Phase one of Brookfield School project nearing completion: New school to open in Pocket area this fall

Dwayne Taylor, project superintendent, points to a drawing of the soon-to-be-opened Brookfield School. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Dwayne Taylor, project superintendent, points to a drawing of the soon-to-be-opened Brookfield School. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Although the “moon dust” is still flying at the Brookfield School project behind The Trap bar at 43rd Avenue and Riverside Boulevard, phase one of the project is considered on course for completion. The pre-K-8th grade school is thus expected to open on schedule at that site this fall.
Both Dwayne Taylor, project superintendent, and Joe Giger, project manager, took breaks from their busy schedules last week to share details about the project with this publication.
Prior to discussing the project, which is being performed by the Rancho Cordova-based DesCor Builders, Taylor strolled across the extremely dusty grounds of the new school site.
In commenting about that powdery layer of silt, Taylor, who is a resident of Rocklin, said, “It’s been crazy. It’s been really hard to manage, because when you get it wet, it turns into snot, just slippery and it sticks to everything and you can’t drive on it. But after a good rain and it has actually had a chance to dry, then it kind of shrinks and solidifies. But as soon as you drive on it or walk on it, it breaks up and turns to ‘moon dust’ again.”
Taylor spoke with a confident and proud tone to his voice while he discussed the progress of the work that has been performed on the site since the project began last March. However, he admitted that some days have been more productive than other days.
“We’re still trying to cram a square block in a round hole,” Taylor said. “We have a really ridged, fast-paced schedule, and its construction. You know, not everything goes as we would like or we would hope. While we’re moving full speed ahead, occasionally we have to go backward and sidestep. So, it just adds to the schedule. It may appear on the outside that we’re moving forward. Sometimes we’re not. We have our complications, but sometimes that’s part of the fun. I enjoy a certain level of chaos.”
After being asked to name the most challenging part of the project, Taylor said, “It would probably be the framing. It’s a wood frame, so it’s like residential, but it’s commercial. In order for it to be structurally sound, there’s a lot of timber in these walls – a lot of posts and oversized studs, headers. Everything is oversized and overbuilt, because it’s commercial and it’s all wood.”
Taylor said that he feels fortunate to have been presented with a group of quality workers.
“We’ve been really lucky and got a good group of guys on this project,” Taylor said. “I think because of the pace and speed of the project, some of the subcontractors had to send some of their better guys out. We didn’t have a relaxed environment, so they could send out some more relaxed people. The quality (of labor) has been where it needs to be for a school (construction project), which is at a slightly higher level of quality for safety and things like that.”
Several of the workers, Taylor added, did receive a few complaints from residential neighbors.
“Some of the guys get a little too anxious and they start earlier in the morning before our 7 a.m. start time,” Taylor said.
Construction on the site was originally performed Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to either 4 or 5 p.m., but by June that schedule was decreased to the present Monday through Friday schedule, with the same hours.
In discussing the topic of the future school’s other neighbor – The Trap, and some of its owners’ concern with a school being built next to a bar – Taylor said, “I think they were just trying to bring attention to themselves and the project, and when that didn’t go their way, then they quieted down. But they’ve been great. They’ve been great neighbors.”
Taylor said that there is a possibility that the entire Brookfield School project may not be completed for about five more years.
“Phase two (which will feature a pre-K building and an all purpose/community center building) is funding driven, so as enrollment increases in the school, then that will help create the phase two budget,” Taylor said. “So, right now, it’s unknown whether it’s a year or five years (until phase two can be commenced).”
During his interview with the Pocket News, Giger, who is a resident of Carmichael, mainly focused on reviewing phase one of the project.
“Phase one is (the) administration building, (a) bunch of classrooms, computer rooms, science rooms, a lot of natural lights,” Giger said. “These classrooms have a ton of windows, both skylights, as well as ephemeral walls. They also have a pretty unique system called the night flush system that’s an energy efficient cooling system. There are a total of seven structures.”
Giger, who also manages the project with Placerville resident Colin Culver, project engineer, said that on average, about 60 people have been working on the site during the past five months. These workers have performed such labors as grading, concrete and framing work to drywall, painting and mechanical work.
In presenting a timeline of activities of the project, Giger began by saying that in March “there was a lot of clearing and grubbing and a lot of land leveling work, followed by a lot of underground utilities” work.
A forklift driver maneuvers his vehicle on the east side of the school construction site. Photo by Lance Armstrong

A forklift driver maneuvers his vehicle on the east side of the school construction site. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Giger added that water, sewer, storm drain and electrical infrastructures were added to the property, which he referred to as having been a “raw piece of land.”
After the utility work was completed in late April, cement was poured for the foundations of the buildings.
Giger noted that workers “prefabed the walls” for the project’s phase one buildings.
“We had a lay down area out here (where) we built every single wall before the (cement) was even poured,” Giger said. “Two days later, we were on it erecting walls, and the walls were already built, laying down on the ground. So, that was how we were able to expedite. If we were to just go once the flat is built and build every wall, we would still be in framing stages.”
After the walls were completely secured in their upright positions in either late May or early June, roofs were constructed above those walls from June through July.
The next step of the project was to begin the interior work such as electrical, mechanical, and plumbing additions.
Giger, who referred to that portion of the project as the “roughing stage,” said that stage has been completed, and workers are presently at the “finishes stage,” which consists of drywall work and painting.
During his interview for this article, Taylor mentioned that the exterior of the building will be painted in a variety of colors, with the main colors being red, blue and off white.
Beneficial to workers, as well as nearby neighbors, was the laying of asphalt driveways and parking areas on the corner of the site behind The Trap in late July. The presence of asphalt in that area eliminated any future possibilities of the stirring up of “moon dust” on that portion of the grounds.
To complete the project, workers will also perform T-bar work on the ceilings, grind and paint the concrete floors and add landscaping to the grounds. The irrigation system, which is necessary for the landscaping has already been added to the site, Giger said.
The addition of plants and trees at the site is scheduled to begin in about two weeks.
The current construction project, Giger noted last week, was then “roughly a month” away from completion.
After that work is completed, off-site improvements, including the installation of a traffic light at 43rd Avenue and Riverside Boulevard and a sidewalk on the street sides of the school, will begin.
In reviewing Brookfield School’s phase one project as a whole, Giger said, “The architects have done a very cool, open design with a single-pitched roof. It’s very modern, as well. The quality of the work has been great and (the Pocket area will soon have) a nice, fresh, brand new, state-of-the-art school.”

The Rev. Dan Madigan recalls longtime devotion to local parishes

The Rev. Dan Madigan served as a pastor in parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for nearly a half-century. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Rev. Dan Madigan served as a pastor in parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento for nearly a half-century. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series about the Rev. Dan Madigan.

