Club news

Concord Spellbinders Toastmasters

At the club’s recent meeting, Concord Spellbinders Toastmasters held its spring speaking competitions. Phil Colarusso of the Speakeasy club, Orchard Park, was contest master with Dave Wohlfeil as chief judge. Other judges were Ruth Antosh, Colarusso and James Stumph, who also served as timer.

The first competition was Tall Tales, wherein the speaker has to tell a story with an unlikely twist. The story begins with the plausible and finishes with a flight of fancy. Jim Rawcliffe recounted meeting a troll in the Altai mountains of Asia, Jutta Anne Rawcliffe spoke of capturing a Basque freedom fighter in England, and Mark Hess gave his version of “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Then came the International Competition, so called because successful contestants from 106 countries and 12,500 clubs can progress through six rounds to the International Convention in Cincinnati in August. These speeches should be inspirational in nature. Jutta Anne Rawcliffe described the spoon theory, Jim Holton gave his three qualities of a great teacher, and Hess gave examples of courage.

While the judges and timer counted the votes, Calarusso interviewed each of the contestants. It was then announced that Hess was the winner of the Tall Tales contest and Holton of the International Contest.

The winners will represent the club in the Area Contest, to be held at the offices of Moog, Inc., in East Aurora on Saturday, March 2, commencing at 9:30 a.m. Moog operates an in-house company club.

The club recognized Eric Cadena, a student in one of Dr. Larson’s sales management courses. The club is running a speechcraft class for students from the two classes, commencing at 7:30 p.m. today in Room 301W, Thompson Hall. Jutta Anne Rawcliffe will act as coordinator of the program.

The club also welcomed guest Nancy Jager, who enrolled as a member at the conclusion of the meeting.

The next club meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in Room 127, Fenton Hall. Guests are welcome. For further details, call Jim Rawcliffe, 672-2662.

Fredonia Shakespeare Club

The Fredonia Shakespeare Club held its fifteenth meeting of the 2012 2013 year at the home of Mrs. Martin Sanden co-hosted by Mrs. Brian Woods. The topic for the year is “Authors as Social Commentators.” Sanden gave her paper on Tom Standage’s book, “The History of the World in Six Glasses,” which she summarizes as follows:

Instead of writing about empires, wars and major historical events, the author wrote about the origin of six beverages and the impact each had on human history.

Hunter-gatherers had to live near a water supply until stored grain fermented, making beer, the beverage that started man’s migration across the globe.

Greeks and Romans developed the art of wine-making and with it, the pattern of serving wine according to social status.

In the Age of exploration, travelers to the New World planted sugar cane, bartered for slaves, and ignored confronting the evils of slavery because of the vast sums of money made on rum and whiskey.

As the English Empire expanded, men frequented coffeehouses and traded a wide range of ideas during the Age of Reason, some of which led to the development of The London Stock Exchange and the Industrial Revolution.

As the East India Trade Company began importing tea, the British people, especially the ladies of the time, began to enjoy their afternoon teas. However, members of all classes drank tea by the end of the 18th century.

Then in the 20th century, the United States surpassed the British Empire and became a global power. The beverage most representative of that power is Coca Cola, first developed near the end of the 19th century, expanded throughout the USA by the 1930s, became the beverage of the soldiers of WWII and as a result spread throughout Europe. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Coca Cola became a symbol of both the good and bad qualities of American culture.

The author Tom Standage concludes his book with a critical view of the worldwide need for water, what he calls “the Alpha and Omega of beverages.” Ironically, the prosperous nations of this planet are now hooked on bottled water, essentially being “purified” tap water, a multi-billion dollar industry with the dominant brands being produced by Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola. In contrast, eleven percent of the world’s people still lack potable water and sanitation and as a result, continue to suffer from orally-transmitted diseases like diarrhea. Though the author does not say so directly, he certainly manages to awaken his readers to the social inequity this situation reveals.

Sanden was assisted at the tea table by Mary Jane Covley Walker. The next meeting of the Fredonia Shakespeare Club will be held on Thursday at the home of Mrs. Victor Jonus.