Tuesday, August 4, 2009

V. Lee Harrity found

It was great to see so many old classmates in June, but the one person who had been on my mind the most over the years was Mr. V. Lee Harrity. He came to teach choir at Gateway in time for us (11th Grade, I seem to recall), and I thought he was magic. He took a mediocre bunch of high school singers, and turned us into quite a finely tuned instrument, often challenging our comfort zone with very sophisticated pieces.

For senior year I was set on getting into the madrigal choir (more of that wonderful, challenging material), but it just didn't fit with my academic schedule, so I took mixed choir - I took it by the horns. I was lucky to assist Mr. Harrity a few times, and he taught me to conduct.

After the reunion, with the smart sleuthing of Phil Billings, I had his phone number, and gave him a call one evening. We knew that shortly after we'd graduated he'd married, they'd had a daughter, and he had a Christian choir that seemed very popular and respected. On the internet were also reviews of the choir from Texas, and that's where we found him.

He sounded very upbeat - exactly as I remembered him - and said he'd heard about the recent reunion. He indeed is still conducting his choir. I had a delightful half hour chat with him. The one sad note is the loss of their daughter to cancer just a few years ago. He remembered our class as being a particularly talented bunch of students. And he was very pleased to hear how music had remained part of my career.

In fact, in my building (Performing Arts Lodge, Vancouver) we're holding a first meeting on Thursday evening about forming an in-house choir (we have a theatre, and a garden, on our top floor).

And if the urge hits you, Phil and I have V. Lee's number.

After the reunion, I also heard from Amy (Brill) Rafferty - we've now tracked down 3/5 of the original Poor Boys from the Talent Troupe; the other we're in touch with is (Mag)Gie Parsons.

Ellie O'Day
survivor of the 2009 west coast heat wave

1 comment:

Alana Baranick said...

There's a current picture of him on his church's website at
http://www.lwlc.com/staff.shtml. It's awfully blurry, but he looks pretty much like he did 40+ years ago.

And there's an email address for him on the church's site. It's lee@lwlc.com.