Following is a letter written by Edmund Crowley ’69. This letter was excerpted for the Spring/Summer 2023 issue, but it can be read in in its entirety below.
In your last issue of Portraits, Fall/Winter 2023, an article was presented called “Rock of Ages.” As a proud member of the Class of 1969, I feel compelled to add additional information as well as clarifications to an otherwise substantial over-view of Saint Anselm Golden Era of Entertainment. In brief, Simon and Garfunkel were the featured performers of our Sophomore Weekend, November 18, 19, and 20 in 1966. Dionne Warwick and jazz great Herbie Mann were the featured performers of our Junior Class Weekend in 1967. To be certain, each of these weekends were meticulously planned and funded by the Class of 1969, exclusively.
In addition, the Ray Charles performance was a joint venture of the Class of 1968 and 1969. Three-time President John Probst ’68 secured the booking, and the Class of 1969 provided the financial security. Marcus Peterson ’69 was our treasurer for this transaction, as well as for the Simon and Garfunkel, Dionne Warwick, and Herbie Mann events. Indeed, Marcus and Bob Silva ’69 and other trusted members of the Class of 1969 made these events work. It must be cited that the publicity for all these events was the domain of Eddie Sherwin ’69 (deceased). This was especially evident with regards to his creative posters for Simon and Garfunkel. These works of art were posted in countless student centers throughout New Hampshire. We wanted our events to be well publicized.
During this time period, the Student Senate underwent a dramatic structural change. This was due to the unanimously approved Student Activities Bill. Essentially, this legislation transferred the power of selecting and funding all entertainment and other student activities from the individual classes to the Student Senate. Two major committees were constructed and given a specific range of responsibilities. These committees were called the Social Committee and the Academic and Cultural Affairs Committee. This new structure was printed in the Crier in the spring of 1968. Sony Cote ’68, president of the senate and president of the student body began the process of implementing these changes. Vital to this process was a student activities fee to be collected by the administration from each new freshmen class and in turn transferred to the Student Senate Treasury. The proposed Fee was 35 (Thirty Five) dollars. This very significant development gained the label of “Student Power,” a frequent description of the movement for more student autonomy as well as responsibilities on college campuses popular in the 1960’s.
As part of my campaign, I worked with [Prof. Bill Farrell, H.D. ’07] (deceased), chair of the sociology department, on creating a social awareness project called Human Rights Week. The full agenda for this week was published in the Fall edition of the Crier, 1968 [shown]. Judy Collins was selected to hi-light this Week. Prof. Farrell introduced Judy Collins at Stoutenburgh. Unfortunately, both interest and attendance for Human Rights Week as well as for the concert fell far short of expectations. I was very discouraged. Fr. Ambrose, O.S.B. (deceased) tried to bring some light to the situation. Nevertheless, I found it difficult to understand the poor response.
Another enterprise underway was a potential joint venture with New Hampshire College. The goal was to rent the Manchester Armory for another major entertainment event. The show selected was The Association, one of the most popular big bands in the USA at that time. At this point, George Neery ’70 and his Social Committee were in full swing.
Looking back, it would be remiss of me not to again cite my selfless mentor John Probst ’68. Within hours of being elected as sophomore class president, I visited him seeking info on our agents in Newton and the best locations for social gatherings. As time progressed, I learned that our agents in Newton were a young couple named John and Lea. And by the way, they had a direct connection to one of the best agents in NYC. This enabled John and his classmates to develop quite a resume of major acts including one of Motown’s biggest names: Stevie Wonder; in addition to Mary Wells and the Turtles, the Young Rascals, Junior Walker and the All-Stars, The Four Tops, and of course, the one and only, Ray Charles, and others.
In closing, the historic success of Saint Anselm’s Golden Era of Entertainment could be given a critical overview without the importance of the Red Key. From my perspective, The Key was the Key to a well-managed and safe event. Bob Silva ’69 (deceased) excelled in these responsibilities. As a leader within the Key Society, Bob deftly managed the crowds as well as the Ticket Office. With Marcus, Bob, Kevin Geaney ’69, and several other trusted classmates, the Class of 1969 made certain that every dollar was counted. The artists would receive their just rewards and the Hawks and their guests would experience lifetime memories.
Finally, as the president of the sophomore and junior class of the Class of 1969, I felt it was my responsibility to clarify the central importance of our Sophomore and Junior Weekends and their subsequent entertainment stars, namely, Simon and Garfunkel, Dionne Warwick, and Herbie Mann. In addition, I presented the important role of the Class of 1969 in presenting the Ray Charles concert. Also, I gave the rationale for the first Judy Collins Concert. Moreover, I have attempted to indicate the reorganizing process of the Student Senate that enabled the Student Senate to plan regular major concerts as well as other student activities including relevant academic and cultural affairs with predictable funding.
In sum, it was an honor and privilege to work, play, and trudge through the snow with each and every member of my Class of 1969. Those days and months and years remain vivid memories, treasured experiences with those present and those solemnly remembered at the Goulet Memorial.
