Weekly Newsletter | March 12, 2019

March 13 – Salem Convention Center

Program: South Salem High School Choir

The South Salem HS Choir, under the direction of Will McLean, will be our Rotary program this week. The South Salem HS Choir, in its illustrious history, has received more accumulative state championships than any other choir in the state and is regarded as one of the best HS choirs in the nation. This achievement is exemplary of what outstanding students can achieve when taught by great master choir teachers. The South Salem HS Choir’s long tradition of excellence was first established by Gary Frame in the 70’s followed by Mike Crawford, Loren Wenz and now that excellence continues with Will McClean. Will McClean is considered to be one of the best young choir directors in the nation and the South Salem HS Choir, under his leadership, has been one of only four top high school choirs in the US to perform for the National Convention of the American Choral Director’s Association in the Kansas City’s new Performing Arts Center  – where they received a standing ovation. They returned on February 27 from that performance. Here is your opportunity to hear a high school choir singing at a professional level. Rotarians, guests, and parents are invited to attend. 

Program Chair: Karl Raschkes

Message from President Rus

Hello Salem Rotarians,

Writing this weekly message was something I found quite intimidating as I pondered my year as your president. Oddly, it has morphed from a fear into an opportunity. By opportunity, I mean the privilege to reflect and share the importance of Rotary’s contribution to the members of our club in the form of friendships, purpose, inspiration, and impact. Oh sure, I sit in front of my computer each Saturday morning and go “oh, oh, what’s it going to be this week?”, but it just comes.

So, let’s visit our theme this year, “Be the Inspiration.”  After five days, I am still inspired by the video I watched of our outbound student Brenda Hernandez. Sixteen years old. Significant sacrifice by her parents to make her year in Japan possible. A really big step in her life, she leaves Salem on this huge and intimidating adventure. She’s there six weeks and just trying to understand the language and culture. So what does she do? She enters a speech contest competing in Japanese against college students. She walks up to the podium, clearly nervous, and hits the ball out of the park. I encourage you to watch her in action…. Brenda Hernandez Speech.

And I worried about writing 300 words each week.

So back to the word “inspiration.” Brenda’s speech is nothing short of a huge inspirational moment. A few weeks in a foreign country, a language that is very different in form from ours. She has the courage to take on this major challenge. Oh sure, I get really emotionally charged and inspired by the opportunity we have provided to her as a club, but I’m really inspired by the character development accomplished by this young woman in a very trying environment. Said another way, it is not what I get, it is what she got. That is the impact of Rotary, inspiring me to want to do more.

Still not inspired? Take a look at the article on page 30 of the March edition of the Rotarian. It is a story about a 22-year-old tour guide who decided to stay an extra week after leading a tour in Kathmandu. She found purpose, started a movement, became a Rotary Peace Scholar and has changed the lives of countless women in Nepal.

It’s why we do what we do and it inspires.

See you tomorrow,

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