The Colgate Scene
People on the go
Stephen Ketterer '82 didn't want to go to Colgate. But while on a college search trip, his father (also Stephen, Class of '52) convinced him to at least stop by. To check out the organ.
"The Holtkamp company that day was putting their tools away from freshly installing the organ," said Ketterer. He told the technicians he played, and they asked him to try out their handiwork.
"It was about 30 seconds into it that I said, `I'm going here,'" he said. This past February, Conductor Marietta Cheng invited him to return to Colgate to perform with the University Orchestra in the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3, which features majestic organ parts in both movements.
Having studied piano at the Westchester Conservatory since he was four, Ketterer discovered his passion for the organ -- both playing and building -- at age 15, when the organist at his Lutheran church invited him to help build one.
"There is a real thrill that you get from being able to produce that kind of sustainable, powerful sound," Ketterer said. "But one of the most special things is, not only is it huge and powerful and thrilling, it can also can be extremely delicate."
A psychology major at Colgate, Ketterer spent most of his free time at the Holtkamp and studied with then-University Organist Mary Ann Dodd. As first-prize winner in the Arthur Poister Organ Competition ("no one was more surprised than me") he performed a solo recital at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Rather than pursuing organ playing as a profession after graduation, he took what seemed like a more practical route, earning an M.B.A. in market research at Duke's Fuqua School. But he said it was hard to study accounting while the "amazing" chapel organs beckoned. "Eight seconds of reverberation in this enormous space. It's an organist's dream, and I had the key." After Duke came stints as administrator of a small arts council, director of alumni affairs and annual giving at Fuqua and full-time organist/music director for a Presbyterian church that had eight choirs.
Then, a friend recruited Ketterer into a start-up marketing firm, Johnston-Zabor Associates, in Research Triangle Park, N.C., where he was responsible for helping the Burroughs Wellcome pharmaceutical company bring the first anti-AIDS drug, AZT, to market. The work was "exciting, because it was a brand-new therapeutic area. Suddenly there was a drug to treat something that never existed before, so there were all kinds of lessons to learn," Ketterer explained. "Activists were chaining themselves to the gates of the company. They were throwing blood on the CEO's door, laying down in the street and stopping traffic. It was a very turbulent time. Burroughs Wellcome was accused of taking advantage of this new insidious disease and charging very high amounts of money for this drug that was also very toxic. We had to work through many different barriers to get the company into synch with its audiences: physicians, activists and patients."
After working briefly for another market research firm in Washington, D.C., in 1993 Ketterer left to create his own company, HIV Research, which provides consulting and market research services to almost every major HIV drug manufacturer worldwide. The situation is unusual in the highly competitive drug industry, he said.
"Drug companies do not like to work with agencies that work for their competition. We're not the only ones who know about [HIV drug marketing] anymore, but we have been working in this arena longer than anybody else. And we're still the only company in the world dedicated exclusively to this one therapeutic area.
Doing market research for HIV drug companies "is sort of like the organ," Ketterer noted. "It's a big puzzle. You have to understand it thoroughly to do it well. There are constant challenges."
Throughout his career, Ketterer has kept up his "very strange" hobby of building organs in his homes.
"Pipe organs are very large. They take a long time to put together. They are not easily moved. You've got to have a big space to capture the sound. When you put one of these things together you're kind of there for a while." His former house in McLean, Va. was designed around a central music room with a cathedral-sized instrument. Currently, for the home he shares with his partner, David DeNicolo, in Washington, Conn., he's commissioning a (slightly smaller) mechanical-action organ from Rudolph von Beckerath of Hamburg, Germany. Rather than compromise the house's architectural significance -- it was designed and owned by noted architect Ehrick Rossiter -- they are constructing a separate music room for the organ.
Though he occasionally substitutes for local church organists, Ketterer said he doesn't have time to give full concerts any more, so playing a single, short piece with Colgate's orchestra was a treat. "Running an international market research company takes quite a bit of time. This was a lot of fun for me to be able to come and do this." RAC
(Photo by Milo Stewart, Staff Photographer, National Baseball Hall of Fame)
The Big Show
"Baseball as America," a traveling exhibition mounted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, had its debut at the American Museum of Natural History in March. Thirty members of the Hall of Fame were in attendance, along with an array of other baseball and non-baseball luminaries and a contingent of national print and broadcast reporters.
