Note: The following is a transcript of the remarks by Peter Arango, Class of '68 and a founding member of the Kokosingers, at the May 28 concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kokosingers. More coverage of the concert is available here.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for joining in this celebration of 50 years of a cappella singing at Kenyon.
I'll admit that I missed many opportunities during my time here, but I did learn one important lesson: If you find remarkable people and somehow find a way to gather them together and then manage to stay out of the way, extraordinary things can happen.
As it is possible that I will not attend the 100th anniversary, I quickly need to extend my gratitude to some of the people who have made all of this possible.
Tom Ulrch was an aberration in that first group — competent, well-organized, effective and sane. He kept us on track in every way, and, as the first business manager, organized our concerts, arranged the tours and raised money for our first album. His importance as one of the founders cannot be overemphasized.
Jim Hecox was our first music director, the first arranger, spark plug and benevolent musical dictator. In addition, over the course of the next 50 years, Jim kept the bonds of friendship and music intact for generations of Kokosingers who literally followed his lead. He was and is the heart and soul of the Kokosingers.
Finally, I have to thank the first Kokosingers, friends who somehow understood what it was we had in mind and who found the courage to step out on stage in front of audiences that had no idea of what they were about to hear. They had never seen young men in blue blazers singing a medley of hits from the early 1900s. They were there at the start, and because of them we have kept a 50-year tradition of the love of music alive and well — and especially alive this evening.