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  Readers Write
     
   

“WCHC”
Thanks for the article in the winter ’03 issue on WCHC; it brought back many fond memories of time spent there in the mid-’60s. My most vivid memory is the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 when the station altered its music format and devoted as much airtime as possible to the unfolding events. We had a United Press ticker and a hookup with the Mutual Broadcasting System so we offered live feeds of press conferences and other major events. Heady stuff for a bunch of college kids and one reason some of us went on to careers in journalism. Keep up the good work!

Fred McGehan ’63
Boulder, Colo.

 

Great article about WCHC ( I did the oldies show for a few years and really enjoyed it). But I see no mention of Tony Guida ’63 who was (I think) station manager in the mid-’60s. He became a major on-air media talent on the major networks and was seen regularly on nationwide TV. I will forgive the oversight if it is somehow corrected in your next issue. Us Bronx boys gotta stick together!

Peter Stubenvoll ’68
Boca Raton, Fla.

 

I was happy to see an article in the winter edition of Holy Cross Magazine on WCHC. I personally did not do any DJ work at the radio station, but I have fond memories of waking up early to listen to my friends’ shows at 7 a.m. I was disappointed to see that recently, WCHC has dropped its alternative music to play top 100 music. I think this is a very sad move. I would never have been exposed to alternative music if it weren’t for WCHC. College radio stations have traditionally played cutting edge music. The “alternative” music that they were playing while I was at the school, eventually became “mainstream.” Aren’t there enough commercial radio stations playing “Top 100”? The current station manager, Mr. Chmura, says that due to the change, “our listenership hasn’t decreased.” But, has it increased? I find it very sad that the only source of alternative music that I know happens to come from Australia ... Triple J. Too bad I don’t live there.

Michelle Tourigny ’92
New York, N.Y.

 

The article about WCHC in the winter issue was a pleasant diversion from the increasingly worrisome events of these difficult days. It also held a special surprise for me. The picture on Page 15—captioned, “The Paks perform live on WCHC”—brought back some very pleasant memories of music and friendship. However, the caption is not quite right. That picture was taken sometime in 1959-61. At that time, the Paks were a small singing group (a dozen or so voices), which was part of the Holy Cross Glee Club, under the direction of Dr. Fred Mirliani. The picture is of a folk music quartet, originally known as the O’Kane Four, whose members were Stan Chojnacki, Toni Lang, Tom Whalen and Bill Berlinghoff, all of the class of 1961.

Bill Berlinghoff ’61
Farmington, Maine

 

I was pleased to discover myself in the photo on Page 15 of the winter issue of HCM. However, there is one bit of misinformation that should be clarified. The group pictured is not The Paks—that’s short for Pakachoagians, which at that time was the Holy Cross Glee Club’s featured group of 12. An interesting aside: in this photo, three of us were in fact members of the Paks, and I was director of that group in my senior year. However, pictured here “performing live on WCHC” is the 1960 version of the “Crosschords,” made up of (from right to left): Bill Berlinghoff ’61 on guitar, Tom Whalen ’61, yours truly Anton (Toni) Lang ’61 on banjo and the late Ron Boruch ’63.

The “Crosschords” was organized by Bill Berlinghoff in our freshman year (winter of ’58) to represent our dorm (O’Kane IV) in the campus variety show. We took first prize in that competition and ended up singing together for most of our college years in the local college circuit and a few commercial venues. This was the time when folk singing was just entering the popular mainstream, led by such well known groups as The Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul, & Mary; the Highwaymen; the Limelighters and the like. In fact, the “Crosschords” were singing our own version of “Tom Dooley” years before the Kingston Trio’s version hit the top pop charts. In our junior year we were tempted to get an agent and go commercial, but our responsible Jesuit backgrounds and our majors (one BS math, one BS physics, and two AB prelaw) led us to go our separate ways (Washington D.C., New York, Vermont, Milwaukee) after graduation, and pursue “real” professions.

One often wonders where this “show biz” path could have taken us. At that time, with the popularity of that type of singing, we might have ridden a few years of unprecedented fame and fortune! (Ha!) For me personally it led to a lifetime of a music avocation that has been a great sanity saver in the high tech, software engineering career path I pursued. Even today in my retirement, besides singing in community choruses and church choirs, I have a small group that actively performs here in the Denver area with a repertoire similar to the “Crosschords” of Holy Cross days. What comes around …

Speaking of music: Doc (Frederick) Mirliani ’32 was a very inspirational director of the Holy Cross music department during my years at the Cross. When he passed away, I was surprised and disappointed that a feature article was not published in the magazine.
Thanks for the memories. Keep up the good work with the Holy Cross Magazine.

Anton (Toni) Lang ’61
Littleton, Colo.

