Pick My Post Fundraiser

May 11, 2023

That photo right there? That's Tuba Christmas. My dad was heavily involved in Tuba Christmas every year. You know how I'm a Landscape Architect who wants to be a sportswriter? My dad was an Optometrist who wanted to be a tuba player. Like, a professional tuba player. With the symphony and everything.

Music was a big part of his life, and he made sure music was a big part of my life. I was in band and choir all of high school (it was basically a requirement in my family). I even did one year of symphonic band at Illinois (and wanted to join the drumline for the Marching Illini but those pesky 2pm to 5pm Landscape Architecture studio classes prevented me from being able to attend any rehearsals). But for my sister and me (my sister and I? She'd know - she's the smart one), music education was just as important as readin' and writin'. Both of us started piano lessons at age 5.

(Everyone who knows me is expecting me to spin all this high school talk into referencing how I was voted Most Talented as part of the senior superlatives. And then, when someone says "yeah but that's just because of music" I'd point out how I went to state in tennis. But I'm not going to do that here.)

The reason I'm talking about all of this: after my father's sudden death in 1993 - he was locking up the bandstand in the town square after a performance of the municipal band at the "Santa rides into town and lights the Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving" parade when he had his heart attack, him going out carrying his tuba the way I want to go out writing about the Illini - his friend Adrian had the idea to start a scholarship in his name. So the Dr. Robert L. Rosenthal Memorial Scholarship was established at my high school. Here's the description of the scholarship from the official paperwork:

The scholarship is a four year, graduating scale stipend awarded to the selected graduating senior. It is designed not as a music scholarship requiring a music degree, but rather as a recognition of a student's love of music as exhibited by past performance and anticipated future personal involvement.

It was the single best way to acknowledge my dad. In his view, music was vital to one's education (up to and including college). And so the scholarship in his name would financially support those who wanted to continue to pursue their love of music in college.

I recently took over heading up the scholarship from my mom. Which means that I'm now responsible for the fundraising. I've helped her with fundraisers before (like a golf tournament), and I'll probably do some of those in the future as well, but for now, here's my idea. A Pick My Post fundraiser.

It's real simple. I'll do 15 Pick My Post articles this month. Whatever topic you want me to write about. It can be Illini-centric or it can be something else I've written about in the past (like, say, drum & bugle corps or the 1980 St. Louis Steamers indoor soccer club). Obviously, it has to be something you know I'll know. If you suggest that I write about the three fiduciary responsibilities of a corporate officer, it won't be very fun for you, for me, or for the reader. But most of the Pick My Post suggestions are usually fun (and in my wheelhouse), so just try to keep it in my wheelhouse.

The only difference: I'm selling these. Well, not "selling" - I'll write your Pick My Post suggestion for a $100 donation to my dad's scholarship fund. I've set up a Fundly page for the donations (linked below). You make the donation, I'll add your topic to the Pick My Post pile. And that will be the majority of the content here for the rest of the month of May (you know, besides golf). Thankfully, I still have the paywall down (since September!), so there won't be any "drive subscriptions with this content" going on here.

Here's how it will work. Given that some people might choose the "anonymous" tab on the Fundly donation page, meaning that I wouldn't then be able to email them to get their PMP suggestion, please use the "add a message" section of the donation page for your Pick My Post suggestion. So, you fill out your info, you fill in the $100 donation, and then you put the article you want me to write in the "message" portion of the form.

Thank you in advance for your donation. This scholarship is very important to me, and the fundraising stresses me out a little bit, so hopefully this is a way I can get it kickstarted. I thought about creating different levels, but that seemed too complicated. I just need 15 donors at $100 each and they'll each receive their own article. Easy peasy.

I'll even sweeten the pot. If all fifteen $100 donations are fulfilled, I will... publish the "most talented" photo from my high school yearbook of me (plus the girl who won the girl's most talented award) sitting on top of a piano, me holding my drumsticks and her holding her trumpet. I'll add it to the comments below to show that yes, the funds have been raised.

I think that's it. Thanks for listening. Here's the donation link:

Dr. Robert L. Rosenthal Memorial Scholarship


STLIllini94 on May 11, 2023 @ 07:31 PM

Robert, the gifting web site would only allow 140 characters in the comment sections. Please tell me everything you know about JJ O'Laughlin in a million words or less, then tell me a fanciful story about how awesome it would have been to have a competent offense to go with the early 90's defenses. How happy would this have made our undergraduate years.

uilaw71 on May 12, 2023 @ 06:55 AM

Too complicated for me to figure out how to reply on the donation site, plus this is a chance to throw shade at Cubs fans.
So, please write about the memorable Cardinal teams in your lifetime. They’ve won 13 NL pennants and 6 World Series championships in mine, and I can talk happily about them all, but none more memorable than my freshman year at UIUC when they KO’d the hated Yankees.

Robert on May 12, 2023 @ 04:48 PM

We've met the fundraising goal in just over 24 hours. A big thank you to everyone. PMP articles are coming.

And keeping my promise, here's the Most Talented photo from my senior yearbook, sitting on the piano, drumsticks in hand. With no socks and laced boat shoes!

enter image description here

HailToTheOrange on May 14, 2023 @ 11:41 PM

But those pant legs were not pegged. Huge faux pas:)))

Tolkien73 on May 12, 2023 @ 08:52 PM

If those aren't stone-washed jeans, you did the 80s wrong, Robert.

Hhsillini on May 13, 2023 @ 01:28 PM

They didn’t have color photos in the 80’s?

Robert on May 15, 2023 @ 12:50 PM

Not in yearbooks. You had to pay extra.

We won the homecoming float competition (each class competed for a cash prize) and then voted as a senior class on what to spend the money on. The two finalists: color photos for the senior pages in the yearbook OR beer koozies that said "Class of 1991".

Shockingly, the senior class sponsor would not allow us to get the koozies ("they're for sodas!" was not a compelling argument) so we ended up with 10 pages of the senior yearbook in color.

Alaskan Illini on May 17, 2023 @ 09:58 AM

From one tuba player to the memory of another and future tuba players, well played sir.

Robert on May 17, 2023 @ 12:48 PM

Thanks to all who donated. Thought I'd post a picture of this year's winner. Congrats to Garrett!

enter image description here

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