Several members logged into the Zoom meeting early and those who did had the opportunity to learn the following about each other:
  • Allan Cady's mother "never threw anything away," and he and his sister had to deal with deciding what to do with her lifetime accumulation.  He confessed, however, that he seems to have the same habit.  When asked, he is "for sure going to hold on to Polly - she's a keeper."
  • Dan Coons' Rotary Sponsor gave him a Greek fishing pass which he still has, but has never used as he has never been to Greece.
  • John Pennypacker's plumbing woes are behind him.
  • Jack Rosenberg is planning to buy a kiln so he can do more glasswork in the safety of his own home and not have the risk of being around others during the current pandemic.
  • Erwin and Joan Reimann have not been in South Dakota for thirteen months.
  • Ray Smith reported that Wendell Jones was down in Verden chasing cows.
At Noon, President Dan muted everyone and introduced himself as President. and reminded everyone that Rotary Opens Opportunities - the Rotary theme for 2020-21.  He also recited the Rotary Vision Statement after which he called on Ray Smith to offer the invocation.
 
Dan recognized the Veterans in attendance and thanked them.
 
Rotary Minute with Donna Goetzenberger 
Donna shared a very touching video about making an impact.  Before showing it, she said we should pay attention to the words used - words often used to describe Rotarians.  The only thing that really matters is the impact we have on the lives of others.  The effect we have on others it the most valuable thing we have in life.  "When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced.  Life your life in such a way that when you die, the world will cry while you rejoice."  CLICK HERE to watch the video Donna shared.
 
Introduction of Guests
  • John Pennypacker introduced Tom Yuzer, another PDG, saying we need a lot more PDG's in our club to keep track of the rest of the members.  Tom has been Endowment and Major Gifts Officer in our Rotary Zone.  He has recently moved back to Minneapolis to be near family, but he will be heading to Arizona around December 1 to spend the winter in our community.  
  • AG Lee Homes was also introduced.
Happy Bucks with Bert Millett
  • Allan Cady pledged $5 - happy to have heard from Don LaBarge that Bass Pro has approved our bell-ringing this year.  He also pledged $5 sad to be painfully aware of a friend and work associate who is laboring a lot with COVID.  John O'Malley is only 70 years of age, and was the source of a $5,000 Toyota Dealers Association grant to Mesa West Rotary Foundation each of the two years we conducted a sponsorship campaign.
  • Ron Thompson wondered what he had done to have his zoom image show up on page two instead of page one of the gallery view, but pledged $5 because he was happy to be able to attend the meeting after having to miss several in the recent past.
  • Polly Cady pledged $5 - happy that Rotary Leadership Institute would be held virtually Saturday, November 14.  Two of the facilitators are Mesa West Members Pam Cohen and Chris Krueger.  She said Jim Schmidt would be completing his third and final session and become an RLI graduate.  Bob Zarling would be attending Session 2, and Lola McClane would be attending Session 1.
  • John Pennypacker pledged $5 - he was happy Tom Yuzer was in attendance and would soon be on his way to Arizona.  He was also happy his niece was coming for a visit over the coming weekend, but not so sure she was coming to see her Uncle John as to see her boyfriend.
  • Chris Krueger thanked Veterans for their service.  She was also happy that her dad will soon be coming to Arizona.  She confessed she would  be leaving the call early to have a consultation with the VA about services they might be able to provide for her father.  She was happy that on November 8th, she and Mike celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary.  In all, she pledged $15.
  • Pam Cohen pledged $10 - $5 for hearing stories on Veterans Day from her good friend John Pennypacker about his days as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  John interjected saying, "Brown liquid loosens the tongue."  The other $5 was a fine for having to leave the meeting early for an offsite meeting.
  • Bert Millett fined himself $5 for not knowing how to move Ron Thompson to the front gallery view page.
  • Ray Smith spoke up but didn't mention an amount (probably because Wendell wasn't present to cover his pledge).  He complained about two eight-hour days attending income tax seminars and having to sit on a hard chair to watch them.  
  • AG Lee Holmes pledged $10 stating he was happy to have heard that the Rotarians planning to travel with him on his next trip to Africa will be happy to learn that the President of the country has spoken and they will be opening borders making the trip possible.  Lee will soon be scheduling a Zoom meeting to go over the meetings they will need to have to prepare for the trip.
  • Colleen Coons pledged $10 on behalf of Dan Coons because she knew Dan was glad to have Bert back in the Sgt. at Arms role.
  • Erwin Reimann pledged $10 remembering a friend whose funeral he had recently attended.  The Rotary Minute video was correct.  The comments made at the funeral were about the impact his friend, who was only 72 when he died, had made on others - especially through his work at a Basha's pharmacy.  To make matters worse, the wife and daughter of his friend have both been diagnosed with COVID.  Erwin did have some happy news to share - He and Joan will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary on November 25.
  • Greg Okonowski pledged $5 - with tears in his eyes, he said that the video was very timely.  Nine-year-old Leighton Accardo who has been fighting cancer has been given less than a month to live.  Grey said, "She is a ray of sunshine - and has impacted many lives at that young age." CLICK HERE to see a video about Leighton when the Coyote's Hockey Team honored her last February.
Announcements
  • There are three Thursdays in the relative near future when the club will not be meeting
    • Thursday, November 26 - THANKSGIVING
    • Thursday, December 24 - CHRISTMAS EVE
    • Thursday, December 31 - NEW YEARS EVE
  • RYLA will be held virtually January 15-16.  We need to find high school candidates to register and attend.
  • Shelly Romine is recruiting Garden Helpers for Saturday, November 21 - see separate article in this newsletter.
  • Vello volunteers need to make sure they have completed all three sessions of training and sign up for sessions in the Vello calendar.  Colleen Coons was planning to host a Zoom call Friday afternoon to answer any last minute questions.  United Parcel Service has paid the fee for our club and UPS volunteers to participate on our team.
  • President Dan announced a Rotaract free rice - trivia session event taking place from November 16-20.  He promised to send the information to members following the meeting:
    • This is Ashley Ferguson with GCU Rotaract. I wanted to tell you about an event we have happening next week that I would like to invite all the Rotarians to participate in if they please. We are doing a Free Rice competition for Charity. Free Rice is a website that allows you to answer simple trivia questions and when you get them right they will send grains of rice to starving countries all over the world. We are going to hit two birds with one stone and create a competition to see who can gain the most rice in the course of 5 days, November 16 - 20. At the end, whoever has collected the most rice will decide what charity we will donate money too. Because we will be donating money also to another charity, this competition will require a buy-in. We are only asking for a buy-in of at least $3, but they can donate as much as they would like. Sign-up is simple, all they would need to do is simply go to this link: https://forms.gle/ssBeRYg2M2WJ272q9 . This will take them to a google form to fill out and after that you will be contacted via email for more information and details. I know the Rotary meeting is today so I wanted to try and get this email to you before then so you can possibly mention it during the meeting. If you or any Rotarians have any other question please reach out to me at the gcurotaract@gmail.com email or my personal email aferg27@outlook.com
 