After nearly a half-century of serving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, Dan Madigan, as noted in the previous article of this series was celebrated for his longtime devotion to the ministry, on Sunday, June 29. He officially retired the following day.
During his recent, exclusive interview with this publication, Madigan, 76, shared details about various experiences in his life.
Among those experiences, he noted, was serving as assistant pastor of the Sacred Heart Parish.
“I got promoted (from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish) – well, I feel it was a promotion over to Sacred Heart over at 39th and J (streets in East Sacramento),” Madigan said. “Governor (Ronald) Reagan was up the road there at that time, so it was totally, completely different (then at Our Lady of Lourdes). When I came from Ireland and went into Our Lady of Lourdes, I thought, ‘Well, that’s the United States.’ But (at) Sacred Heart, I didn’t feel as needed there, but the people are very nice there.”
In 1976, Madigan became the pastor of the Immaculate Conception Parish.
And in discussing his service with that parish, Madigan said, “Immaculate Conception came up as a pastor. I applied and got it, and I started the (Sacramento) Food Bank. These people came through very, very well. When I started the food bank, I started going out to other churches and making appeals, because we had to get some money to get going and get the thing off the ground. Those were wonderful years.”
In many ways, Madigan became synonymous with the St. Joseph Church of Clarksburg. And his longevity in that position alone certainly draws one’s attention.
Madigan, who began serving as St. Joseph’s pastor in 1989, explained that during his time as pastor of that parish, he gained a knowledge and appreciation for the history of the area.
“I knew very little about the background of this beautiful parish church, or even the Delta in which it sits,” Madigan said. “Neither did I know about the great number of Portuguese people who once lived on both sides of the Sacramento River, namely in the Pocket district, Freeport and also on the Yolo side of the river.
Additionally, Madigan spoke about the longtime Portuguese connection to St. Joseph Church.
“On learning the (the parish’s original, wooden) church was built by Portuguese immigrants, I immediately assumed all these folks came from Portugual,” Madigan said. “How wrong I was. Hearing about the Azores Islands, I decided to do some research. My quest led me down some beautiful pathways, discovering as I went, a people I have certainly fallen in love with. Their grit, their religious beliefs, their quiet and noble characters, coupled with their willingness to embrace the grueling work necessary to improve life for their families, made them my true heroes.”
The history of St. Joseph Church dates back to October 1892, when John Soto donated the Yolo County land for the sole purpose of building a Catholic church for the Portuguese farming community.
The baptismal book at St. Joseph Church reveals that between the years of 1893 to 1951, 591 Portuguese children were baptized at that church.
Madigan, continued his work as the director of the Sacramento Food Bank until December 2007.
He had opted to spend more time with the people of the growing St. Joseph Parish and to continuing to discover ways that he could help those in need.
Two years prior to leaving the food bank, Madigan established the St. Joseph’s Mobile Mall, which distributes household goods and clothing to many sites in south Sacramento.
And in 2012, Madigan founded the Mobile Food Locker ministry, which distributes food on a weekly basis to those in need at St. Anne Catholic Church at 7724 24th St., St. Paul Catholic Church at 8720 Florin Road, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church at 14012 Walnut Ave. in Walnut Grove and Bishop Gallegos Maternity Home at 6423 Lang Ave. in south Sacramento.
Those who know Madigan well know that his love of animals did not end with his dog, Brutis, who was referred to in the initial article of this series.
Madigan also grew up around donkeys and has had various other animals during his life, including his Great Danes, Seamus, Molly and Nellie.
Madigan said that he has retired to another residence in Clarksburg with the last survivor of those dogs, Nellie.
In explaining his decision to retire, Madigan said, “I’m certainly of the age – 76. Most priests retire at 70 and even some retire at 65. So, the next one would be 75, and I even went an extra year. I had contemplated maybe spending another couple of years (as St. Joseph’s pastor), but I am the youngest of the family in Ireland, so I have four brothers in Ireland and a sister and they’re all moving on in life. They’re 84 to 90 years of age. That’s definitely something I gave a lot of thought to, and I feel that they’re getting frail and so forth and I should be available to go back and see them. So, that was definitely a big factor.”
And after being asked how often he plans to return to Ireland, Madigan said, “When necessary.”
Madigan also said at the time of his interview for this series that he was planning to depart for a month-long trip to Ireland on July 16.
In addition to taking occasional trips to Ireland, Madigan has planned to utilize his retirement years to work on his writings.
Madigan, whose education includes earning a master’s degree in social work at Sacramento State University in 1976 and a doctorate’s degree in philosophy from the Union Institute & University of Cincinnati in 1979, is presently working on a book.
Despite his retirement, Madigan said that he will be available to assist any priest in need.
“I’ll always be willing to help out if some priest wants a little help here and there,” Madigan said. “It’s just that I’m not tied down to the commitment to work.”

Tuesday Club of Sacramento promoted educational, social and philanthropic endeavors

In order to provide better communication with its members, the club began publishing its own newsletter, The TC News, in November 1946. Shown above is the Oct. 1, 1959 edition, which includes a photograph of Irene Sweet, who was then serving as the club’s president. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

In order to provide better communication with its members, the club began publishing its own newsletter, The TC News, in November 1946. Shown above is the Oct. 1, 1959 edition, which includes a photograph of Irene Sweet, who was then serving as the club’s president. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a series about the Tuesday Club of Sacramento.

The majority of the Tuesday Club of Sacramento’s existence was spent at its site, just south of Sutter’s Fort, at 2722 L St.
As mentioned in the previous article of this series, this local women’s institution opened its first club-owned meeting place at that location in 1912.
Those familiar with this club know that it consisted of various sections. And some of those sections included, at certain times, its home and garden (originally home and education) section, bridge section, choral section, drama section, dance section, historical and antique section, bowling section, golf section, arts and crafts section, creative writing section, Spanish study section and multiple book sections. The latter section previously operated as the literary department.
In February 1913, following the completion of the furnishing of its clubhouse, the club acquired a Steinway grand piano for its stage.
Fundraising for the rental of an additional piano in the lower hall, as well as for other purposes, began later that year.
The 1915 completion of the construction of the Women’s Building on the old grounds of the State Fair on Stockton Boulevard was a satisfying moment for the Tuesday Club, as it had encouraged the state to add the structure to that site.
The 1920s began with the formation of the Tuesday Club Auxiliary, whose membership consisted of unmarried daughters of Tuesday Club members. The purpose of the organization was to train its members “in the ways of future club women.”
The auxiliary, which began with a membership of 53 in January 1920 and disbanded two decades later, had regular meetings and special programs.
Among the club’s notable events of the 1920s occurred during the evening of Nov. 5, 1923, when the organization presented a special dedication program to introduce its new, $15,000 pipe organ to the public.
Every seat was filled and additional attendees crowded the hall’s stairways and doorways to witness a concert performed by John J. McClellan (1874-1925), organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Salt Lake City.
The opening number was the “Star Spangled Banner,” which would not become America’s national anthem for another seven years.
In all, McClellan played 20 numbers, including compositions by Wagner, Bach and Schubert.
The organ was a gift from Tuesday Club member Cornelia E. (Bromley) Fratt, who had donated the funds for the instrument in 1917.
The use of those funds for an organ were delayed due to World War I, as Fratt had requested that the money be made available for the possible purchase of Liberty Bonds.
With the end of the war, the funds would once again be made available to the club for the purchase of the organ. The instrument was eventually purchased, and then installed during the summer of 1923.
As part of the dedication event, Nellie Siddons Hall (1868-1943), then president of the Tuesday Club, officially received the organ on behalf of the club.
Another highlight in the club’s history came in 1927 with the burning of the mortgage of its clubhouse.
The club’s philanthropy department kept very active for many years.
For instance, members of the club spent decades providing financial support to the American Red Cross.
During World War II, the club set up sewing machines in its clubhouse and sewed for the war efforts behind blackout curtains.
In its efforts to serve as more than a social club, the Tuesday Club also supported the YMCA, the YWCA, the Sacramento Tuberculosis Association and the Yolo Causeway project. The club also assisted in the establishment of a juvenile court.
In order to provide better communication with its members, the club began publishing its own newsletter, The TC News, in November 1946.
The Dec. 1, 1946 edition of The News notes: “Hale Brothers (department store at 825 K St.) have expressed their good wishes in a tangible way with the gift of The TC News. While we our counting our blessings and achievements, let us remember the sponsor who made our bulletin possible.”
On Dec. 8, 1949, the club established its picture rental section at the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery – today’s Crocker Art Museum.
The section, which was the idea of Tuesday Club member Maud Pook, had the dual purpose of allowing those of lesser financial means to rent quality, original oil and water color paintings – and later acrylic, block prints, collage and other art media – for their homes or offices and providing an outlet for new artists to display their works.
Among the most notable local artists who contributed their works to this section was Sacramento artist Wayne Thiebaud.
In the April 1971 edition of The TC News, it was mentioned that Ruth E. Gorman, picture rental chairman, had reported that about 3,000 paintings were being rented each month.
The picture rental section was relocated to Country Club Centre and reopened at that site on Sept. 8, 1974. And due to a decrease in interest by the public and Tuesday Club members, this service was sold a decade later.
Undoubtedly one of the lowest moments in the club’s history came by way of a fire that virtually destroyed its clubhouse on Sept. 11, 1950.
To make matters worse, fireman Carson Hart was killed while fighting the fire.
Tuesday Club of Sacramento members stand on the east side of the clubhouse in front of the Camellia Room awning in this 1996 photograph. Photo courtesy of the Tuesday Club of Sacramento