Rob Pendell '91 was there, too.
As multimedia producer for the Hall of Fame, Pendell wrote, designed and edited almost 60 video presentations for the exhibit. A four-person video team collaborated on most projects, Pendell says, and also worked closely with the hall's archivist to find materials. His major contributions include the video overview that introduces the show and films on baseball in popular culture, on ingenuity as it applies to the game and on baseball as a business.
"Baseball as America" is slated to visit museums in 10 cities across the country over the next four years; it will stay at the natural history museum in New York City until August 18. It is expected to draw higher attendance than any other traveling show has to date, including those devoted to Monet, Van Gogh and Tutankhamen.
Don't go expecting to see a smaller version of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, Pendell says. "The exhibit is not like the Hall of Fame. It's much more a cultural study of baseball than a celebration of baseball's history for its own sake," he said. "The exhibit focuses much more on baseball's role as an American icon, an American entity -- and, in some ways, as a euphemism for America."
Pendell's video on baseball in popular culture (made for the "Sharing a Common Culture" section of the show) goes well beyond examples such as Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" sketch, The Natural and A League of Their Own. "It addresses baseball's relevance to pop culture," he said. "Not only the fact that baseball appears in movies and TV shows, but also how baseball has crept into literature and art and into the American vernacular." Witness California's "three strikes and you're out" law and surprises that come "from out of left field."
The video Pendell likes best of those he made for the show is part of "Invention & Ingenuity," which explores baseball's spirit of innovation. Metal bats, mitts the size of throw pillows, catcher's masks and, recently, body armor, came about as baseball studied and tried to improve itself. There were failures along the way, too, and Pendell says he enjoyed finding them for the video. One favorite is a clip of a robot umpire officiating over a game, complete with a manager raging onto the field to argue a call.
Pendell says that the "Ideals & Injustices" portion of "Baseball as America" is probably the most affecting, since it deals with a national shame: racism. The section features information about the long history of African Americans in baseball.
"When people focus on race relations [in baseball] they focus on Jackie Robinson," Pendell said, referring to the first African American to play in modern baseball's major leagues, "and Jackie Robinson is certainly a big part of the story. But so are the Negro Leagues that preceded the integration of the major leagues, and so are the African American players who followed Jackie Robinson. Racism didn't stop just because the leagues got integrated; guys like Larry Doby [the first African American player in the American League] and Hank Aaron suffered a lot of injustices simply because they were African American. There are letters supporting Hank Aaron in the exhibit, but also letters threatening him for trying to break, not only the [home run] record of a white man, but the record of the baseball icon, Babe Ruth." For a lifelong baseball fan, Pendell says, his is "the hall of fame of jobs." Early in his life he may have expected to make it to the hall in the usual way: "When I was eight years old I had the whole thing figured out," he said. "I was going to be shortstop for the Yankees." By the time he got to Colgate with the Class of 1990, he realized that, barring a miracle, he would have to make other plans. He quit playing baseball, choosing instead to write about sports for the Colgate News and to officiate at intramural games. He left Colgate after his sophomore year and worked full-time at a newspaper in New Britain, Conn. He returned to Hamilton a year later.
Pendell spoke to students Luke Dwyer '02, Derek Hom '02 and Matt Person '02 about careers in production.
Armed with information he picked up at Colgate's career services office,
Pendell spent the summer after graduation in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., living with
his father (Thomas Pendell Sr. '56) and participating in a film workshop at
Vassar College. The New York Stage and Film Company was on campus making a film
written and directed by actor Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure), and
members of the workshop rounded out the crew. So, Pendell said, in addition to
making 16mm films for the course, he was able to work with professionals on a
larger project. |
"And certainly," he said, "the most productive thing I got out of that was, I realized I didn't want to work in feature film." Talking with professional crew members taught him that a job with long hours (many spent waiting for something to happen), no benefits and no guarantee of regular work was not for him.
