You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2005.

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Follow the three Rs:
· Respect for self
· Respect for others and
· Responsibility for all your actions.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.

Be gentle with the earth.

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

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The fall of 1964, I was born. Also that fall, the Ball State University Singers, the new “show choir” at Ball State, was born.

When the Ball State Singers and I were not even teenagers, we met for the first time. From that moment on I knew that, one day, I would be a performer with the BSU Singers. Each Spring I would ride (later drive my self) with my family or school to Emens Auditorium on Ball State’s campus, and watch Spectacular, the wonderfully entertaining showcase presented by the Singers.

The Spring of 1983, I auditioned for the BSU Singers and that fall was finally one of Indiana’s Official Goodwill Ambassadors! What a wonderful moment. Following my first Spectacular in 1984, I toured Greece, Cyrpus and Crete with the Singers. It was on this tour that I met two remarkable individuals, Rod & Jan Richard. Jan was one of the charter members of Singers and always traveled with the Singers on their oversea’s trips.

My first director was Larry Boye who had also worked for Disney. In 1985, Fritz Mountford arrived on the scene with drastic changes (for the better) and that was when my career/life began a new direction as a director, writer, arranger and “visioneer.” Fritz, one of the creative minds of EPCOT, was Fred Waring’s protoge, and I cannot even begin to list all I learned about directing, teaching, planning, creating and performing!

The Singers are currently under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Carter who has built upon the foundation of Singers, adding an incredible new presentation.

This May, the BSU Singers traveled to The People’s Republic of China and as always, Ball State University, the State of Indiana and the United States were well represented by these remarkable individuals who make up the current cast of the Ball State Singers.

For more information on Indiana’s Goodwill Ambassadors, please visit: http://web.bsu.edu/univsingers/




One of my heroes of inspiration is Father Flanagan, the Irish priest who established Boys Town in Nebraska. Father Flanagan’s mission began with five orphaned boys and grew to become one of the most prestigious mission programs in the world. There currently is a movement to canonize Father Flanagan http://64.176.101.149/index.htm. If you wish to learn more about Father Flanagan, please visit the Boys Town website: http://www.girlsandboystown.org/aboutus/history/index.asp#Journal.

“There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example and bad thinking.”

Late one Saturday night I heard a pair of footsteps bounding up the basement stairs. I looked up at the clock and figured a commercial had propelled them from the depths of TV Land.

“Dad,” my sons cried. “There’s a mouse downstairs… it crawled down the wall.”

My stomach sprang upward, lodging in my throat. One of my worst fears as an adult had been realized – a mouse had invaded my home. All throughout my childhood I heard others speak of these unwelcome visitors, but had never before experienced one personally. My mother had caught a mouse the previous year and still during our weekend visits my eyes con-stantly scan the baseboards.

Within forty-five minutes I had returned from Wal-Mart with an arsenal that rivaled Wyle E. Coyotes’ ACME collection. The boys busily set around little cardboard box traps and plugged in the pest repellent gadgets. They had pinned him behind my row of file cabinets and were doing everything in their teenage power to capture the little critter. Our dog, Flyer, was busy putting her Labrador pedigree to use and sniffing him out. The fury little creature did escape and ran to the other side of the room. Of course, Logan, our cat, and I, perched halfway up the stairs, observed him running as the trio shifted, sniffed and banged on file cabinets. Logan, a true hunter, seemed resigned to allow the others to do the footwork.

I pointed out the creature’s destination and the trio moved with lightening speed. My thirteen year old stopped and asked, “Father, why aren’t you down here chasing the mouse?”

How could I explain the truth to this young boy who looked up to me for strength, courage and guidance? Guidance! That was exactly what he needed!

“Well, any competent military man will tell you that you need a reconnaissance man to watch the movements of the enemy in order to guide the others.”

He bought it! The chase continued.

Sunday. All quiet on the basement front. No sign of the creature except for the cardboard traps through which he had chewed to free himself. Once more, with the conviction of Elmer Fudd, I hurried to Wal-Mart to purchase the old fashion mousetraps. My eldest son set three around the basement enticing the little fellow with peanut butter.

Sunday night. Traps still empty.