Tuesday Club of Sacramento members stand on the east side of the clubhouse in front of the Camellia Room awning in this 1996 photograph. Photo courtesy of the Tuesday Club of Sacramento

Following that casualty, the club established the Carson Hart Memorial Fund to assist in the education and training of Hart’s three daughters.
With the loss of its building, Tuesday Club members, who then numbered 1,160, met for general meetings at the Alhambra Theatre at 1101 Alhambra Blvd. in East Sacramento, as well as at other locations.
It was also during that time that the club set up temporary headquarters and held section meetings at the Scottish Rite Temple, at 2730 L St.
After much discussion among club members, a decision was made by the club to rebuild its clubhouse in the same location of its previous clubhouse.
A contract was let for that project in September 1951 and the structure was almost entirely rebuilt and expanded by contractor Charles F. Unger at a cost of $118,400.
On May 10, 1952, The Sacramento Bee reported that the new clubhouse was completed and ready for occupancy.
In its description of the building, The Bee included the following words: “The front of the two-story structure has been remodeled in contemporary style with native materials. The predominant exterior colors are gray and brown.
“(Architect Kenneth C.) Rickey (of the architectural firm, Rickey & Brooks) said large planter boxes have been included at the main front entrance and the front second story deck.
“The auditorium has been refinished and equipped and front rooms have been enlarged for office and clubroom space. A new entrance to the basement banquet room has been provided and the downstairs kitchen area has been remodeled.
“The rear doorways of the auditorium have been doubled in size and two new steel fire escapes have been added. The ceiling was curved to provide improved acoustics and new flooring and balcony seats were installed. Curtain and stage equipment were fireproofed.”
Fortunately, many of the buildings furnishings were saved during the fire and were placed in the newly completed building.
On May 1, 1952, club officials moved into the structure’s new office area, and a formal opening of the building was held 19 days later.
During the same year, the club was incorporated as a nonprofit organization, with dues of $10 per year.
The Tuesday Club House Association, the stock corporation that had handled the club’s business affairs for the previous half-century, was dissolved in 1953, as the club purchased all of the association’s remaining stock.
In another Bee article, which was published on November 17, 1954, it was reported that the Tuesday Club had discontinued its affiliation with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs during the previous day due to an increase in annual dues from $375 to more than $900.
With the 1960s came the introduction of the sewing section’s fashion shows, which featured creations of that section’s members.
Additionally, the club purchased a Baldwin grand piano during the same decade.
In December 1965, The TC News announced the formation of the club’s travel section, noting: “The travel section is opening the doors to travelers, so that they may travel to all parts of the world with their friends, with the added advantage of group rates.”
In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the club held its “Diamond Jubilee” dinner dance at the clubhouse on March 13, 1971. Music was provided by Eddie Halter’s orchestra.
In 1976, 12 6-foot tables and 25 8-foot tables were purchased for the clubhouse’s Camellia Room and the building’s Ladies Lounge received new, elegant carpeting.
A continuation of the club’s history, some of which will be told by former members of the club, will conclude this series in the next addition of this publication.

Accomplished artists chose Sacramento as destination place to expand their notoriety

Margo K. Nahas and her husband, Jay Vigon, recently moved to Sacramento to present their artistic talents to a broader audience. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Margo K. Nahas and her husband, Jay Vigon, recently moved to Sacramento to present their artistic talents to a broader audience. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series about 1967 C.K. McClatchy High School alumna and artist Margo Z. Nahas. This article also includes details about her husband, graphic designer Jay Vigon.

Margo Z. Nahas, the local artist who was recognized in the last edition of this paper for the 30th anniversary of her creation of the cover art for the rock band Van Halen’s famous album, “MCMLXXXIV”, has had a lifelong love of art.

During a recent interview for this article, Margo shared various details about her life history, which included her unusual birth in the capital city.

“I was born en route to Sutter (Maternity Hospital/later known as Sutter Memorial Hospital at 52nd and F streets),” Margo said. “I was born in front of the (Sacramento) County Hospital (at 2315 Stockton Blvd.), but we were on our way to the Sutter (Maternity Hospital).”

Margo grew up with her father, Alfred, her mother, Myrle, and her older sister, Kay Nahas (now Kay Cunningham), who like Margo graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School.

After being asked to cite her first memory of art, Margo said, “Our neighbor, Eva ‘Baba’ Parker, who, interestingly enough, was in the car when I was born and even delivered me, used to take care of us when we were little kids. In order to keep us busy, she used to set us down and have us draw pictures. She put a vase of flowers in the middle of the table and we would have to draw it, my sister and I. And then we got another caregiver, Dorothy ‘Dot’ Parks, another lady who we also adored, and she would draw women’s faces, profiles for us. I became totally obsessed with drawing faces to a point that I couldn’t fully concentrate in school. I eventually became a full-time professional artist.”

In the fall of 1954, Margo began her schooling years at Fruitridge Elementary School at 4625 44th St., and she transferred four years later to Sutterville School at 4967 Monterey Way.

Margo’s next stop in her educational voyage began in 1961 at Joaquin Miller Junior High School at 4701 Joaquin Way.

While attending that school, Margo had an art teacher who she said brought her much inspiration.

“Randy Wilson, my instructor at Joaquin Miller, introduced mediums that were new to me, especially oil paints,” Margo said.

She also recalled that it was during her time at that school that she began taking private art lessons.

Margo added that she was fortunate to have had a mother who supported her artistic aspirations and invested in art supplies from the professional art store, Flax of Sacramento, at 1016 14th St.

During Margo’s years at McClatchy High from 1964 to 1967, her ability as an artist continued to increase.

Margo noted that she was among the school’s top artists and was recognized by her art teacher, Joy Fox, as a very versatile art student.

After high school, Margo attended Stephens College, a liberal arts college in Columbia, Mo.

While in her second year at that college, one of her good friends from high school sent her a very small advertisement about Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles (now located in Pasadena).

Margo, who decided to attend Art College, said that she met her future husband, Jay Vigon, at that institution.

“Lucky for me, Jay turned into one of the more notable, international graphic designers,” Margo said. “I met him in 1972 and we were married in Topanga Canyon on Feb. 14, 1976.”

Margo said that she obtained her first job while she was still attending Art Center.

“In the midst of going to Art Center, I got my first job doing an album cover for (the soft rock duo) Seals and Croft,” Margo said. “It was in 1973 and the album was released the following the year. The album was called, ‘Unborn Child,’ and it was a major introduction into the record business for me.”

Shortly after completing that project, Margo, Jay and Jay’s twin brother, Larry, opened their own design firm, Vigon Nahas Vigon, which was located at 6420 Wilshire Blvd. in a high rise building, right on the cusp of Beverly Hills.

