Monday, July 03, 2006

Mask & Bauble at the Georgetown Reunion

The image to your left is a stained-glass window in St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, which serves the students of the University of Virginia as well as the wider community. (The parish is so large that it has to hold its Easter Sunday service at University Hall, the former basketball arena.)

Why, you may ask, does a window dedicated to St. Genesius begin a post entitled "Mask & Bauble at the Georgetown Reunion"? It's really rather simple. I took that picture some time ago because, as a Mask & Bauble alumnus, I remembered that our annual Jenny Awards -- the M&B equivalent of the Tonys or Oliviers -- were named for St. Genesius, the patron saint of actors. I knew that eventually I'd be able to put that photograph to use.

According to legend, as found in the Catholic Encylopedia, St Genesius was:

A comedian at Rome, martyred under Diocletian in 286 or 303. Feast, 25 August. He is invoked against epilepsy, and is honoured as patron of theatrical performers and of musicians. The legend (Acta SS., Aug., V, 119) relates: Genesius, the leader of a theatrical troupe in Rome, performing one day before the Emperor Diocletian, and wishing to expose Christian rites to the ridicule of his audience, pretended to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. When the water had been poured upon him he proclaimed himself a Christian. Diocletian at first enjoyed the realistic play, but, finding Genesius to be in earnest, ordered him to be tortured and then beheaded. He was buried on the Via Tiburtina. His relics are said to be partly in San Giovanni della Pigna, partly in S. Susanna di Termini and in the chapel of St. Lawrence. The legend was dramatized in the fifteenth century; embodied in later years in the oratorio "Polus Atella" of Löwe (d. 1869), and still more recently in a work by Weingartner (Berlinn 1892). The historic value of the Acts, dating from the seventh century, is very doubtful, though defended by Tillemont (Mémoires, IV s. v. Genesius). The very existence of Genesius is called into question, and he is held to be a Roman counterpart of St. Gelasius (or Gelasinus) of Hierapolis (d. 297). He was venerated, however, at Rome in the fourth century: a church was built in his honour very early, and was repaired and beautified by Gregory III in 741.
This post is long overdue. Persistent computer problems early in the month delayed it unmercifully. At one point, I had completed the entire composition, only to lose it due to faulty equipment (or a bad internet connection) at FedEx Kinko's. (The manager kindly returned the money I had paid for the hour-long session.) So, I am trying one more time, in the hopes that I can get these photos on-line precisely one month after the event. So here goes.

During the Georgetown Reunion weekend of June 1-4, some 30 M&B alumni from the Class of 1981 (and chronologically close classes) met on the fringe of the official reunion activities. Early Saturday evening, Dave Lewis and his wife, Cheryl, hosted a cocktail party for us at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown before we went back up to the Hilltop for the official class party in O'Donovan Hall.

I snapped a few photos at the M&B party -- fewer than I should have, but we were all too busy having a good time and engaging in conversation (and drinking and reminiscing) to take pictures.

"Mingling with that old-time crowd..."

Joe Banno, Elizabeth Robelen, and Scott Pilarz

Marguerite Conrad, Pete Doragh, Todd Bernhardt

Our host, Dave Lewis, in the center, with Jim Hemelt partially obscured and Karin Hammer in the background; Carolyn Patterson's profile is in the foreground

Rick Lombardo makes a point

Not technically M&B: Later in the evening, I ran into some old friends from the Arts Hall Project -- Dawn Mancuso, Virginia McGrane (who had been at the M&B cocktail party, too), Vincent Santiago, and Victoria Robinson

Since I started with a stained-glass window from Charlottesville, I thought I'd end this piece with a couple of examples of stained glass from Georgetown.

On Saturday afternoon, the Class of 1981 gathered in St. William's Chapel in Copley Hall (once the home of the famed "Freeze's Breeze") for Mass. On the day we graduated in 1981, the homilist at our Baccalaureate Mass that day was the Reverend Otto Hentz, S.J. He concelebrated the Mass on June 3 this year with the Reverend Scott Pilarz, S.J. (see above, out of uniform). Music was provided by a group that Scott called "the Mask & Bauble Choir" consisting of Wendy Campagna, Marguerite Conrad, Trish Sullivan, and myself. After Mass, I snapped a few shots of some of the gothic-style decorations in the chapel, including this crucifix:

... and these stained-glass windows behind the altar:


Liz Robelen said...

Thanks, Rick! We had a great time and now we have some great pix!

Aliya said...

Hi Rick, I'm the executive producer of M&B for the 2009-2010 season and would really love to get coffee with you to get a snapshot of what M&B was like in the past...If DC isn't too inconvenient, it would be great to meet, otherwise I'd love to talk over the phone, you can reach me at Also, could you add the link for our new site ( to your blog? Thanks and looking forwards to hearing from you.
Aliya Bhatia
Mask and Bauble,
Executive Producer