Program
Lola McClane introduced our speakers, Jack Barz and Brett Valiant from Organ Stop Pizza.  Brett is a native of Wichita, Kansas, who realized his love of music at an early age. Brett began piano studies at age 4, continuing through organ instruction at Wichita State University. Brett’s professional career began at age 11, and by the age of 15 he was playing concerts around the United States. Since then Brett has appeared in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, in the U.S. Brett has performed for the American Film Institute, as well as conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS) and the American Guild of Organists (AGO). After years of filling in for Charlie and Lew at Organ Stop, Brett happily joined the Organ Stop musical staff in 2015. In addition to playing the organ, Brett’s friends know him for his love of ice and roller skating, animals, and classic rock n’ roll.  Jack is a native of Arizona and started at Organ Stop in 1985 at the age of 16 as a dishwasher and pizza maker.  In addition to enjoying his career as Organ Stop manager, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two college-age children.
 
Jack began by giving those in attendance a verbal and visual tour of the organ and some of the pipes while Brett illustrated what he was talking about with sound.  There are four keyboards played by the hands and a fifth keyboard played by the feet.  That fifth keyboard typically plays bass, but occasionally the melody.  Switches can be used to provide sound effects such as ocean waves, thunder, birds, doorbell, drums, cowbell, symbols, triangle, car horns, sirens and many others.  By changing the pipes, a the sounds of a wide variety of musical instruments can be duplicated, ranging from flute to honkytonk piano..  Put together, the instrument is a one-person orchestra.  The organ in the Mesa Organ Stop restaurant was originally built for a Denver theater.  It has 6,000 pipes, 88 sets of musical pipes.  Each set makes a different sound.  It is very exciting to hear Brett play.
 
Chris Krueger, who used to play an organ (not nearly as elaborate as what we saw) wondered if it is difficult to get someone to do repairs.  Jack answered that they currently ha two repairmen in service - one from Chicago.  They replaced one keyboard for them.  The replacement keyboard was custom-created for them.  There are some local organ technicians.  One spends about 25+ hours each week at the restaurant.  He said the best way to keep it in shape is to play it a lot, adding, "Technicians are not common - but neither are players."
 
Organ Stop started in 1972 at 7th Street and Missouri.  A second location in Mesa was opened in 1975.  There was one in Tucson for a while which opened in 1976.  The Phoenix location closed in 1987.  After 20 years at the old Mesa location, in 1995, the Mesa presence moved to its current location at 1149 E Southern in Mesa.  It was quite a process with the organ being installed as construction progressed in the building.  They will celebrate their 25th anniversary at their current location this year.  They opened the day before Thanksgiving in 1995. 
 
Charlie Baylog, the organist many remember started in 1973 in Phoenix.  Charlie passed away about a year ago.  He created a new classification of music for the theater organ.  He added some electronic stuff which gave him the ability to have four hands instead of two.  Brett is using that technology.  Lou Williams, their other organist uses it as well.  Brett said he has spent twelve years getting used to the organ.  It takes time to get used to all it can do.  Bill Brown was the original owner of both the Phoenix and Mesa locations, but lived in Phoenix.
 
Greg Bouslog asked how they were managing during the pandemic.  They have lost a lot of sales.  They were closed for two months.  There has been a slow but steady climb since reopening.  Their normal seating capacity is 700.  Now they cannot have moe than 350.  It has been difficult.  In normal times it is open seating and customers make friends with those seated near them.  Now, patrons sign in outside and are seated with their family/group, but distanced form other groups with appropriate social distancing.  
 
Jack said customers have been fantastic, but so has their staff.  They were glad to have the opportunity to present to Mesa West Rotary and finished their presentation with a memorable concert of patriotic and military anthems.