Friday, December 26, 2014

Bob Dunning: Concert features UC Davis legends


From page A2 | March 08, 2013 |

TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE … two of my longtime favorite UC Davis legends will be featured Sunday (7 p.m.) at the Mondavi Center when D. Kern Holoman returns to campus to conduct a concert in honor of campus pioneer Marya Welch, who died last June … Holoman retired several years back after a distinguished career leading the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, while Welch was a campus pioneer in more areas than I have fingers and toes, but is probably most remembered for her heroic efforts to establish women’s athletics at UC Davis and later for her philanthropy …

At Sunday’s concert, Holoman will lead the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, the University Chorus and the Alumni Chorus in a performance of “The Dream of Gerontius,” something I know absolutely nothing about other than it’s based on the writings of that holy Englishman, Cardinal John Henry Newman … Holoman noted that the piece is a “Catholic work” that’s fitting for Marya’s memory, since she was a “devout Catholic.” …

Trust me, when it comes to Marya Welch, “devout Catholic” is an understatement … all I can say is that if Kern Holoman is conducting and it’s being performed to honor Marya Welch, it’s best not to miss it …

NO CEASE-FIRE IN SIGHT … if you thought the recent Water Wars were contentious, just wait until school reconfiguration hits the headlines … yes, the already far-along plan to move all of this town’s ninth-graders to a four-year high school almost will certainly lead to the closing of other schools in town … and if you think closing a neighborhood school is any fun for the students and teachers and parents of that school, just ask the folks at Valley Oak how it felt to have our town’s oldest elementary school ripped out from under them several years ago … strap on your combat helmets, ladies and gentlemen, another pitched battle is about to begin …

BRING BACK THE PARADE … the Red-Headed Girl of My Dreams, tired of hearing me complain every April about how badly the Picnic Day Parade has declined since its heyday 50 or 60 years ago, decided to do something constructive to silence my criticism … specifically, she has helped to organize a float-building competition among four Davis neighborhoods, with all four floats signed up to sail the streets of UC Davis and downtown Davis during the parade … we shall see what they all come up with, but the enthusiasm is high and the competition fierce …

With that said, the organizers of the various neighborhood floats are looking for volunteers to help plan and build the floats and maybe even ride on them when the great parade comes marching through town on April 20 … sponsors are also being sought … neighborhood coordinators include Aimee Hasson of North Davis (, Jennifer Barth of South Davis (, Shelley Dunning of East Davis ( and Julie Langston of Central Davis ( … a good time will be had by all, guaranteed … and hopefully, no more complaints from the Above-Pictured Columnist come Picnic Day …

SPEAKING OF PICNIC DAY FLOATS … newcomers and oldtimers alike should get their hands on the wonderful new Campus History Series volume titled “University of California, Davis,” co-authored by Dennis Dingemans and Ann Foley Scheuring … put simply, it’s a treasure … for those new to town, it’s a great way to look back at what made this campus great … and for oldtimers (see photo above), it’s chock full of memories of the pioneers who paved the way … yes, this takes us back to the time when Davisites drove tractors, not Volvos … for Dingemans and Scheuring, it’s clearly a labor of love …

Among the dozens and dozens of old photographs included in the book are many depicting what used to be a grand Picnic Day Parade, complete with floats to rival the Rose Parade … check it out for yourself … there are even some from long ago when the floats were pulled by horses rather than horsepower … no matter how the floats are pulled next month at Picnic Day 2013, if they rival any of these, it will have been a job well done …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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