Posted by District Governor Rich Kirkham

In the many visits I have made in recent months to clubs around the District, I have found that fewer and fewer clubs are “SINGING CLUBS” these days.  Singing used to be a mainstay of Rotary Clubs all over the world. Multiple copies of quaint Rotary songbooks filled with fun Rotary songs would be passed out at every meeting and members would stand up and sing together, sometimes multiple times throughout the meeting....



My home club gave up singing a couple of years ago, much to the delight of music teachers and professional singers everywhere.  We still sing now and then but mostly we watch youtube videos of other people singing.

But when I visited the Boise Downtown Rotary Club, one of the largest and most active clubs in our district, I gained some insight as to why they are such a successful club. A club member came up to me before the meeting with a wink and a smile to ‘warn’ me that I better be ready to sing at the appointed time. She’s a newer member of less than one year.  She added, “We really like to sing in this club!  Even people who don’t like to sing, like to sing here at Rotary.  It’s a lot of fun!”  Wow!  She piqued my interest.  The anticipation for me was like a kid waiting for Christmas.

When singing time was announced, everyone quickly grabbed their songbooks.  I learned immediately that EVERYBODY in the club sings! They sing loud too!  They sing with heart!  They like to sing!  Of course  it has a lot to do with Bill Agler who leads the singing. When he gets going, everyone is affected!   He is virus in search of a host!  He is the kind of guy who reaches down into your soul and draws out tunes that you didn’t know you had in you. He leads with passion, enthusiasm and gusto.

After the meeting I saw Jerry Schroeder, the club’s pianist, and I complimented him on his mastery of the piano which adds so much to the Boise Club’s musical prowess.  Bill then taught me an important lesson about engagement. “Singing is vital to our club”, he said.  “We have over 100 members who attend every week. Most members will not participate in the meeting unless we sing together.  We want EVERYONE to take an active role in our club.  Singing is one way that every Rotarian can be involved in every meeting every week.  Participation is one of the highest values of Rotary and singing together is an easy way that helps us accomplish that goal.”

Thank you Boise Downtown for teaching me a lesson and reminding me that participation is what makes Rotary work!

To hear the Boise Downtown club sign click on this LINK.