Opening Words from Sun. February 11 by Jim Rhodes

Good morning, everyone! My name is Jim Rhodes, and my pronouns are he and him.

When Claire asked me to do Opening Words, I wasn’t sure how to approach this. I’m not a regular part of the Ethical Society’s music program but I love the music we have here, and we are so lucky to have talented musicians like Amy and Claire and Kyle and his band and our Ethical Voices.

But first, we are going to do a short music trivia contest! I want everybody to stand up and stretch your arms out. I am going to ask five questions that I think most of you should know the answers to, OK? The way this will work is that each question will have three possible answers. Raise your right arm if the answer is option number one, your left arm if it is option number two, and both arms if it is option number three. If you get the answer right, remain standing for the next question. Otherwise, please sit down. And most of these questions are based on music and artists here in St. Louis, so it should be easy.

Are we ready. Ok, let’s go!

Question #1 – The Saint Louis Ethical Society was originally housed in a building that is now a popular concert venue. Is that building?
A. The Kiel Opera House
B. The Sheldon Auditorium*
C. The Broadway Oyster Bar

Question #2 – Chuck Berry, who is from St. Louis, wrote and performed which of the following songs?
A. My Ding-a-Ling*
B. Rock Around the Clock
C. Hotel California

Question #3 – The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra has a free concert open to everyone as their first concert of the year. Where is this concert performed?
A. Powell Hall
B. Forest Park*
C. The Muny

Question #4 – In 1895, Lee Shelton shot Billy Lyons in a conflict over a Stetson hat in a bar in St. Louis. The fight became famous in which of the following pop songs recorded by Lloyd Price in 1959.
A. Hey Joe
B. I Shot the Sheriff
C. Stagger Lee*

Question #5 – The pop singer Taylor Swift has drawn the ire of MAGA Republicans for her relationship with the football player Travis Kelce. Which football team does Travis play for?
D. The LA Rams
E. The Green Bay Packers
F. The Kansas City Chiefs*

You all did great! You can sit down now if you are still standing.

Hans Vonk, who was a conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, was quoted as saying that “Life without music is impossible.” Music has the power to inspire us, to make us happy, to make us want to dance, and to bring us together in ways that words alone can’t do. I have long felt that the music scene here in St. Louis is rich with a wide variety of opportunities to hear lots of different kinds of music so regardless of what type of music you like, you can find it here.

I grew up mainly listening to pop and rock music. And as a result, I have a lot of these songs rattling around in my brain. But over the years, I grew to like classical music and jazz as well as more traditional forms like bluegrass and country and Cajun music. My wife and I have an extensive collection of music CDs that we often listen to/

I feel that the music program of the Ethical Society brings in some great artists from the outside to perform for us and Claire is doing a great job with our music program. Our leader Amy adds a lot with her fabulous singing that she loves to do. And we have members who are very talented like Kyle and Randy Holmes and other like Tom Kniest.

I will stop here so Claire and our other musicians can get started.

Thank you all.

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.