DIGITAL EDITION   No. 87   July 30, 2014     EDITOR: Julia Parranto     PHOTOGRAPHER: Kris Anderson

Our Program For August 6th

Polio Survivor and The Voice of the World Pillow Fighting Championships

richard-gulsonOur speaker this week will be Richard Gulson. Richard is a survivor of Polio and will tell us about his bout with this disease. Additionally he is known as the voice of the World Pillow Fighting Championships. He will provide us with a brief history of the 40 years that the Pillow Fights took place in Kenwood put on by the Kenwood Firemen’s Association. Recently, The Kenwood Firemen’s Association and the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa have teamed up to put on the Pillow Fights set for September 27th this year. We are working to bring this signature event back to Sonoma County and make this an annual event.



August 13: District Governor Kevin Eisenberg Visits
September 3: Energy Choices in Sonoma County


Visit our district at:
Check out Rotary International at:
Come see us at:
earn more at:
et your tickets at:


This week was our First Annual (?) Talent Show, aka Rotapalooza! A Really Big Shoe!

In lieu of the usual pledge of allegiance and invocation, past President Don McMillan (hereinafter referred to as “Donny Mac” led us in singing the National Anthem, which we performed waaay better than Roseanne Barr did back when.


Pris Abercrombie, guest of Jack Abercrombie
Charity Ingold, guest of Troy Ingold
Jim (Kimo) Manos, guest of Kris Anderson
Cathy Eddy, guest of Bart Eddy
Mykha’el Wilson, guest of Mark Burchill
Elaine Olson, guest of Steve Olson
Barbara MacDougal, guest of John McHugh
Clare Prior, guest of Karen Ball
Judi Giampaoli and Dominic Giampaoli, guests of Ray Giampaoli
Rose Wognum Frances and Emilie Parranto, guests of Julia Parranto


Darren Elliott

Darren Elliott

The Rotary All Star Band, with Donny Mac on vocals, Layne Bowen on lead guitar, Karen Ball on acoustic guitar, Dennis Ball (husband of Karen) on electric bass guitar, and Darren Elliott on drums, started us off with a laid back version of the Eagles’ (remember the ‘70’s?) hit song “Take It Easy”.  Dancing ensued, with John McHugh cutting a rug with a mystery woman in a green dress, and Nona Lucas dancing with Joy Parker’s husband Bob.  Rumors, anyone?

Jeff Gospe arrived.  5 ½ hours after the markets closed.  What’s up with that?

The Band kept the mood going with another Eagles hit: “Peaceful, Easy Feelin’”, which Darren Elliott then followed up with a rousing

rendition of “Matchbox”, with backup by Layne Bowen and Dennis Ball.

A third Eagles hit song?  Whyever not?  The Band returned with Donny Mac on vocals and reprised “Lyin’ Eyes”, which was an interesting

Prima Ballerina Shannon McConnell!

Prima Ballerina Shannon McConnell!

choice.  Right after being told that Donny Mac used to serenade and romance Jackie McMillan with Eagles songs, he sings a song about a woman who’s committing adultery? Hmmmm.

The next act caused my 9 year old daughter, Emilie, to jump off my lap and stand on her tip toes for a better look, because we had a real treat: Shannon McConnell performing a ballet dance.  Her moves were beautiful and her hand and arm work were exquisite.  Really very nice.

Jose Guillen showed real machismo (the good kind) in taking on Las Mananitas.  He claimed he has no talent and asked us to imagine that he was singing at 3 a.m., but the crowd went wild as he serenaded birthday girl Mel Burchill. 

Karen Ball, who is the worship leader at her church, sang us a 1928 Harry McClintock song “Ain’t We Crazy”, which truly had some crazy lyrics: a barefoot boy with shoes on, a church was burned down, and a rising sun was setting in the west.  Karen showed her leadership skills by teaching us the chorus and then getting us to participate.  (Not always an easy task!)

Donny Mac and the Band came back and sang some unknown country song no one at my table recognized.  He made us stand up while he sang – maybe he realized we can’t take country sitting down?  I am informed by my editor, musician extraordinaire Layne Bowen, that the song was “The Bug” by Mark Knopfler.  Of course!  Robert Pierce got up and danced with Ginny Cannon.  The Burchills hit the dance floor, and Mike Kallhoff tried to sabotage my notes!




The Band was back with Donny Mac and they finally sang some rock n’ roll: the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women”, which got people singing.  Bob Parker finally danced with his own wife, Joy.

Layne Bowen then showed us some real talent with his fiddle, playing a Scottish Aire and some Irish jigs.  Very nice!

Darren Elliott then channeled his inner Bob Dylan and sang a song he wrote during Desert Storm, back when “these colors do not run” and school closings.  Your editor did not catch the name of the song (might have been “A Piece of Mind”) but the most repeated lyric was “Don’t be stupid and ask me if I’m fine”.


