THE FIRST EVER GREAT ORINDA ROTARY TALENT SHOW!
What do songs, hors d'oeuvres and knots have in common? Ask Orinda Rotarians and you will get a surprising tableau of talents. President-Elect (2017-18) Barbara Bontemps tapped into the pool of hidden talents amongst our Rotarians. We knew that Barbara can sing beautifully and that Jose Avelar can make his guitar sound like a full band. But who knew that Sue Breedlove can produce exciting meals, that Dan Gannett can tie knots - with rope, not with ladies - like nobody else, or that Jack Bontemps can play magically with simple paper shopping bags. Our next president Gary Wong gave an impromptu speech about how Star Trek's Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock exemplify Rotary values, while Pierce McKee recited"Casey at the Bat." As Barbara conveyed to The Rotarindan, the performances we saw last week were only a start. From now on we can all show off once a year in the Great Orinda Rotary Talent Show.
Our speaker on June 15 certainly has the aura of an Indiana Jones. And indeed, he has something to do with nature and wild animals.Dr. Joel Parrott (right) is President & CEO of the Oakland Zoo.Born in the Adirondack region of New York State, Dr. Parrott spent his high school years in Miami, before moving to Colorado to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins. After graduating from veterinary school, he completed an internship at the Denver Zoo and later went into private practice in Castro Valley. His specialty is exotic animals and he was a consulting veterinarian for Oakland Zoo until 1984, when he became the Staff Veterinarian and Assistant Director. A year later, he became the Executive Director at Oakland Zoo, which was founded in 1922 and now encompasses 100 acres (comparable to the renown San Diego Zoo).
Dr. Parrott is an avid conservationist and naturalist. His presentation demonstrated the Oakland Zoo's commitment to animal conservation with their new "California Trail" project that will include 20 acres for new animal enclosures, an interpretive overlook with dramatic vistas of San Francisco Bay, a California Interpretive Center, a camping area with platform tents for overnight experiences at the Zoo, and a children’s play and learn area. Within large enclosures that support natural habitats, Zoo visitors will discover several of California’s native animals including the grey wolf, grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lion, jaguar, bison, bald eagle, and California condor. Dr. Parrott recounted the particular challenge of obtaining and transporting bison to their new home at the zoo -- and related the significant environmental and sociological impact that bison had on the West, particularly for Native American people. The new exhibit will also include a gondola, a restaurant overlooking the Bay and other state-of-the-art facilities.
When we moved our regular meetings to the Country Club several years ago, we had all hoped that this new venue would be our home for the long term. And indeed, the ambiance, the quality of the meals and the table service were hard to beat. But in the background not everything went as smoothly as we had hoped. Recently, on very short notice, we were told in a rather non gentlemanly manner to leave the Country Club for nine weeks this summer. As a consequence our Board decided to sever the relationship altogether and examine other venues. After looking at various options, it turned out that our home for decades, the Orinda Community Center, is welcoming us back with open arms. Hence: Starting on June 22, we will meet in the Founder's Auditorium at the Community Center at our regular date and time, Wednesdays at 12:15pm.
As you may remember, there was a lot of Club Service involved in running the meetings in the Community Center: Setting up, taking down, organizing caterers and much more. Particularly during the first few months, all of us will need to pitch in to make the move a great success. But even if it takes a little bit more work, the return to the Community Center is a fantastic new beginning for Orinda Rotary. Once again, we will be much more visible to the community; once again, we will meet in one of the hubs of activity in the center of town...and that's where a service club like ours belongs.
Mark your calendars--Orinda Rotary's annual "Dancing with the Cars" community fundraiser is September 9th at the Orinda Country Club! This year's theme is "The Italian Job," and will feature a collection of fun and fancy autos, including Italian job-capable Mini Coopers, molto bene Mazeratis, and favoloso Ferraris! The all-inclusive evening will also include Compari-infused cocktails, a hearty Italian dinner, an abondanza of awesome auction items, plus dancing to (who else ?) Dino!
Individual non-reserved tickets are $110.00 per person prior to August 15 or $125.00 thereafter -- OR reserve your seats by getting a group together and becoming a table sponsor! Tickets for tables of 12 are $1,200.00 prior to August 15 ($100 per person), $1,400.00 thereafter (about $117.00 per person).
Funds raised from this event benefit our entire community, including our schools, our seniors, the arts, parks and recreation, and even extend beyond our borders to assist with humanitarian projects that Rotary supports around the world!