In recalling that business, Margo said, “We became one of the most popular design/illustration studios in L.A. Most of our work came from the myriad of record companies in the area. We did mostly music-related graphics, but we also did complete album covers and worked in advertising and worked for magazines, including Hustler, Oui, Playgirl, Bon Appétit and In Flight. Among the album packages we created at that time were Stevie Wonder’s ‘Journey through the Secret Life of Plants,’ Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk,’ and four albums for J.J. Cale. We also created the ever popular Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers original logo.”

After five years on Wilshire Boulevard, the business moved to 717 N. La Cienega Blvd. in Los Angeles, and soon afterward, Larry left the company.

Shortly thereafter, the partnership dissolved and Margo and Jay began working in their home studio.

Margo then focused primarily on advertising illustrations and some album art, including artwork for albums by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Toto, Autograph, and ultimately Van Halen.

Another one of her notable creations was her artwork for the film, “Fright Night Part II.”

In a brief interview for this article, Jay said that he created one of his most famous designs at his home studio.

“I created the logo for the original working title of (Star Wars) ‘Revenge of the Jedi,’ which I later had to augment to the final title of ‘Return of the Jedi,’” Jay said.

Jay also created the graphics for the Prince and The Revolution film and soundtrack album, “Purple Rain.”

Additionally, Jay said, “I was the first American designer to be invited to create two Swatch watches. One was called ‘Fishbone’ and the other one was called ‘You Don’t Live in a Nine to Five World.’”

In 1984, Jay created the business, Vigon Seireeni, with Warner Bros. art director Rick Seireeni.

And in recalling that time in his career, Jay said, “We kept on doing music (related projects) and also branched out into fashion and advertising, and we began working on international projects.”

Vigon Seireeni remained in business for five years, at which point Jay returned to his home studio, where he pioneered moving graphics over live action for national television commercials.

Jay and Margo opened Made on Earth retail store in Studio City in the early 1990s. The store focused on Jay’s character designs on products such as T-shirts, bowling shirts, watches, custom Zippo lighters and artistic chairs.

In that partnership, Margo designed the products and Jay designed the products’ characters.

Assisting Jay and Margo in the store were their daughters, Morgan and Jordan.

In 2004, after three decades of creating for other companies and individuals, Jay and Margo decided to search for their own acreage and move to the country.

They literally, by chance, found 34 acres, with a quarter mile stretch along the Raccoon River by Adel, Iowa.

There they focused on their personal artistic interests, with Jay doing fine art work, along with his graphic design, and Margo completely devoting herself to jewelry design.

Margo said that after 10 years in Iowa, she decided to move with Jay back to her hometown of Sacramento for both business reasons and to spend time with other members of her family.

And in commenting about the business portion of that decision to head west, Margo said, “After a winter of minus 36 degree wind chill, we decided to pull up stakes and move to sunny California. We essentially said, ‘Nobody sees are art here.’ We really need to reintroduce ourselves and our talents to a broader audience.”

Sacramento’s first commercial radio station established in 1922

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a series about the history of broadcasting in the Sacramento area. This series was inspired by readers’ positive responses to previous articles about local television history in this publication and several requests to feature histories of local radio stations.

KVQ, Sacramento’s first commercial radio station, made its debut in this building at 711-715 7th St. in 1922. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

KVQ, Sacramento’s first commercial radio station, made its debut in this building at 711-715 7th St. in 1922. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

For many years prior to the widespread introduction of television, Sacramentans were very much in the practice of utilizing their own blank canvases to paint mental pictures through the sound of radio.

Although there are still many locals who love listening to the radio today, pre-television days in the capital city were obviously much different times when it comes to the topic of broadcasting.

An early reference to radio appeared in the Jan. 27, 1922 edition of The Sacramento Bee.

In that report, it was mentioned that the Sacramento Valley Radio Club would be presenting a free “wireless concert” that evening at the YMCA building at 5th and J streets.

The club, which then consisted of more than 600 amateur wireless operators from Sacramento and its vicinity, designed the event “for the benefit of all interested in the study of wireless and those wishing to join the club.”

On Feb. 2, 1922 – just 15 months after the Westinghouse Electric Co. became recognized as opening the world’s first permanent radio station, KDKA, of East Pittsburgh, Pa. – Sacramento’s first commercial radio station, KVQ 833 AM, with a power of only five watts, went on the air.

The station was originally co-owned by The Bee, making it the state’s first newspaper-owned radio station.

As the story goes, Carlos McClatchy (1891-1933) had been introduced to radio during the previous year through a friend on the East Coast and Carlos’ enthusiasm led him to convince his father, Bee editor Charles Kenny “C.K.” McClatchy, to contribute toward the establishment of KVQ.

Also co-owning KVQ was the local, German-born electrician Joseph Charles Hobrecht (1876-1953), who along with his brother, Philip J. Hobrecht, then-owned the lighting fixture business, J.C. Hobrecht Co., at 1014 6th St.

According to the 1913 book, “History of Sacramento County, California,” the Hobrecht brothers first opened their business at 1012 10th St. on Sept. 20, 1909. They relocated their establishment to its 6th Street location about four years later.

The book also notes that Joseph previously worked in Montana as an electrician, then came to California in 1900. He continued to work in the same profession and eventually spent at least four years employed with the Electrical Supply Co. at 815 J St.

Joseph’s interest in co-founding a commercial radio station in Sacramento was influenced by the fact that J.C. Hobrecht Co. had already gained experience as a radio parts dealer in the capital city.

The inaugural day’s program for KVQ included news and weather reports and music performed by eight Victor recording artists in an office on the second floor of The Bee building at 911-15 7th St.

In its following day report regarding KVQ’s debut, The Bee noted that the station’s inaugural concert was presented from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The station officially began when the following words were spoken into a microphone: “KVQ, KVQ, KVQ, Sacramento Bee calling. Hello, hello.”

It was also noted in The Bee’s Feb. 3, 1922 report that the aforementioned eight recording artists had their part in the concert shortened by 30 minutes due to the late arrival of their train from San Francisco.

The Victor singers who performed for KVQ’s first concert were Frank Banta, Henry Burr, Albert Campbell, Frank Croxton, Fred Van Eps, John Meyer, Billy Murray and Monroe Silver.

These artists, who were referred to in the article as the “Victor eight,” performed five numbers.

The program began with a piano piece by Banta, who was well-known for his abilities as a skillful jazz pianist.

The next number featured Billy Murray, who sang, “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.”

One of the more lively numbers was a banjo solo by Van Eps.

In a special Bee report from Roseville, it was noted: “All of the Victor artists could be heard plainly (in Roseville) and the banjo solo by Fred Van Eps was interesting, because every stroke that Van Eps used on his banjo could be heard and every trill and run of his masterful touch could be heard as if he were playing in the next room.”

Another one of the pieces of the evening highlighted the vocal talents of Burr, a tenor, who was accompanied by Banta at the piano.

In addition to KVQ’s inaugural radio performances, a concert featuring the same artists was held later that evening at the Clunie Theatre at 809 K St.

An advertisement in the aforementioned edition of The Bee noted that phonograph records featuring recordings of those artists could then be purchased at the John Breuner Co., the well-known general home furnishings business at 600-608 K St.

The initial venture of KVQ was considered a success, as The Bee estimated that about 1,000 wireless set operators in Central and Superior California tuned into that evening’s broadcast, and among the listeners of that program were hundreds of amateur wireless receiving set operators in Sacramento.

Furthermore, in taking into account that many neighbors and friends of those particular operators joined them in listening to that now-historic program, The Bee noted that “thousands of Bee readers” heard that first broadcast.

