A Toast To The 'Roast Of The Town'

By Isabel Grasso

Atlantic News, Thursday, July 1, 1999

[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]

GUEST OF HONOR — Stan Bednarz (right) and his wife Barbara sat at
the head table during the recent spaghetti dinner testimonial held in the
retiring band instructor’s honor. {Atlantic News Photo by Isabel Grasso}

HAMPTON — Some people just walk into a room — and they are there. Others pause on the threshold — and then make an entrance. And then there is Stan Bednarz, who makes an entrance. He certainly had help on this particular evening, when he and his wife, Barbara, accompanied by a police escort, entered the cafeteria at the Winnacunnet High School Auditorium one night last month.

No, he wasn’t the "most wanted’ in the usual sense. But he was the most wanted person in Hampton that evening because townspeople and former students and their parents converged on the high school to honor Stan for his 38 years of dedicated service as music director at Winnacunnet High School. Many people had ridden on the bus that brought him to the school; many others waited in the nicely decorated cafeteria to greet him.

It took quite a while for them to make their way into the room, and to get in line for the spaghetti dinner which had been planned, and which featured Charlie Brindamour’s famous sauce. Stan and his family were seated at the head table which was decorated with beautiful floral tribute.

The cafeteria was decorated in patriotic colors of red, white and blue, under the talented leadership of Anne Francis of North Hampton (who is the "volunteers’ volunteer"). She and husband Peter Francis, a lieutenant in the North Hampton Fire Department, very busy in the cafeteria. Along with other volunteer servers, Anne helped dish up spaghetti in the kitchen to the many diners who were there for the celebration.

Following the delicious dinner and dessert, everyone gathered in the school's auditorium. After the audience was seated, the guests of honor and those who would officiate at this happy occasion took their places on the stage. Stan was escorted by Band Booster’s Club Vice President Sandy Sheridan to a large red chair that had a false bottom, and promptly sat down -- way, way down, almost on the floor. He stayed in it for a good part of the evening like a good sport.

WHS Associate Principal Richard Ray was the MC, and State Senator Beverly Hollingworth read a proclamation from the State of New Hampshire Senate, with many a "whereas" and much appreciation for his many years of dedicated service. A slide show, "Mr. Bednarz’s Opus," was presented by Richard Ray which showed events of the past, many of them familiar to members of the audience. Dick Walsh, Lillian Murray and Charlie Brindamour all spoke, as did John M. Holman, who works at the Lane Library and who writes articles of historical interest for the Atlantic News. He did a great job of roasting Stan, and he was very amusing.

Several telegrams and e-mails praising Bednarz were read, and gifts were presented to him, including $1,000 towards traveling expenses. Stan was also presented with a bronze plaque of appreciation which will grace the music room at the school, renamed the Bednarz Music Room in his honor.

Musical selections were presented by Stan’s former students. It was a fun evening, and Stan took the roasting all in good humor — as it was intended.