School Auditorium is Dedicated to Former Music Director
Robert Hersee was a music teacher and director at the old Medfield High School from 1958 to 1995. On Friday, the auditorium at the Blake Middle School (the former high school) was dedicated in his honor.
Bob Hersee was the "Music Man" at Medfield High School from 1958 until his retirement in 1995.
On Friday, the school auditorium in which he played for 37 years was dedicated in his memory.
"It's all about appreciation for a guy who spent his life in this room," said concert coordinator and MHS graduate Paul DeLuca.
Hersee died in 2011 but was ever-present at the event in many ways: His favorite songs were sung and he even provided the background music for one medley (via a 1966 recording that was saved by a former student). In addition, the piano he played for 37 years was tuned up and featured in the alumni band.
Members of his family were also present, including his wife Claire, son Wally, and daughter Renee who played the piano.
The dedication was the kickoff event of the Medfield High School Alumni Association's multi-class reunion being held over the weekend.
DeLuca presented Mrs. Hersee with a memory box (that he crafted out of an old piano) filled with momentos from former Hersee's former music students.
DeLuca also unveiled the dedication plaque that will be posted outside the auditorium.
Friday's two-hour program started with a slide presentation dedicated to Hersee for "a life well lived" and was followed by a montage of photos of MHS classmates who have died. The slideshow was set to music written by MHS graduate and alumni band member Lorraine D'Angelo.
The alumni chorus, also known as the "Bob Hersee Singers," presented a medley of Hersee favorites as well as songs they sang for Hersee during their music career at MHS.
Their final number was performed to a recording of a 1966 concert that was saved by MHS graduate GoGo Flaherty who converted it to a CD. Their young voices and Bob Hersee's piano playing provided the background music.
At a bridge in the medley, only Hersee's piano playing filled the auditorium. A natural glance toward his old piano revealed an empty chair.
The alumni band provided background music for MHS graduates Renee Sumner, Dennis Flaherty, and Teddy Larkin with Betty Yokell.
The event was filled with alumni sharing their favorite Hersee stories and memories, solo performances in Hersee's memory, as well as a few jokes.
A few tears were also shared especially after Renee Hersee's performance -- on her father's piano on the stage where he spent so many years and on which she grew up -- of "You Will Never Walk Alone," a Hersee favorite.
Renee, who has followed in her father's footsteps and is now a music teacher herself (in the town of Franklin), received a standing ovation for her performance.
The event ended with a lively sing-along.
Program participants included:
Chorus and Soloists -- Aimee Beauregard Brown, Kimberly Palson Frigon, Betty Yokell, Kristen Paulson, Dennis Flaherty, Laura Lee Jones, Gail Nyren, Carey Lynn Eisenhauer, Gogo, Phyllis and Norman Belden, Graeme Justice, Renee Hersee, Helen Merlin, Renee Sumner, Jacquie Mandigo Ashe, Roxanne Shuell ("Sheila D"), Jalayne Lamph, Wendy Clarridge Moore, Jill Vollmuth, and Eddie Alley.
Band -- Chris Davis, Mike Stanton, David Baler, Marybeth Sullivan-Dowdell, Joe Coulombre, Nick Cruickshank, and Lorraine D'Angelo.