 

“Remembering Phil”
Thanks to David O’Brien for “Remembering Phil” in the winter issue. The prophet is always without honor in his own country. The phrases that come to mind when I remember Phil Berrigan are Old Testament prophet, confronting the principalities and powers, intransigent fixation on making peace, steely resolve, and focus like a dog with a bone. He was easy to criticize and impossible to ignore. A member of “the greatest generation,” his four years in European combat in World War II earned him the moral stripes, so to speak, that made his peace witness especially compelling.

Phil Berrigan was the fifth most influential person in my life, right behind the Lord, my wife and my parents. And Phil was responsible for my meeting my wife in Baltimore in 1967. For that, I’m ever grateful. There we confronted the sleazy underbelly of slumlord injustice and worked with Phil and many others to try to make peace with marching, educating and demonstrating. I never went the last mile with him to “cleanse” the draft records or bang the nosecones into plowshares. My aversion to jail is on a par with my allergy to hospitals, insurance agents and car salesmen. But I grew in commitment to aid the powerless and the victims of war and injustice.

As for Holy Cross as the “cradle of the Catholic Left,” as Time magazine would have it, I’m sure the broadest smiles are coming from Phil himself. One could get testy, and recite the long line of distinguished graduates from Clarence Thomas on down through countless judges, doctors, lawyers, teachers, corporate execs and others who are about as far from the “Catholic Left” as the next galaxy! But let it pass. There is deep peace beyond the grave and many mansions in Our Father’s house. Enjoy yours, Phil.

Richard Kane ’59
Stewartsville, N.J.

 

The Purple Patcher of 1950 describes Phil Berrigan as “the iron man of gentleness and good humor.” That phrase brings to mind Carl Sandburg’s description of Lincoln as a man of steel and a man of velvet.

Phil was a man of steel when it came to defending peace and justice and a man of velvet when it came to his compassion for the poor and the destitute. Ten years after my graduation, I went to see Phil in the early ’60s when he was speaking at a Catholic college in Buffalo. I was director of students at the Passionists Seminary in Dunkirk, N.Y., and a graduate student at Canisius College. Phil motivated me that evening to the causes of peace and justice.

Over the next 40 years, Phil was a leader for many of us along with his brother, Dan. They inspired us to march through the streets of Washington, New York and Cantonsville. They led us in prayer at vigils and services. They forced us to examine the moral dilemmas of our times.

The Vietnam War was a tragedy and Phil Berrigan’s dedication was to avoid war at all costs. He gave years of his life to remind us of the evil of war. In 1980, when our family “adopted” five Vietnamese young adults who had been rescued in the South China Sea by a ship captained by a Holy Cross graduate, our lives were changed. They lived with our family of six and have been part of us for over two decades.

I am reading, again, the special issue of The Holy Cross Quarterly dedicated to the Berrigans. It makes me proud of Holy Cross and great people like Phil Berrigan.
Phil, rest in peace.

Jack Martin ’52
Freehold, N.J.

 

“Berrigan and Thomas”
Your recent issue was both interesting and informative. It provided an interesting contrast between the late Fr. Philip Berrigan, a man of outstanding moral courage (although I think that the forms of his protests were a waste of his resources) and Clarence Thomas. No matter what efforts are made to excuse him, he is quite simply a disgrace as well as a psychiatrist’s challenge. There could not be a more ironic choice to succeed the noble Thurgood Marshall than a man whose judicial philosophy includes what seems to me to be the principle that all victims are guilty. I maintain that the two greatest moral insights of our age are: Walt Kelly’s “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” and Sean O’Casey’s “There is nothing as passionate as a vested interest disguised as an intellectual conviction.” More and more, Americans are shut off from debate, and the results are so stifling in politics, public life and culture in general that we are indeed appearing to be naked hypocrites to anyone in the world capable of any level of intelligent discernment. So, here’s to more good issues.

Gordon A. Cronin ’55
Northampton, Mass.

 

“The Fall Issue”
Many thanks for a rich, thought-provoking and, personally, very touching issue of Holy Cross Magazine. The roundtable on the sex abuse scandal in the Church set a sound foundation for seeking justice and reform in this troubling time. The address by Fr. Kuzniewski on teaching—his own, the College’s, and the Jesuits’—was as humane and sensible a reflection on “what we teachers do and why we do it” as I have read in some time. It also stirred fond memories of the fruitful time I spent not only in “Father K’s” class, but in those of his colleagues in the history department—Professors Green, Powers, Flynn, Beales and McBride. Most of all, however, I was happy to read about the ongoing practice of retreats at Holy Cross, especially the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. I entered twice into the silence of the five-day Exercises, and the lessons, perspectives and experiences I had on those two retreats have done much to form who I am and how I approach life to this day.

The magazine arrived within days of the sad and untimely news of Dean Joe Maguire’s death, so the lessons of the Spiritual Exercises were much on my mind as I attended his funeral Mass. Holy Cross and many of its sons and daughters have lost a great friend, but his spirit and prayers will no doubt continue to benefit us all.

Richard Canedo ’83
Providence, R.I.

 

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