – I did nothing in particular and did it very well – after all wouldn’t the world seem dull and flat with nothing whatever to grumble at.
Respectfully submitted – at the 80th Gala gathering
OH – and a Gilbert Quote
Its LOVE that makes the world go around