Following the station’s first day of operation, it continued with a program schedule of 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. each day, except for Sundays, and Wednesday and Saturday nights, when the station broadcast from 8 to 9 p.m.

Those programs included daily local and Superior California news, market exchanges, weather reports, music from phonograph records and occasional live music performances.

In order to attract additional listeners to its radio station, The Bee, in its Feb. 4, 1922 edition, ran an article and diagram directing its readers how to make a wireless receiving set.

It was mentioned in that edition that with such a set, KVQ’s broadcasts could be heard by those living in the city and residents of places within an eight to 12-mile radius of Sacramento.

The popularity of KVQ and radio, in general, continued to increase, as The Bee received hundreds of letters praising its decision to enter the radio broadcasting world.

It was also learned through those letters that thousands of receiving sets had been constructed in Sacramento since KVQ had gone on the air.

As radio was becoming one of the nation’s largest industries, KVQ made advancements of its own.

Its improvements included expanding to 50 watts in August 1922 and constructing a soundproof studio in The Bee building. And as a result of its wattage increase, the station could be heard as far away as Canada, Alaska, Pennsylvania and New York.

Despite its many successes, KVQ was discontinued following its evening program of Dec. 20, 1922 due to most local listeners’ preference to tune into stations from other areas.

The Bee, in its Dec. 20, 1922, edition noted that radio fans found “more pleasure and greater opportunity for development in increasing the efficiency of (their sets) to include the detection of waves from stations hundreds or thousands of miles away.”

Unfortunately for wireless operators who were continuously seeking a greater variety of listening options, during KVQ’s broadcast hours, the station drowned out the reception of all of the otherwise obtainable radio stations.

After explaining its desire to “enable those interested in radio to get the most out of their sets,” The Bee concluded its aforementioned Dec. 20, 1922 article with the following send off: “Hello, Hello! KVQ calling. The Sacramento Bee. Adieu, radio fans; KVQ gives way to your interests and a greater radio.”

Retirement celebration held for the Rev. Dan Madigan

The Rev. Dan Madigan spent the last 25 years of his 50 years as a priest with the St. Joseph Parish of Clarksburg. Photo by Lance Armstrong

The Rev. Dan Madigan spent the last 25 years of his 50 years as a priest with the St. Joseph Parish of Clarksburg. Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two-part series about the Rev. Dan Madigan.

In celebration of the Rev. Dan Madigan, who is retiring after dedicating nearly a half-century of his life to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, a special event was recently held in the Sacramento Delta town of Clarksburg at St. Joseph Church – a place of worship both historically and presently connected with the Pocket area.
The gathering, which included a hosted buffet, some words by Madigan and the singing of various songs, including “Danny Boy,” was held on Sunday, June 29, following the day’s Mass.
In addition to speaking to attendees of the event, Madigan dedicated time to being interviewed for this article.
And in presenting a summary of his life, Madigan began by saying that he was born near the village of Shanagolden in Limerick County, Ireland on March 9, 1938.
Madigan added that he grew up in a family, which included his father, Patrick, his mother, Eileen, and his siblings, Bridie, Kathleen, John, Maurice, Michael, Patrick and Mai.
Madigan also had a sister named Eileen, who died of meningitis shortly before her fifth birthday.
In regard to his upbringing, Madigan noted that he enjoyed his childhood.
“My childhood was great,” Madigan said. “It was in a rural area, a farm, a little village. Everybody was happy. We didn’t have an awful lot. Neither had anybody else, but we didn’t feel we were poor in any way. We grew our own little crops and raised our own meat and so forth. We lived a happy life.”
Among Madigan’s fondest memories of his youth was rabbit hunting with his black Labrador, Brutus. Madigan has also enjoyed hunting during his adult life with Monsignor Jim Church and his father, who was also named Jim Church.
And when it came to the topic of religion during his youth, Madigan noted that about 95 percent of the people in Ireland at that time were Catholic and nearly everyone in his hometown attended Mass.
The pastor in Shanagolden during that era was the Rev. James O’Byrne.
As part of the Madigan family’s dedication to their faith, they got on their knees each night to pray the rosary.
While growing up in a Catholic environment, Madigan decided at a very young age that he wanted to become a Catholic priest.
Madigan spoke about his early desire to take on such a religious role, saying, “It was there from grade school on, I’d say. I didn’t hear any voices calling or anything like that, but I always felt it was the right thing to do. It would be an opportunity to help people and I thought that would be a great vocation in life.”
And Madigan added that he also felt a desire to assist others as a priest in America.
“I was very, very clear that I wanted to come to the United States, because I always had tremendous respect for the United States,” Madigan said. “When we were little children, the United States was always presented to us very, very well. We studied that in school – the United States. We certainly knew all about Lady Liberty and we knew what was written on the statue.”

The Rev. Dan Madigan is pictured at center with his mother, father and siblings on the day of his ordination on June 7, 1964. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dan Madigan

The Rev. Dan Madigan is pictured at center with his mother, father and siblings on the day of his ordination on June 7, 1964. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Dan Madigan

In 1952, Madigan began studying at St. Munchin’s College in Corbally, Limerick County. And he began his studies in the seminary at St. Kieran’s College in the Irish city of Kilkenny four years later.
On June 7, 1964, Madigan was ordained a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny.
After serving as a priest in Limerick County, Madigan fulfilled his dream of coming to the United States.
Having made arrangements to serve the Diocese of Sacramento, Madigan arrived in Sacramento in March 1966 and became the assistant pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
In speaking about his six years with that parish, Madigan said, “Our Lady of Lourdes in Del Paso Heights, we covered Rio Linda and Del Paso Heights. I felt quite challenged there, because people were in need and they were coming to the church a lot.”
Madigan said that while he was serving people in the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, he had an experience that amazed him regarding a particular Sacramento area parish.
“I was at that point (of being) strung out, because I had used all of my volunteers,” Madigan recalled. “I said, ‘Where would I get more volunteers?’ Somebody said, ‘Well, go over to St. Ignatius on Arden Way.’ And I said, ‘Like heck the people of St. Ignatius are going to come down into Del Paso Heights and start feeding people.’ I had big reservations about going over there, (but) I went over there and made an appeal. And (God) opened my eyes. I saw something. There were people coming into Del Paso Heights, driving up in BMWs, Mercedes and so forth, getting out of there, coming in and washing old, dirty pots and everything. And you know what? Everyone was taking care of their own home. But it just showed the inner goodness of people and it was something very nice to see.”

Tuesday Club’s first clubhouse opened in 1912

The original clubhouse of the Tuesday Club of Sacramento opened at 2724 L St. in 1912. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

The original clubhouse of the Tuesday Club of Sacramento opened at 2724 L St. in 1912. Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Editor’s note: This is the third article in a series about the Tuesday Club of Sacramento.

