Happy Birthday, Mr. Nobody

This past weekend my wife and I attended a memorial service for a dear friend. The reception afterwards found us sharing a table with our neighbors, the Cramptons, Rev. Philip Amerson and his wife Elaine–one of our favorite couples—and Dr. Charles Webb, the legendary Dean of Indiana University’s highly ranked School of Music. Webb’s conducting, composing, arranging, and world-wide organ performances are renowned.

Elaine, a Facebook friend, was aware of my recent birthday and suggested the table sing happy birthday to me. Holy cow, Dean Webb singing happy birthday to me!


That might not have been the most memorable singing of that song, however. A few years ago, my son, Dr. Eric Stark, conductor of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Butler University music professor, wanted to drive down to Bloomington from his home in Indianapolis to celebrate my birthday with a dinner.

I knew the Indiana University Grammy nominated Singing Hoosiers were performing that night, so I suggested I’d get tickets for their performance before the dinner. Alas, the show was sold out.

Eric said, let me try. Eric was acquainted with Dr, Steve Zebree, the Singing Hoosiers conductor, and was able to get us tickets. Zebree is recognized as one of the most respected vocal jazz conductors and educators in the world and had just taken over as the show choir’s conductor.

Halfway through the performance, Zebree, interrupted the show, stepped to center stage and addressing Eric, seated in the sixth row, said, “Eric, I understand you are here to celebrate a special birthday. Let us help you.” And the Singing Hoosiers, a 90 member ensemble who have entertained audiences across the United States and in more than twenty-five countries spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Caribbean and have enjoyed collaborations with Bob Hope, Mel Torme, Sandi Patty, and Sylvia McNair sang Happy Birthday, Mr. Stark.

After the concert, a gentleman from the audience asked me, “Just who are you?” To which I replied, “I’m nobody! But happen to have a well connected son.”

6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mr. Nobody

  1. Ah what a wonderful memory that was!! Steve Zegree was an amazing musician and educator, and an incredibly generous spirit. He was taken from us far too soon, but his legacy lives on in countless acts that inspired and warmed the hearts of many…including us!

  2. Jim– At our age, it helps to have well-connected offspring. HAppy Birthday!

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