Monday morning. I moved aside the blockade and opened the basement door to let the cat hurry down to her litter box. She did not return within a few minutes. I woke my eldest soldier up earlier than his 6:30am wake-up call and sent him downstairs. I followed at a safe dis-tance. There sat Logan guarding the trap with the little critter caught by the leg and tail, and very much alive. Logan smacked it into stillness and looked up at us for approval and applause. My son picked up the trap and smiled at the little fellow as he took him outside.

Operation Critter was accomplished. I now rank myself with the likes of generals Grant, Marshall, and Eisenhower as an expert military strategist.


I recently discovered this photograph of Wilbur and Orville Wright, and their younger sister, Katharine.

The summer of 1999, I took off on a wonderful three week vacation which included Niagara Falls; the Trapp family resort in Stowe, VT; FDR’s Home, Hyde Park; New York City; Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill; Montauk Light House on Long Island; the Assasteague Light House in Virginia; and the Outer Banks (OBX) and all the light houses. As I drove by this huge hill with a monument, I noticed it was Kill Devil Hill, the site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. I drove by it with little interest as the Air Force Museum held almost no interest for me. After leaving Cape Hatteras Light House on the southern end of the OBX, I began feeling guilty for not paying my respects to the Wright Memorial, especially since I was living in Dayton. Instead of getting out of my car, I simply drove around it and left.

That September I was roller blading and stopped in a nearby park to rest. While sitting there, I watched a little sparrow moving about the parking lot, grabbing up little bits of popcorn or other food items. I began wondering how the little body could pick up and fly from one area to another – even a little hop here and there. A few minutes later I noticed a commercial jet flying overhead. I began questioning how that large vehicle got into the air. In the back of my brain I began hearing the voices of two boys, arguing about how birds fly and how man could fly. I realized that I was being introduced to my newest musical writing project.

I hurried home and immediately hurried to the United States Air Force Museum on the northeast side of Dayton. I purchased several books and began one of the most fascinating experiences in my life. The first working title was Twelve Seconds To The Moon which encompassed the Wright Brothers from youth through the first flight. In November 2002, a dear friend of mine (and parent of two of my students) had me listen to some of her compositors. They were phenomenal! I asked if she would like to work with me on the project and she agreed to help with lyrics and music, and would ask her good friend and colleague, Leslie Merry. They officially joined me January 2003 as I began conducting readings and workshops to see how the script flowed. Gail and Leslie immediately began offering their contributions which took the project in an entirely new direction.

Here we are – July 2005 – and the past two years have been incredible. The project no longer focuses on the Wright Brothers up to the first flight, but picks up with their story in 1908 just as they were ready to embark upon a world wide adventure, becoming, along with their sister, Katharine, the first international celebrities of the Twentieth Century. The show is about “control” and all the aspects of control in their world. The show is now appropriately titled, The Bird Let Loose.

For more reading on the Wright Brothers, I recommend some of my favorites:
The Bishop’s Boys Tom Crouch
The Wright Sister Richard Maurer
The Flyers Noah Adams
The Wright Brothers Legacy Burton & Findsen
Cooking The Wright Way Melba Hunt
Gentleman Amateurs Mark Bernstein





This Spring the Lincoln Library & Museum opened in Springfield, Illinois. Although I have not yet taken my sons to visit this magnificent place, I intend to do so by summer’s end. It looks incredible! If you have an opportunity to visit Springfield, please do so. Lincoln’s home on the corner of 8th & Jackson Streets, his law office, the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln Family Tomb are things you and your family will not want to miss.

For more information on the Lincoln Library & Museum, please visit: http://www.alplm.org/home.html


This is one of my favorite photographs – Mother and me dancing at my brother’s wedding.

My mother was a tremendous enfluence on me as a single parent. Our birth father left us when I was eleven, and my sister and brother were three and one years old. Mother joined the Elwood Police Department where she still works. Throughout those years as a single parent she did everything within her power to make certain we each had a solid foundation, self-respect, self-confidence and a determination to succeed in life. Today, thanks to our Mother (and her parents), we are all teachers, parents, and involved in our communities, churches and volunteer organizations.

And, I still share the words with my sons, which Mother repeatedly shared with us: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST!