The Tuesday Club of Sacramento, which operated in the capital city for more than a century, has a very rich history, which began in 1896.
In an official move to plan for and own a clubhouse for the housing of the Tuesday Club in the city of Sacramento, as well as for handling the club’s business affairs, a stock corporation known as the Tuesday Club House Association was established on April 7, 1903. The association evolved from a club committee that had been organized in 1900.
The original directors of the association were Sacramento residents and Tuesday Club members, Mrs. W.P. Coleman, Mrs. E.E. Earle, Mrs. F.A. Edinger, Mrs. L.C. Farrar, Mrs. Annie M. Gerber, W.H. Govan, Mrs. C.H. Pomeroy, Mrs. S.B. Slight and Mrs. G.A. Stoddard.
To aid in the financial endeavors of the association, 25,000 shares were made available at $1 each.
Among the association’s early subscribers and their number of shares purchased were: Mrs. W.P. Coleman, 200; Miss Jennie McConnell, 100; Mrs. F.A. Edinger, 50; Miss Annie M. Gerber, 25; Mrs. A.A. Goddard, 25; Mrs. C.H. Pomeroy, 25; Mrs. G.A. Stoddard, 50; Mrs. A.J. Johnston, 25; Mrs. S.B. Slight, 25; Mrs. H. Weinstock, 25; Mrs. E.E. Earle, 20; Miss Lillian Ebert, 20; Mrs. G. Gattman, 10; Mrs. W.H. Govan, 10; Mrs. C. Kaufman, 10; Mrs. C.J. Noack, 10; Mrs. S.E. Clayton, 5; Mrs. L.C. Ferrar, 5; Mrs. J.O. Hand, 5; Mrs. Julia Holl, 5; Mrs. C.F. Prentiss, 5; Mrs. J.C. Carly, 1; Mrs. G.C. Cotton, 1; Mrs. E.G. Hayford, 1; Mrs. T.W. Madeley, 1; J. Henry Miller, 1; and Mrs. J.G. Storch, 1.
An April 1904 financial report for the association showed that $2,150 had been raised by the organization.
It was also in 1904 that various Tuesday Club members assisted in the founding of the non-Tuesday Club affiliated Sacramento Women’s Council. That organization had the objective of becoming involved in civic affairs of the city and county.
With the inclusion of cookbook sales, the building fund was increased to $3,165.43 during the following year.
By May 1905, several lots for a future clubhouse had been offered to the Tuesday Club in the range of $3,100 to $8,000.
And of those lots, the association selected a 60-foot by 160-foot lot on J Street, between 15th and 16th streets. The lot had a sale price of $5,500.
With the assistance of a $1,500 loan from the People’s Bank, the association completed its purchase of that lot in August 1905, and fundraising continued for the construction of a clubhouse.
Among those fundraising efforts was a chrysanthemum and doll show at the Governor’s Mansion during the fall of 1906. The event netted the association $534.35.
A change in plans for the future clubhouse site occurred when the association accepted an $11,000 offer for their J Street property from the real estate firm, The Carmichael Co.
During the following month, the association made arrangements to purchase an 80-foot by 160-foot lot on the south side of L Street, between 27th and 28th streets, for $4,500.
In celebration of the completed purchase of the L Street lot, a jollification meeting was held at the lot and Lily Louise Beard, the club’s then-newly elected president, accepted the deed for the property.
In 1908, a resolution was adopted by the club in favor of an ordinance that had been submitted to local voters for the abolishment of saloons in residential districts of Sacramento.
A treasurer’s report from that same year showed that $9,000 had been raised toward the construction of a clubhouse.
In the fall of 1910, changes to the association’s constitution and by-laws were made in order to allow non-Tuesday Club members to own stock in the association.
However, a regulation of the association guaranteed that the majority of the stock would be held by Tuesday Club members.
In 1911, a contract for the construction of a clubhouse was signed following the acceptance of the Matthews Construction Co.’s low bid of $29,725.
The building of the clubhouse was a timely affair and by as early as February 1912, arrangements were being made to furnish the structure upon its completion.
Additionally, rental rates for the clubhouse were decided upon around that time.
The association’s board of directors first met in the clubhouse on March 29, 1912, and a formal opening for club members was held on April 30, 1912.

Riverview II social club established in Carmichael more than 60 years ago

Jackie (Leam) LaCornu holds a copy of the newly published book, “The History of Riverview: 1926 to 2014, and Counting.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Jackie (Leam) LaCornu holds a copy of the newly published book, “The History of Riverview: 1926 to 2014, and Counting.” Photo by Lance Armstrong

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two articles about the Riverview and Riverview II social clubs.

Riverview II, a local, primarily social club that first met in the Riverview clubhouse along the American River in Carmichael, was established in 1953.
The group was founded as a result of the original Riverview organization’s desire to continue its history through the formation of a secondary club with younger members.
The senior club, which was officially founded as Riverview Lodge in May 1926, was recognized in its constitution and by-laws as a club that was organized “for social and benevolent purposes, and to encourage social activities among its members and their families.”
Original Riverview members Jack and Helen Conger wrote a creative, poetic story about that first Riverview club.
The beginning portion of that story reads:
“It happened like this, so the historians tell,
Many decades ago a bunch of – well,
Mighty nice people got itchy feet
And decided to depart from the street.
They thought if they could find a cozy nook
With trees and vines and a babbling brook,
They might get together every now and then
And enjoy themselves – both women and men.”
Twenty-seven years after the original club found that “cozy nook,” the Junior Riverview club – renamed Riverview II in 1985 – was established.
And since the one-time Junior Riverviewers have grown to become seniors themselves, Riverview II members decided to create a book to preserve memories of their cherished club. That 70-page, spiral-bound book, which also includes a brief history of Riverview Lodge, was published on March 1, 2014.
The book is divided into various sections, including a section entitled “Governance.”
In that section, it was noted that Riverview II’s constitution was written in 1954, and dealt mostly with the topics of club officers, elections, duties and membership.
Originally, membership in the club was limited to couples, and only men could serve as officers.
The book recognizes Jack Kemmler as acting chairman of Riverview II in 1953. That position was basically comparable to the position of president.
Virgil “Virg” LaCornu began serving as the club’s first president a year later.
It was not until 2009 that the club elected a female president – Bobby Kramer.
In a recent interview with this publication, Jackie (Leam) LaCornu, whose parents, Jack and Mildred Leam, were among the founding members of the first group, said that she played a large role in the creation of the new Riverview club’s history book.
The book’s committee met at least once a month for one year at Jackie’s house, and according to the book, the committee was fueled by plenty of coffee, tea, water and cookies.
It should come as no surprise that Jackie was able to provide much assistance with the book project, since she was a founding member of Riverview II, which emphasizes a “fun first” approach, which has included many parties and other social activities.
Jackie spoke with much enthusiasm about both Riverview Lodge and Riverview II.
And as she recalled both of those organization’s old clubhouse on the river, Jackie related information about that building’s absence, practically as if she was speaking about the death of a member of her family.
The old clubhouse was undoubtedly Riverview II’s most memorable meeting place.
In explaining why Riverview II lost its old clubhouse, Jackie said, “(In 1980), the senior Deterdings had passed, and the younger Deterdings – Russell Deterding and his wife – owned it. And they had decided to go ahead and turn (the property) over to the county. The county said that the (clubhouse) had to be up to code. It would have had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up, and even then we wouldn’t have owned the land. (The county) would have ended up taking whatever we built.
“The county tore it down, even though we thought it would be perfect for scouts and different county activities.”
The aforementioned Riverview book included the following words: “Riverview II has utilized a number of locations during their existence. However, none are more memorable than the original lodge by the river.
“We sadly said goodbye to the lodge on the river, but felt confident we would have wonderful times together no matter where we gathered.”
Following Riverview II’s departure from its lodge on the river, its members began meeting at the Sacramento Horsemen’s Association’s lodge at 3200 Longview Drive. The group continued meeting at that site until 2001.
Later meeting places of the club have included: the Ryde Hotel in Walnut Grove, the Arden Manor clubhouse, the Campus Commons clubhouse, Aviators Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport, the Buggy Whip restaurant at 2737 Fulton Ave., Jackson Catering at 1120 Fulton Ave., a home for seniors and residences of members of the group.

