Friday, May 16, 2008

You Can Bank On Good Singing Anytime

I searched through every box in our garage and did not find it. Then I pulled everything out of the hall closet but still failed to locate it. Then I asked my wife if she knew where it might be. She said, “Oh that is in a file under my sewing machine.” I looked and sure enough, there it was. But I am getting ahead of the story.

In 1963, I left my dad’s accounting firm in Beaumont and joined First Security National Bank. Thus began another exciting chapter in life. I had just married the love of my life in June of that year and now was launching out into a new career. From accounting to banking was not a difficult transition but there were some challenges. But this story is not about my job descriptions but rather something that occurred as a sideline of working at First Security Bank.

One day Jack Darling who was our Vice-President of Human Resources approached me and asked if I would be interested in organizing a singing group made up of bank employees. The idea fascinated me so I agreed to try. I had been directing a wedding chorus for years at the South Park Church of Christ in Beaumont. That group was made up mostly of teenagers. We sang for more than one hundred weddings over a period of five years. This proved to be a great activity for the teens. In fact, as time went on the chorus began to inter-marry. Yes, the sopranos married the basses. For example Rex married Mary, P. D. married Joyce, Chuck married Frances, Joe married Jackie, George married Margaret, etc. That chorus did more to match make than any counseling service ever dreamed of doing.

Anyway, Jack Darling wanted to have a bank chorus and he knew that I was experienced with choral activities. His idea was to have a group that would sing in the bank lobby at noon each day during Christmas season. The bank erected a tall Christmas tree in the lobby. In fact the tree touched the ceiling, which was a very high one. The chorus gathered in the center of the lobby to sing carols. Some of the singers were Mary Jane Boyette, Mardell Hamby, Jack Darling, Elmer Engman, John Geis, Bob Glazener, and yours truly. I sang while I directed.

Bob Glazener was not a bank employee but was a bank customer with a rich bass voice. He sang solos with the chorus. I still can hear Bob’s beautiful rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” And of course my wife, Mardell Hamby was not a bank employee. She inherited a slot in the alto section by virtue of being married to the director. Bank employees served gingerbread and wassail punch. The public seemed to like this activity and I know the chorus enjoyed singing. We did this every Christmas for several years.

One highlight standing out in my memory was the Christmas of 1964. The bank threw a party for bank employees out at the Harvest Club, located on the South Texas State Fairgrounds. There were several hundred in attendance. Our bank chorus was the official program of the evening.

Everyone had a good time. A photographer took pictures of the chorus in action. One of those is the picture accompanying this column. I kept the picture for years but did not know where it was.

Now you know what I was looking for in my garage and in our hall closet. I’ll never know how that picture ended up in a file under my wife’s sewing machine. But when a fellow has a wife keeping track of stuff, he doesn’t have to know everything.

Winston Hamby


Blogger Dave  said...

Winston, I believe I may know Bob Glazener, whom you mentioned in this post. Was he about the same age as you?



Wed Jul 23, 02:07:00 PM 2008  
Blogger WinSpin  said...

Dave: Sorry I didn't see your post until today (7-28-08) ... Bob is deceased and I think he may have been just a bit older than me ... I do know that he and his wife lived in Beaumont (Forest Park) on Eldridge St. during the late 1960s.

Also I do know some of the "left-over" folks from my banking days and I could find out more about Bob if you wish.

Sat Jul 26, 12:00:00 PM 2008  
Blogger WinSpin  said...

By the way, Dave, if you look at the photo of the bank chorus on this entry, Bob Glazener is the third man on the back row. Jack Darling is nearest the piano and then John Geis, then Bob ...

Sat Jul 26, 12:06:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Dave  said...

Your "Bob" was probably a relative of the "Bob" I had in mind, since they're both from the same area.

Thanks for your response, though.

Thu Jul 31, 02:00:00 PM 2008  

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