After the workshop ended, Pendell, convinced that his future lay in journalism, pursued jobs at small newspapers, hoping to train there and move up in the business. In the meantime, though, his Colgate girlfriend, Susan Jensen '91, was living in New York City and -- unbeknownst to him -- sending his résumé to likely employers there. When he got a call from the National Video Center he thought at first that they were dunning him for an overdue rental. "When I finally realized that the guy on the phone was talking about a job interview, I had to ask him to repeat everything he'd said, because I was trying so hard to remember which movie I hadn't returned," he said.
He went to work in a "video editing training program," which turned out to involve laboring in the shipping department and, in his spare time, watching the editors work. But the job was in the same building as MTV, which meant lots of exposure to high-profile video production, not to mention daily sightings of famous musicians.
Stints at ESPN, behind the camera for CNBC and CourtTV and as a Continental Football League and college football videographer followed. Then Pendell landed a position at Interface Video Systems, in Washington, D.C., which specialized in postproduction services for public television, for the Discovery Channel and for political campaign ads. The company was simultaneously producing ads for the Dole and Clinton campaigns in 1996, which, Pendell says, gave him some insight into both politics and government. Having to keep information from one campaign private from the other probably prepared him well for his next job -- video producer for the United States Department of State.
There, Pendell helped produce a variety of promotional pieces. He went to South and Central America to shoot a video about the mission of embassies; he made a film on diplomatic immunity that was sent to every law enforcement agency and attorney general's office in the country; and he followed dogs and handlers through a course in the use of canine bomb-detectors. For that film, he went to Cairo for a week to get shots of the dogs and handlers in action. "Fortunately," he noted dryly, "while I was following them they didn't find anything."
"It was a chore to make that interesting. It's easy to make dogs look good, but this was dogs doing the same thing over and over." What the dogs did, he said, was sniff around for explosives. When they found something suspicious, they were trained to sit and look up at their owner. "Not visually engaging," Pendell said, "but we got a lot of shots of it."
After two years, Pendell left the State Department for the Baseball Hall of Fame in December 1999. A friend of a friend saw the ad on the hall's website. "I knew thousands of people would apply, but I sent in a demo reel and an application," Pendell said. He soon got a form letter saying his application was received. "I figured that was the last I'd hear. But I was so thrilled just to have correspondence on the Hall of Fame letterhead that I said, `That's all I need.'" When he was called for an interview, he considered that a lark, too -- if nothing else, it would be a chance to tour the hall and maybe to visit some areas the public doesn't get to see.
He got the job, of course, and within a month of arriving in Cooperstown he was sent to San Diego to tape an interview with Ted Williams, that year's spokesman for the hall. Since then, despite plenty of hard and occasionally routine work, Pendell has had more than his share of thrills. At the "Baseball as America" opening, he operated the camera as, one after the other, legendary Hall of Famers were interviewed. When he goes to a ball game, he often sees one of his promotional videos on the JumboTron screen. "I love standing in a ball park with 50 thousand people and seeing a trivia quiz I produced come up on the screen," he said. "Everybody's yelling `I think it's A!' `I think it's C!' It's great."
Every chance they get, Pendell and the other members of the hall's video crew tape interviews with and about Hall of Fame members. They go to spring training each year, for instance, to ask current players what they think of the new crop of inductees; that footage can be used in the biographical video each hall member receives upon induction. And whenever a Hall of Famer visits Cooperstown, they try to capture him on tape. Pendell says those who do his job in the future will appreciate the efforts being made now to stock the hall's video library. And besides, he has no objections to spending time with the likes of Williams, Willie Mays and Stan Musial.
"One of the things I was afraid of with this job was discovering that baseball heroes really aren't all they're cracked up to be when you actually meet them in person," he said. "And very fortunately, I've found that that is not true. By and large, they are good people. They are heroes." SB
Death with dignity
Dr. Tara Cohen Friedman '91 helps give people choices about how to live while they are dying.
Friedman is medical director at VITAS Healthcare's hospice near Philadelphia. She supervises the medical care received by 200 to 225 patients per day, some in their homes, some in long-term care facilities or nursing homes, some as inpatients in hospice units. The Philadelphia branch is one of 19 that VITAS operates across the country, all dedicated to treating symptoms of terminal illness while supporting patients and their families -- emotionally, spiritually and physically.