Members of Riverview II are pictured at one of their gatherings at Aviators Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport. Photo courtesy of Riverview II

Members of Riverview II are pictured at one of their gatherings at Aviators Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport. Photo courtesy of Riverview II

One of the things that Jackie and other members of the club speak about the most is the many fun times they enjoyed as a group.
The largest section in the book is dedicated to fond club memories of Riverview II members.
A few of those memories are presented, as follows:
Milt Faig
“Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end. We’d sing and dance forever and a day. We’d live the life we choose (sic). We’d fight and never loose (sic), for we were young and sure to have our way.”
Ora Wichmann
“(Ora’s husband) Don loved to make decorations for our parties. He made the room and table decorations for many parties: Hawaiian, beach, Italian, Mexican, cowboy-western, Chinese and Christmas. One year for Christmas, he made a 5-foot-long red Santa sleigh and a 6-foot-tall snowman with top hat and scarf (made from chicken wire and cotton balls).”
LeRoy “Pete” Peters
“(Pete’s wife) Arlene and I moved to Sacramento in 1964 and were very shortly thereafter, in 1964 or 1965, sponsored for membership into Junior Riverview, as it was then called, by Fred and Barbara Taylor. Fred and I were both working for the same consulting engineering firm.”
Dick Ryder
“Our relatively recent (five years) becoming part of Riverview II for (his wife) Irene and I has been a meaningful renewing (of friendships) with a number of people we’ve been associated with over the course of our lifetime, including connections from grade school, high school, college, scouting, work, skiing, fraternity and business. Riverview (II) is truly entwined with our background and with Sacramento history.”
Mary Lydon
“The Horseman’s (sic) hall was decorated (for a party) as though it was underwater. Walls were lined with plastic. There was (sic) a treasure chest and a mermaid, I believe. It was a very elaborate setting for the party.”
Other parties of the club included the Playboy club party in the 1950s and the Orient Express party in the 1960s.
The old Junior Riverview club even made the news on occasions.
For instance, The Sacramento Bee once published a photograph of the group, with a caption, which partially reads: “Songfest – Members of the Junior Riverview Lodge had an old-fashioned pajama party and campfire session Saturday evening at the clubhouse on the American River. The members slept in sleeping bags on the clubhouse lawn and were served breakfast (the next) morning in the lodge by the committee.”
Shown gathered around a bonfire in the photograph were Don and Ora Wichmann, Martin “Marty” and Myrna Luther, Charles “Chuck” and Barbara Wilke, Chalmers and Colleen West, Bob and Barbara Chadwick, Virg and Jackie LaCornu and William and Bobby Kramer.
Although the present day, remaining members of the club are not as active as they once were and have refrained from producing their once often elaborate decorations, they plan to continue to meet for as many more years as they will find possible.
Although it was once a movement of Riverview II to establish an active Riverview III club, that action proved to be a failed endeavor.
And since Riverview II consists of a group of senior members, the club’s existence, Jackie explained, will likely not continue with younger members in the future.
“I don’t think we (will continue with younger members),” Jackie said. “I think (the club) will just have to die like (Riverview Lodge) did. And it wouldn’t be the same (in the future), so I think I’m okay with it. It’s just going to have to die. That’s really why we wanted to do the book, because we were aware of the fact that we’re just getting to the point where we’re fading away.”
But in the meantime, Jackie said that Riverview II members are dedicated to meeting and enjoying each others’ company on a regular basis.

Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre to make debut July 11-12

Steve Masone’s dream of once again establishing a musical dinner theater in Sacramento will become a reality with the July 11-12 opening of “Starry Evening” at the Red Lion Hotel. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Steve Masone’s dream of once again establishing a musical dinner theater in Sacramento will become a reality with the July 11-12 opening of “Starry Evening” at the Red Lion Hotel. / Photo by Lance Armstrong

Note: This is part three of a three part series about 1970 John F. Kennedy High School graduate Steve Masone and his involvement with theatrical productions.

This month marks a very special time for Steve Masone, the 1970 John F. Kennedy High School graduate who was featured in the last two editions of this publication.

His dream of once again establishing a musical dinner theater in the capital city is about to become a reality.

For Masone, who was involved in opening a now defunct musical dinner theater at the old Sheraton Inn at 2600 Auburn Blvd. in the 1970s, he will experience a touch of déjà vu on July 11-12, when the Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre opens in the grand ballroom of the Red Lion Inn at 500 Leisure Lane with a production of “Starry Evening.”

In speaking about the establishment of his new company, Masone said, “I just formed the Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre, producing the Phoinix Players from Eugene, Ore., who are working with me right now. I am bringing them down. They are going to become Sacramento’s newest (theatrical attraction). This is another first. I remember a lot of theater companies leaving Sacramento, but I don’t remember any coming here. They’re known as a very talented (troupe). They’re internationally acclaimed. Last year, they went to the Czech Republic and Ireland and London. They’ve been together for many years, of course with players in and out.”

Masone fondly recalled his discovery of the Phoinix Players, and his involvement in arranging for this musical theater group to perform in Sacramento.

“I discovered (the Phoinix Players) only about a year ago,” Masone said. “I found them already doing The Red Cane Theatre (in Eugene), but they weren’t really doing the dinner part of the theater like they would like to do and that’s where we are going to merge and bring them down here. They would have to bring (the dinners) in (at The Red Cane Theatre). They didn’t have their own restaurant. They didn’t serve drinks or anything like that.

“I started talking with them and working with them. Now they’re contracted with me to come down here (to Sacramento), and start the business with me down here, and (to go on) tour down here and (have) their director – who is very talented and gifted, because she writes her own dialogues and her own shows and musicals – down here, and get them to help me audition and start another dinner theater down here. When I brought them down here, it turns out they feel they’ve ceilinged out in Eugene and they want to get to the next level and so they’re quitting their jobs and they’re coming down here to try to be a new resident company.”

Masone, who was also involved in the operation of a dinner theater in Santa Barbara, has certainly been very active in his work to establish a new musical dinner theater for Sacramento, and he describes his new company as launching something very special to fill a theatrical void in the capital city.

“It’s amazing,” Masone said. “There are 30 (musical) dinner theaters in the L.A. area. There are none in Sacramento and there are none in the Bay Area that are year-round musical dinner theaters. Now, when I say musical dinner theaters, what I mean (is) doing Broadway shows and doing musicals with dance and dialogue and an actual musical play. There are people claiming that they’re dinner theaters, because they’re doing the murder mystery, but that’s a murder mystery show. That’s not really dinner theater, if we’re going to go by definition.”

After being asked to share more details regarding the upcoming show and future shows of his company, Masone said, “The first production is called ‘Starry Evening,’ and it’s classic of Hollywood floor show song, romance and comedy. It’s all about Hollywood actors and actresses doing the shows and everything. It’s just a great musical. I can’t tell you any of the names right now of the songs we’re going to do, because we’re still getting the rights to them. You can’t advertise until you (acquire) the rights.
“We were going to do ‘Grease,’ but ‘Grease’ was too expensive. So, we’re not going to do ‘Grease’ yet. We may do ‘Grease’ (later). We’re going to do all the big ones. We’re thinking we’re going to probably be looking at a lot of the Broadway shows. But those are expensive to do. Some shows are like $7,000 they want upfront for royalties and everything. But once we build the audience and we know we’re going to be able to pencil it all out, those are the kind of shows we’ll do.”

In further praising the Phoinix Players, who he described as a “triple threat” due to their ability to sing, dance and act, Masone added, “This will be the only company in Sacramento – dinner theater or normal theater – that’s going to be able to mount seven or eight musicals a season. It’s really hard, but these guys can do musicals back to back. They’ll be juggling three shows at a time, and that’s just what they do. They do this full time. They’re not part time. They don’t go to their eight-hour a day (non-theatrical jobs). These kids do this full time and that’s what I fell in love with when I saw how dedicated they are to musical theater. It’s a lost art. I’m not talking about (all) Broadway shows’ musical theater. Some can be a musical and be on Broadway, but it doesn’t really represent musical theater. Musical theater would be the type of shows like ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ (and) ‘Damn Yankees.’ Some of the newer ones still fit the bill. And of course, I’d love to do ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’”

Masone emphasized the fact that all of his company’s musicals are family-friendly productions that are appropriate for any age.