—Edmund Crowley ’69, former president of the sophomore and junior class
In January 1969, I resigned my position as president of the Student Senate, president of the Student Body. Vice-president Mike Connolly ’69 assumed both positions until the end of his term. In time, this compulsive act led to a profound sense of regret. I let my family, my classmates, and Saint Anselm College down, a trust had been breached. With the passionate assistance of Fr. Ambrose O.S.B. (deceased) and Fr. Finbar O.S.B. (deceased), I was able to return in the fall of 1969 and complete a B.A. in English. I graduated in 1970.
In 1985, in a moment of grace, I received a call from Rick Wood ’69 (deceased) and Steve Ellis ’69 and was asked if I would host a Hartford Alumni visit to Springfield at Tilly’s, my restaurant on Main Street in Downtown Springfield, Mass. Their goal was to attend a Saint A’s basketball game either with AIC or Springfield College. A few weeks later, a full bus of Hawks pulled up in front of Tilly’s. Led by a smiling Rick and Steve, a large crowd of Hawks, many from the Class of ’69, entered my restaurant. To this day, I remember the indescribable emotion I felt.
This ritual would continue for the next five or six years. Eventually, this event was joined by our beloved Fr. Richard O.S.B. (deceased) and Fr. Jude O.S.B. (deceased). Saint Anselm College is more than an academic institution. It is a Benedictine Community dedicated not only to the mind but also the one’s character and the nourishment of one’s soul.
Enclosed is a copy of the original brochure for the historic Simon and Garfunkel concert at the Stoutenborough, November 18, 1966. The brochure was designed by Eddie Sherwin ’69 (deceased). The gym was well beyond maximum capacity.
Saint A’s student tickets were two dollars and for non-students three dollars. The Class of 1969 contracted Simon and Garfunkel for 3,500.00 dollars. The following summer, I attended a second concert at a full Yale Bowl. Yale paid 20,000 dollars. Paul and Art were 23 years old when they took the roof off of the Stoutenborough.
The essays including Fr. Iain MacLellan’s beautiful reflection reminds us that art allows us to see objects in our own way, often surprising us how it combines memories, feelings with analysis of shape and color. I was fascinated reading the essays and surprised by the authors’ professional backgrounds, particularly Professor Huang. [Her] insights on the cultural significance of chrysanthemums in Asia probably is not [her] normal lecture topic but maybe should be. Thanks to all for sharing how you really see beauty.
—Tony Singleton ’67
What a great article! However, there was one omission—the concert performed by Harry Chapin to celebrate the Psychology Club’s World Hunger Day at the college. Memory isn’t that good—but I think it was late 1980 or 1981. I was the organizer of the event and got to pick Harry up at the Manchester airport and bring him to the Hilltop. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the event (pre-cell phones), but there is a pic of the roses he gave me onstage as a thank-you for bringing awareness to world hunger [shown]. The names of those that helped that day escape me, but I remember with fondness how proud I was of the efforts of the Psychology Club led by Prof. Richard Hechtl. Sadly, we lost Harry Chapin soon after his concert at Saint A’s. Every time I hear one of his songs it brings me back to that special night.
—Diane (Dolac) Mason ’82
I really loved reading [the] article on the radio station! My brother-in-law was also one of the founders. His name is Bill Ryan ’73 and he was close friends with Joe D’Urso ’71. He dated and eventually married my sister Barbara (Paul) Ryan ’73, and she painted a mural on the wall of the old record library in the student center. I doubt it is still there, but she signed it “Barbie.” My older brother Jim Paul ’76 was the station director for a couple of years, and I was the news director in ’77 and ’78. My brother Tom Paul ’82 and my sister Jane Paul ’85 were also WSAC DJs in later years. I met my wife at Saint A’s in 1976 and recruited her (Donna Peterson ’78) along with two of her friends, MaryAnn (Heffron) Cooney ’78 and Sharon (Weber) Brodeur ’78 to create a gossip show that we called “The Runaround Sue Show.” For two years, students would hang around the student center for hours after dinner to hear the latest gossip. At the time, the total student body was around 2,000, so the gossip was plentiful! We covered he windows with black curtains so nobody could see who Runaround Sue was.
It’s also incredibly ironic that the station [operated] out of Bernard Court. That court was named by my dad (Thomas J. Paul ’42, H.D. ’83) who was a trustee at the time it was built. He is the donor who built “Paul Hall.” The Paul family has a very long tradition at Saint A’s, and I remember my years there fondly. Thanks for the article and the memories!
—Joe Paul ’80
Nice story about the “Rock of Ages” in Portraits. What [you] didn’t know was in 1963 the Class of ’64 had the Kingston Trio on campus. This was followed the following year with Roy Orbison. With a new gym built in 1960, the college had for the first time a facility that could accommodate a crowd large enough to attract big entertainers.