For a patient to qualify for hospice care, two doctors must certify that if a disease runs its expected, natural course, the patient will live six months or less. Some live longer but remain in hospice because the prognosis hasn't changed; others sometimes get well enough to live without hospice care for some period of time. Hospice, which is included among Medicare's benefits, is among the least expensive forms of medical care. Its goal is to ensure that when death occurs, it affords dignity and as little pain as possible.
"If you ask people where they want to die, most of them say in their own homes," Friedman said. "We know that a huge number of them will die in a hospital, and hospital deaths are usually high-tech deaths. Most [hospitalized] patients die with ventilators, with IV lines running hither and yon, being poked and prodded, getting woken up at two a.m. to have their blood pressure checked -- and not necessarily having much attention paid to their pain and other physical symptoms. In hospice, our approach is on quality of life and comfort of care. What our patients are saying is, `I want to be me when I die.'"
When a patient is referred to VITAS, an interdisciplinary team including a doctor, nurse, chaplain, social worker and home health aide assesses his or her needs. So, Friedman says, "it's not just, `This is Mr. Johnson, who has lung cancer.' It's, `This is Mr. Johnson, who has lung cancer, has five children, lives in a walkup and won't be able to get up the stairs much longer, who has an issue with a son he hasn't seen in 10 years that he'd like to get resolved before he dies.'" One characteristic of hospice care is the emphasis placed on the entire family, Friedman notes. This includes bereavement counseling for a patient's family for up to a year after the death.
Friedman became interested in palliative care as an internal medicine resident at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. As the time came to choose a career path, she looked for opportunities in general internal medicine. None of them seemed appealing. Then she recalled a time in her training when she'd felt especially fulfilled. An elderly man came to Mt. Sinai one day after a long siege of shortness of breath. He had made the rounds from hospital to hospital without receiving a diagnosis. Friedman sat down with him after her shift and told him he was most likely suffering from lung cancer.
Instead of falling apart, she says, the man was relieved. "It confirmed what he'd feared and hoped wasn't true, but it validated his experience," she said. "I realized that many doctors had talked to him but none had talked with him. By listening and applying my knowledge of symptom management, I was able to help him achieve a level of physical and emotional comfort that had previously eluded him."
Several leading palliative-care specialists worked in Mt. Sinai's geriatrics department. Friedman approached them and asked how she could get in to the field. "I wasn't really sure it was something I wanted to do full time. I just thought that no matter what I did, I would be working with people who had chronic pain and symptom management issues and people who were dying."
She accepted a one-year fellowship in palliative medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Following the fellowship, she took the position with VITAS. She says she wishes more medical students would choose to pursue the specialty, partly because as the baby boomers age, more and more people may want not only curative but palliative care. Hospice care represents an important yet underused part of the medical spectrum.
"We're not dying of the things people died of in 1900," she said. "In the last century, people died of infectious diseases; you got pneumonia, you got TB, and then you died. Now, we have heart disease, lung disease, cancer that people can live with for many years, and dementia. They have time to prepare for death, and they need people to help them do it the way they see fit."
Hospice care is becoming more popular, but Friedman says more patients could benefit from it if physicians stopped considering it a way of "giving up" on patients when all other avenues have been exhausted, thereby reducing the time patients have to reconcile themselves and their families to the inevitable. "It's very difficult to gain a rapport with a social worker when you are taking your last breath," she said, "but someone who can work with you for two, three, six months can help you make a lot of that time."
She remembers a young mother who was lying in a hospital bed on a ventilator, who wasn't referred to hospice. "People said, `She can't go to hospice, she has three small children.' Implying that if she went to hospice she would die, but if she didn't go to hospice she wouldn't die. In effect, what they were doing at the very least was robbing her of the opportunity to say goodbye to her children, to let her children come and cuddle on her lap and prepare themselves for the loss of their mother," Friedman said.
Friedman, who is married to businessman David Friedman '91, says she focuses mainly on administrative work but relishes the time she does have to care for patients. She speaks frequently, especially in physician-training programs, about hospice and palliative care (which differs from hospice in that, though it deals with symptom-oriented therapy, patients may have a prognosis that far exceeds six months and may also receive cure-oriented therapy).
"My speaking, my being out there, might be responsible for someone else becoming aware that this is something they can do, that it's a valuable service and an incredibly rewarding field," she said.
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