“All of our shows that Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre is doing are all G rated,” Masone said. “There are some shows that we just won’t do, because there is no need to do them. We’re doing the classics. We’re doing true musical theater. And there are young people in the troupe who are just great at it.”

Although the grand ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel is not a permanent location for Sacramento Musical Dinner Theatre productions, Masone does not count out that possibility.

“We’re barnstorming for the summer,” said Masone, whose artistic goals also include becoming involved in choreography and reestablishing his former blues band. “We’re going to be playing the Red Lion here July 11 and 12 for our opening nights here. That’s a Friday and Saturday night. We’ll add a Saturday matinee and a Sunday matinee, if the demand is there. And then the following (weekend), the 18th and 19th (of July), we’re going to go over to an outside amphitheater (at the Red Lion Hotel) through August (2). I’ve been negotiating an Old Sacramento location (The Coconut Grove at 106 J St.) of which we’re going to be doing Wednesday nights, and every Saturday and Sunday down there for the rest of the summer. And then I’m still looking for other venues right now to keep up barnstorming and working until we find a permanent (location). It might be here (at the Red Lion Hotel). The Red Lion has expressed interest, if we come to terms and everything. This would be my (preferred location), because of the grand ballroom. It’s got a beautiful stage. It’s a great room, and that’s been my dream is to come back and do it in that room.”

For additional information about the upcoming production of “Starry Evening” at the Red Lion Hotel, call (209) 418-7853 or (541) 287-1497, or write to

Tuesday Club of Sacramento: 1896-2014

McKinley Park’s water features are shown in this 1920s artist enhanced image. The Tuesday Club was involved in a project to have the site purchased and enhanced for the benefit of the community. / Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

McKinley Park’s water features are shown in this 1920s artist enhanced image. The Tuesday Club was involved in a project to have the site purchased and enhanced for the benefit of the community. / Photo courtesy of the Lance Armstrong Collection

Editor’s note: This is the second article in a series about the Tuesday Club of Sacramento.

With the news presented in the last edition of this publication that the Tuesday Club of Sacramento had disbanded after a 117-year run, it is timely to present a history of this historic women’s organization.

The club, which was originally known as the Tuesday Literary Club, was founded by Mrs. Findley R. Dray, the wife of a surveyor for Sacramento Bank at 431 J St., on Dec. 1, 1896.

Dray’s efforts to establish such an organization was an unusual endeavor at that time, as women’s clubs were then quite rare and only two states had extended the right for women to vote, California excluded.

According to an article in the Dec. 19, 1897 edition of The Sacramento Union, the club, which originally met on Tuesday afternoons, had a modest beginning.

Included in the article were the following words: “It was at first intended to be merely a gathering of a few students at the homes of one another, but so strong an interest was manifested, so much enthusiasm aroused, that it outgrew its original plan, and from that nucleus of a small beginning, it has evolved into its present scope of usefulness. Under the leadership of Mrs. E.B. Purnell, the first year’s life of the young club was devoted to the study of history, commencing with the period of Greek civilization, ranging through topics of Roman, English and American history up to and including the Civil War.”

Although Purnell did not serve as the club’s president in its first year, she did present lectures for the club during that time.

In addition to Dray, who was married at 16 years old and had eight children, and Purnell, a former second assistant (vice principal) of Sacramento High School, the charter members of the organization were Mrs. William Beckman, Mrs. J. Frank Clark, Mrs. Ben F. Crocker, Mrs. Mary Cushman, Mrs. E.I. Galvin, Mrs. A.A. Goddard, Mrs. Helen Hopkins, Mrs. Cy H. Hubbard, Mrs. Hugh M. LaRue, Mrs. Preston L. Lykins, Mrs. Samuel Pope, Mrs. T.A. Snider, Mrs. L. Tozer, Mrs. Albert C. Tufts and Mrs. Edward Twitchell.

Beckman, who was a writer and a painter, served as the club’s first president and Lykins was its first secretary.

The first mention of the club in The Union appeared in that publication’s Dec. 20, 1896 edition, and includes the following names of several other early members of the organization, who gathered together for a meeting at the Twitchell residence at 1414 H St. on Dec. 15, 1896.

Those additional members were Mrs. Fred Birdsall, Mrs. James Budd, Mrs. McMorry, Mrs. Charles A. Neale, Mrs. L.A. Terry, Mrs. Jessie Titus and Mrs. Orlando P. Willis.

On Feb. 9, 1897, the club met at new quarters in the state Exposition Building at the northwest corner of 15th and N streets.

The lecture topic for that evening was the political, religious and intellectual development of England from 1661 to 1714.

By the following month, the club had a new meeting place in the Foresters’ Building on I Street, between 7th and 8th streets.

In one of the club’s early meetings held at that location on March 23, 1897, a lecture was given on the topic of old colonial times, and the club’s vice president read a paper that she had written about witchcraft.

A week later, in another meeting of the club, Eliza Tupper Wilkes gave a lecture that was entitled, “Club Life and How It May Help Women.”

The popularity of the club was apparent during its first year by the number of its members alone.

After having officially met for the first time with 17 members in the parlors of the Beckman home on Dec. 1, 1896, the club, during its inaugural year, had expanded to include 53 members.

In celebration of the club’s first year in operation, and in recognition of Dray for founding the organization, a special reception was held on May 27, 1897.

The event included a review of the club’s inaugural year by Mrs. Galvin, and musical performances, among which were a piano, violin and cello trio presentation with pianist Laura (Dray) Perry, and a flute solo by Charles A. Neale.

Although the organization spent its first three years operating as the Tuesday Literary Club, it was noted in the May 23, 1897 edition of The Union that the club was already seeking to adopt a “more suitable name.” It was not until March 27, 1900 that the name was changed to the Tuesday Club of Sacramento.

A report on the club in the Nov. 21, 1897 edition of The Union noted that 22 additional women had then-recently joined the organization and that the membership included “some of our most prominent society leaders.”

Nine days following that report, the club moved into new quarters at 610 ½ J St.

After maintaining that meeting place until the following spring, the club returned to hold their meetings in the Foresters’ Building.

The club continued its progression as its first by-laws were presented to its members on Dec. 28, 1897.

In an article about the club’s first meeting of the 1898-99 season, The Union noted that the “aim of the Tuesday Club is to instruct and develop rather than to entertain and amuse.”

The club, which would reach a total of 129 members during its first two years, was more than an organization that limited its activities to simply conducting its own meetings.

Instead, it underwent philanthropic work, including the first of such work to provide equipment and maintenance for a free, cooking school for young girls.

The club’s first monetary donation was presented in May 1898, when the club made a $20 contribution to the Sanitary and Red Cross Society of Sacramento.

Undeniably, one of the greatest activities in the club’s history was its involvement in the negotiations of the property known today as McKinley Park.

Working with the land’s owner, Albert Gallatin, and the city government, the club persuaded Gallatin to sell the then-poorly maintained and swamp-filled property to the city for $12,500.

As previously mentioned, the club became known as the Tuesday Club of Sacramento in 1900, since the organization was no longer solely a literary club.

Under that new name, the club established its mission to “form a recognized center for social and mental culture; to further the education of women for the responsibilities of life; to encourage all movements for the betterment of society; and to foster a generous public spirit in the community.”