John McHugh and Barbara McDougall

Donny Mac – impersonating Johnny Cash – and Karen Ball sang a duet: “Jackson”.  That strange black hat was actually a wig!  The image of Don swinging his hips like that will be long remembered.

John McHugh and Barbara MacDougall then treated us to a waltz.  To the oldie but goodie “Fascination”.  Black suit, white tie, major bling, and a big smile.  Way to go, John!

Karen Ball then gave us a torch song: “At Last”, which got a lot of Rotarians up to dance: Darren Elliott was spotted hitting on Peggy SoberanisDebi Zaft got out there with Sam McMillan, and Nona Lucas was spotted with Robert Pierce.  There were lots of other couples out there dancing and having a great time.

The Band then wrapped up the evening with “They Call Me the Breeze” written by JJ Cale and covered by the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band.  Yes, that’s really how you spell that.  I looked it up.  Strange song; had to look it up too.  Sample lyrics: Well there ain’t no change in the weather /Ain’t no changes in me /And I ain’t hidin’ from nobody / Nobody’s hidin’ from me.  Anyone know why Chip Rawson kept wandering to the back of the stage during this performance?  Just wondering…


Pillow-Fights-LogoNow that the Giro Bello is over, it is time to focus on the Pillow Fights that will be on Saturday September 27th at Sonoma Mountain Village.  Wayne Rowlands gave us a brief history of the world famous pillow fights put on by the Kenwood Fire Fighters since 1964.  They became so famous that in the last year they were held in Kenwood, over 10,000 people came!  It was just too much for the tiny town of Kenwood so they had no choice but to shut it down.

The Kenwood Fire Fighters contacted the Santa Rosa Evening Rotary Club to see if they wanted to partner up.  The Evening club felt they were too small and suggested talking to our club.  It has been discussed by the board for quite some time.  It became public early this year, but the board felt we had to get through the Giro Bello before we got the club involved.  Now is that time!  There are two things you can do right now to support this project:
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At the August 6th club meeting, our speaker will be Richard Gulson, a polio survivor and voice of the Pillow Fights.

This first year we are limiting the crowd to 5000 people.  There will be at least one celebrity bout between Tyler Rex and Brian Cage.  They have approached the sororities and fraternities at Sonoma State University for the Battle of the Greeks. There will be a kid’s play area sponsored by Tiger Kick that will have a jumpy house, climbing wall and an obstacle course.

There will be 3 bands playing during the day; Heros Turn Human, Pacific Haze and the Shannon Rider Band.  Lagunitas Beer, Mary’s Pizza Shack and Sally Tomatoes have signed on to provide food.  Facebook, Twitter and the website are actively marketing the event.  Tickets are available and can be bought on Eventbrite.  Sonoma Media Group will be our radio advertising partner.

Important!  At our meeting on August 27th we will have an ABC Training class for serving alcohol.  If you or any of your family or friends will be helping with the alcohol at this event, they  do need to take the training.  Invite them to the August meeting!

That’s it!  How much more fun can we stand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Eileen Carlisle is donating two stays in a luxury studio at the Hyatt Main Street Station in the heart of Breckenridge, Colorado to our club Foundation.  We will be auctioning off the stays at our August 6 meeting.  All proceeds will go to the John Brown fund in our Club’s Foundation.  So check your schedule now, and be prepared to bid high and bid often.  The stays are as follows:

September 13-20  (7 nights)
September 16-20  (4 nights)


Raffle:  Paul Hamilton
Visiting Rotarians:  Steve Marburger
Ticket Collector:  Peter Holewinski
Ticket Sales:  Bart Eddy
Greeter:  Jack Atkins
Greeter:  Will Haymaker


“Passing along a photo of tonight’s “Rotarians (and spouses) at Work”  at the Redwood Empire Food Bank. We sorted and packed bread and other baked goods for delivery throughout the region. I estimate that we filled over a dozen large bins during our 2 hours shift – a record according to the young man who coordinated the activity. ”

Steve Olson

Rotarians at work


Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Officers

President: Mark Burchill, President Elect: Jose Guillen, President Elect Nominee: Doug Johnson, Past President: Peggy Soberanis, Secretary: Jack Abercrombie, Treasurer: Cecil G. Humes, Sergeant at Arms: Jack Geary

President Rotary International

Gary C.K. Huang, member of the Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan

Governor, District 5130

Kevin Eisenberg, member of the Rotary Club of Calistoga

Attendance Secretary

Jack Abercrombie P.O. Box 505 Santa Rosa, CA 95402 707-538-4770

Board of Directors

Karen Ball, Tim Delaney, Debra Dorfman, Tim Fawcett, Bill Hatcher, John McHugh, Jack Tolin, Cathy Vicini