Top: Flyer
Bottom: Flyer with my student, Dan Moore


I was not really looking for a dog, but for some reason, the morning of November 4, 2001, I scanned through the Sunday paper and jotted down a number. The gentleman gave me directions to their farm and said I could come out any time. I drove out south of Xenia, Ohio and easily found the farm. The young guy and his wife of 6 years greeted me. They married, each bringing to the union their own dog. He had a Springer Spaniel named Caesar, and she had Portia, a beautiful combonation of a Black Lab and a Siberian Husky. Portia was identical to the Black Lab, but had piercing blue eyes.

I watched four puppies scamper about the back yard. Three were chocolate brown and white, and the runt of the litter, was black and white with blue eyes. The runt had almost died several times and the mother kept hiding her in the pouch of an old recliner in their garage. Their daughters would save her each time and the family nursed her to health.

As the puppies played, I sat on the steps of the deck and watched them, eyeing one of the brown and white puppies. All of a sudden, the runt stopped playing, looked up at me and ran to the deck. She placed her chin on my knee and looked up at me. Sold!

On the way home the little thing could not see out the window and just sat in the passenger seat looking about the car. Finally, she came over and laid her head on my leg and went to sleep. Since I was working on the Wright Brothers musical, I decided she should have a name to honor the Wrights. She did not look like Orville, she had too much hair to be called Wilbur, the name Katharine did not fit her, and Kitty Hawk just seemed too much. I ended up naming her Flyer. I was later to discover that Wilbur Wright, while working on contracts in France, had a dog which he named Flyer.

Today, Flyer is one of the highlights of our family. Intelligent, loving, protective, devoted, talented and playful – this beautiful creature definitely has become my best friend!

In 1984, my step-father adopted my brother, sister and my self. What a lesson I learned about life – one man can love another man’s children enough to call them his own.

Adoption was not unfamiliar to us growing up, as we had several family and friends who had adopted children. In 1998, my dear friends, Bill & Kay Hetzer, lost their 16yo son in a tragic automobile accident on Mother’s Day. The summer of 1999, Bill and I were eating lunch when I casually mentioned I was interested in adoption. Bill laid down his fork and said, “You know, Kay and I have been discussing this very thing. We are not done being parents yet.” Thus began an incredible adventure.

I was still busy directing shows and had no spare time to devote myself to investigating all the different adoption agencies in the Miami Valley. Bill & Kay discovered a wonderful little agency in North Dayton – ACTION Adoption. They met the executive director, Patricia Hill and immediately formed a bond. Pat, a single mom, had adopted 20 children, all with special needs.

In February 2000, 7yo Joey arrived in the Hetzer home, and the following summer, Chris was adopted. 2002 was my year! May 1, I took time off from teaching and drove to ACTION, talked with Pat Hill and hurried off with my application. I drove over to Wendy’s grabbed lunch, and while Flyer played, I filled out my application.

The following Friday, I attended my first pre-service adoption classes. It would be a long process, but I was ready. The following Wednesday, May 8, I received several calls from the ladies at ACTION – they found two brothers, 13 and 15, who were both into band, choir and show choir. Now, I was only wanting a little boy between 5-8, and this was quite a shock! Teenagers! No way. I drove home thinking about those two boys. My birth father abandoned us when I was eleven – the years when I needed a father most. My grandfather and uncles were wonderful role models, but they were not real dads – they were still my grandpa and uncles.

By the next morning, I had decided to investigate the teen boys. The problem was that they were going to be going back to court for state custody and I had just begun the process. The ladies at ACTION went into action and with extra classes and private tutoring, my home study was completed in 11 days. Unfortunately, the brothers were not released to state custody.

June 16, I scanned several websites and found one boy from Texas. I submitted the on-line inquiry form and the following Monday afternoon, Robin Tinsley, a recuiter from Texas, called me. Not only did this telephone call begin my adventures in fatherhood, it also began a wonderful friendship with Robin who is still a faithful friend to our family.

It seemed as if everything suddenly went from slow motion to a speed blurred in my mind. July 24th, I was on the airplane, heading to San Antonio to meet my new son, Matthew, 12. Robin and I had a fantastic dinner and the following morning I was hugging my new son. We spent four days around the San Antonio area and even went to visit my great-great uncle and aunt, Raymond & Betty Daugherty, and their son, Steve, in Houston. That Sunday, Matt turned 13 and we celebrated his birthday at Fiesta Texas Six Flags. A week later, Robin arrived with Matthew.

