Wheatley Alumni Monthly Newsletter

No. 7: October 4, 2016

Dear Wheatley Wildcats,

Welcome to the seventh issue of The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter. This issue focuses on three Wheatley alumnae who are accomplished musicians.

Meanwhile, as I write these lines, The Wheatley School 60th Anniversary Celebration is exactly eleven days away. Attendance should top 500 (422 people have already registered!), and you can see exactly who (so far). If you plan to attend, please register NOW (if you haven’t already done so), via www.wheatleyalumni.org; and if you do not plan to attend, please let me know (if you haven’t already done so), via ArtEngoron@gmail.com.


(Note to everyone - please send us your autobiography before someone else sends us your obituary!) (All submissions lightly edited.)

1966 – Lorraine Gallard

Here is some of what has happened in my life. I finished college a year early, soon after a junior year in Paris, and moved to NYC without a clue about what I wanted, and I spent a pretty lonely year until Alice Wilkins [1966] and I shared an apartment in Brooklyn in 1970. She left for graduate school in Berkeley the next year; I stayed and entered a master’s program that Ted Tchack [ed. note – legendary Wheatley English Teacher] recommended after he had just completed it. (I was a summer mother’s helper for his family.) After graduate school, I somehow landed on Wall Street at an investment banking firm, where I could use my French, math and, of course, typing; plus, the offices were a lot cleaner than all those where I had worked as a temporary secretary while I went to graduate school full time at night. George Soros worked there, decided to leave, and I was fortunate to be invited to be the fourth member of his new firm. It was very exciting work for several years, but a year after my father’s death in 1976, I knew it was time to leave. So off to New Mexico, where my two brothers lived, and an audition at a Santa Fe night club, where I then sang and played piano for $25 a night.

I met and married a good-hearted man who was not the right match; we had a son and divorced all within a couple of years – and I would bump into Donna Sugarman Chamisa [1966] periodically. I returned to financial work, but I was also the cantor at the local synagogue. I loved being near my brothers, my job, and singing – and I adored my son. I fell in love with a college classmate of the man I worked for, gave a farewell cabaret night at synagogue, and moved to Cleveland to be with him and his four children. Within weeks of our marriage we were both out of work and decided to open an investment advisory firm with a couple of small clients he had lined up. And then fortunately we moved to Washington, D.C. in 1986. Our five children flourished; our life flourished. We knew we were in one of those sweet spots … and then he died suddenly at the end of a business trip to New Mexico in early 2001. Solace comes in many forms; mine was that he died in a beautiful place in a way he would have wanted, just too soon. I’ve continued the business on my own with the original tiny band of clients. I manage their portfolios, oversee a horse ranch, co-produce movies with them, and sing at their family events. With my husband’s passing I realized that a good marriage can leave you feeling whole and, I guess, open-hearted – something I learned from my mother, who was also widowed young – which I think allowed me to be receptive early to being set up for a blind date.

And so I met another wonderful man. We’ve been married for 14 years (Alice Wilkins was at the wedding) and we split our time between DC for work and NYC, where I perform a cabaret set periodically with a Broadway music director I met through Roddy Nierenberg [1965], and where I am Chair of the Board of Manhattan School of Music. My son, now 36, is still my special joy; he’s married with three children, living in Brooklyn. Life is hectic, challenging and interesting.

I am very grateful to Art for all he has done to keep us connected [ed. note – aw, shucks]. I am saddened by the losses and moved by the stories. I think that a key aspect of the Wheatley experience was not only the wonderful education we received, but the added bonus of knowing each other’s parents and siblings, sometimes since kindergarten.

1973 – Beth Iris Tanner

[Editor’s note – This item came to me recently from a third-party but was composed ten years ago. It could be drastically outof-date, but is interesting nonetheless.]

It would be difficult for me to conceive how I could be any MORE different today from what I was in high school. For one thing, I don't even have the same name, and it's not due to marriage -- in the early '80s I stopped using the name “Beth Tanner” and began going by my middle name, Iris. Eventually, when I became a member of ASCAP, I had to have it legally changed, and these days I'm B. Iris Tanner. And I look really different -- and IMHO, a helluva lot BETTER than I did at Wheatley [ed. note – her senior photo is gorgeous].

I DID actually get married but have been widowed since '93. However, I've been living in delicious sin with a wonderful man for the past 6 months and plan to keep it that way. I've watched so many friends go through divorces that I don't ever want to remarry.

My only children wear fur and have pedigrees far more prestigious than my own. . . I've been breeding and showing purebred cats since 1988 and am now a cat show judge with the Cat Fanciers' Association, the world's oldest and largest registry of purebred felines. I travel a lot showing my cats, too -- will be in D.C. in a couple of weeks for a big show there and in San Francisco in November. Home base is Medford, MA, about 20 minutes north of Boston.

I'm also a singer-songwriter in the cabaret style, with two CDs of my music and songs downloadable on iTunes, Rhapsody, MusicNet and just about every online music source you can think of. I've done two solo cabaret shows and am working on a third.

However, these things do not pay the mortgage (or the vet bills) and for THAT, I'm a VP/Senior Editor at a major mutual fund company in Boston, focusing primarily on shareholder reports. I have my Series 6 and 63 licenses but do not actually SELL any financial products, although I could if I wanted to. . .

B. Iris Tanner (formerly Beth Tanner)

1982 – Janice Minor

Hailing from East Williston, Dr. Janice L. Minor began her formal clarinet studies with Mr. Peter Pane, Wheatley School Band Director, and participated in the Wheatley School Concert Band. During her senior year she attended the Juilliard School of Music Preparatory Division. After graduation she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York-Purchase College where she studied with Ben Armato of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. She graduated from Northwestern University with a double Master of Music degree, receiving high honors, Pi Kappa Lambda, in music performance and music education, and where she studied with esteemed clarinetists, Clark Brody and Robert Marcellus. Janice worked with Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetists Larry Combs and John Bruce Yeh while earning an Artist Diploma from DePaul University. She was awarded the teaching assistantship at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree studying with Ronald de Kant.

Today, Janice enjoys an active career as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral player, clinician, and music educator. She has performed and appeared in a wide variety of venues and festivals throughout the United States and Europe, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Dedicated to her role as artist-teacher, “Dr. Janice” is a passionate educator who is frequently invited to present master classes and clinics throughout the country and abroad. She held teaching positions as Clarinet Professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and elsewhere. She reviews music for The Clarinet, the official journal of the International Clarinet Association. Her CD The Recital Clarinetist with pianist Paulo Steinberg is widely available. For more information visit www.janicelminor.com


This issue proves positively that if you did not become a musician, don’t blame Wheatley.

Submissions, suggestions, and corrections welcome.