www.mybaycity.com October 6, 2009
Rotary Article 4259

Brother Can You Spare A Dime

Historic Society and Bijou Orchestra Join To Present Music And History

October 6, 2009
By: Stephen Kent

Last Weeks Meeting - October 6, 2009

Leo and Bob
Today's financial environment has been compared more than once to the days of the Great Depression that started some 80 years ago in 1929. Although many experts contend that it's different this time, there are parallels.

This weekend the Bay County Historical Society and the Bijou Orchestra will team up to present some of the history of the Depression and the years that followed. Ron Bloomfield from the BCHS, and Leo Najar of the Bijou presented a program that highlighted some of the artistic and historic landmarks of that period.

In a time when personal income, international trade and taxes dropped by 66%, and unemployment hit 25%, there was a massive government investment in infrastructure and conservation through the programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The alphabet was well used with programs like the FDIC, FCIC, FHA, TVA, SEC, Fannie Mae, and WPA.

People are well aware of these works projects that resulted in infrastructure like the Bay County Building and the Lafayette Bridge. The pine forests north of Bay County, with their row on row of trees reminds one of the CCC. National Forests and Parks throughout the country still use buildings, trails and campgrounds built during this great period.

What some people forget is that the arts were also supported by the New Deal. As Leo said "they thought why make a 1st class musician into a second class brick layer". The WPA hired musicians, artists, writers and performers. WPA Orchestras were founded in communities around the country including Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Part of this artistic effort was the collecting, cataloging and preserving music and musical scores. Large libraries were created and performed. When the country began to emerge from the depression around WW II, much of this legacy was forgotten or just discarded. The sentiment was "it's just WPA stuff".

The programs presented by the Historical Society and the Bijou will bring back some of this history. The monthly "Second Saturday" program at the Museum will present the depression history. That evening, and again on Sunday, the Bijou will perform music from the period, including the song "Brother Can You Spare A Dime".

As a preview for the music, Leo and Bill Bloenk closed the program with a rendition of that well known song.


  • International Night is October 15 - NEXT WEEK! If you have auction items, get them in immediately. Forms and other information is on the RotaryBayCity.org web site.

  • There are still Dictionaries to be delivered. Contact Chuck Cusick if you'd like to help. "It's easy" said Chuck, "Just say a few words about Rotary, get the kids to look up a couple of words, and you're done!".

  • President Trahan reported that the club's funding, through the United Way, of the Angel Food Ministries has helped over 134 families.

  • Part of the club's Major Project funding is for the city's Way Finding signage project. The initial analysis has been completed and planning is under way.

  • Meeting Times: Lunch is now on the table at noon allowing members to start the meal earlier. The meeting starts by 12:30 and the speaker starting by 12:50. The meeting typically adjourns around 1:15!

  • Make-up On-Line at www.RotaryEclubOne.org

  • Membership: The next new member orientation will be held October 7, 2009 at the Atrium Restaurant.


  • Board Meeting October 13 - 11:00 before the regular meeting.

  • International Night 2009 October 15 at the Doubletree from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. The theme will be a Mediterranean Cruise. The menu is set and sounds great!

  • The date of the District Foundation Gala is October 23. The club has reserved a table for 8. Contact Anne Trahan if you want a ticket.

    Upcoming Programs

    (See the official schedule at RotaryBayCity.org )
  • October 13: Social Networking David R Haslam, ACS, will answer the question "what is this thing called Social Networking?" What is the difference between Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? How is Social Networking used as an effective marketing tool for my business? David will answer these questions and more.

  • October 20: Polio Update World Polio Day, 24 October, is an ideal time to raise public awareness of the ravages of polio and garner support for eradication efforts.

    Visit RotaryBayCity.org

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