The first year of transition was very difficult, but there always seemed to be a glimmer of light at the end of the long tunnel. The following Spring, there was an attempt to adopt a 15yo who was just not adoptable. We had moved into a new home next to the high school and he just could not become absorbed in a family life.

That September we finalized with Matthew, and immediately, the tunnel light began growing brighter and brighter. The end of his 8th grade year, Matt was making all A’s and B’s, and was awarded the Knights of Excellence Outstanding 8th grade choir member. That May, he made the high school show choir. Now Matt is an A’s student, sings in the high school concert choir, the show choir, and is involved in the musicals and the Latin Club.

The fall of 2004, Jose, 12, came to live with us from Oregon. He was exactly what our family needed – a bright little burst of humor and sunlight. Jose had an incredile amount of cheerfulness and a positive outlook. His transition was much easier than Matt’s, but school was a challege. The first semester was spent just getting organized in school life. Ending the first semester with all F’s and D’s, his teachers, new tutor (Sue Branson) and I all regrouped and made our action plan. The first nine weeks, Jose had all A’s going. The end of the semester he had 3-A’s, 3-B’s and one C. He also received a Knights of Excellence Award for Outstanding Language Arts Awards in the 6th grade.

Every one in my family has been extremely supportive of my adopting children. My mother and sister have been especially wonderful of accepting my sons. Unfortunately, my brother, who himself was adopted by our step-father, has been the only one who clearly does not accept my sons as true members of our family. My mother, sister and I were quite hurt when he indicated to my sister that his new born son was her “first real nephew.”

Thanks to David Haas, who adopted me 20 years ago today, I learned that it does not matter to whom a child is born… it is possible to love any child, accepting them as your own and raising them as you would your birth children.

In the past few years I have become quite a strong advocate of older child adoption and a number of friends are now parents of older children.

Here is a photograph of my two boys, taken the night Jose arrived with us, 17 Sept 2004. The above photo is of the Hetzer family, Bill and Kay, and their sons, Chris, Brian and Joey.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of Logan coming to live with me. Logan was born in April 1994 to a family in Centerville. I really wanted a dog, but with my travels back and forth between New York and Dayton, it would have been quite a chore to take care of a dog. So I opted for a cat. Logan, a beautiful tabby, is named after my musical theatre mentor, Joshua Logan. Mr. Logan directed South Pacific (stage & movie), Paint Your Wagon, Camelot, Bus Stop, Picnic, Mister Roberts, Annie Get Your Gun, By Jupiter, Wish You Were Here , Mr. President and a score of others.

I did not know that you did not train cats like dogs, and Logan was soon walking on a leash, sitting, standing, rolling over, and coming when called. That fall I decided Logan needed a companion and I brought home, Harrigan (named for Mr. Logan’s father-in-law, Edward Harrigan). Harrigan was beautiful but somewhat on the dull witted side. Unforunately, I could no longer keep Harrigan (urinary release problems on the carpet!) and I took her to the Humane Society in November 2001.

When I brought Flyer, the dog, home the next day, Logan demonstrated her fury. Flyer was a little smaller than Logan and Logan certainly made sure Flyer was under her ruling. Flyer is now three times bigger than Logan, but Logan is still the queen.

Hello! My name is Darin Jolliffe-Haas. I am a 40 yo single father of two adopted sons, Matthew, 16 and Jose, 13. I am a playwright~composer~director and an educator. We live in a wonderful neighborhood in Kettering, Ohio, a southern suburb of Dayton. Flyer, the dog, and Logan, the cat, make up our active and enjoyable home. We keep busy with all kinds of activites from cultural (theatre, movies, concerts, music, historical sites) to athletic (swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, Dayton Dragons baseball, volleyball, badminton, bowlinga dn watching soccer). Both Matt and Jose are involved in choir and show choir, and both take voice lessons. I am finishing up the development of a wonderful musical on the Wright Family of Dayton – co-written with two fantastic artists: Gail Tucker Whipple (lyrics & additional music) and Leslie Merry (music).

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