Posted at the request of the author, James Meckley ’67.
Dear Gentlemen March 28, 2017
It is going to happen. The event that many of us have been anticipating for about a year will finally take place on October 13-15, 2017. The Valley Forge Military Academy and College Band Alumni from 1949-1976 will be holding a reunion at the Crown Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, PA for all members of the Col D. Keith Feltham band era. The “Duke” directed the finest bands VFMA ever knew and guided 629 cadets through the band ranks for 26 years. The pride, camaraderie, excellence and professionalism that he instilled was carried by all of us throughout our lives and helped to influence our achievements and life skills. This reunion is not only a gathering of past friendships and stories but a tribute to a great man who was so influential on many lives. Needless to say, it is long overdue.
Please read the following information carefully so there are no disappointments or confusion once we are all assembled for the reunion. Deadlines are important for efficiency and necessary for a memorable and relaxed get-together. If you cannot attend, an Email would be welcomed so we know that your contact information is correct.
LODGING – The reunion will be centered at the Crown Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, PA., approximately 17 miles from the Philadelphia airport. The hotel is conveniently located across from the King of Prussia Mall at the intersection of Mall Blvd and Wills Blvd. The hotel is adjacent to the Fairfield Inn and LA Fitness. We are blocking 40 rooms for Friday and Saturday night at $119.00/room per night (single or double occupancy) which includes a full breakfast. You will need to make a reservation by Sept. 15, 2017. Mention that you will be attending The VFMA Band Alumni Reunion for this special rate.
Crowne Plaza – www.cpvalleyforge.com
260 Mall Boulevard Check In 3:00PM Check Out 11:00AM
King Of Prussia, PA 19406 24 Hour Cancellation
610-265-7500 Full Restaurant and Bar on Premises
BANQUET – A banquet will be held Saturday evening, October 14, 2017 at the hotel in the Banquet Hall. Cocktail Hour will be at 6:00PM followed by dinner at 7:00PM. A cash bar will be available in the banquet room. For those attending dinner, the cost will be $50.00/person which includes a 3 course dinner, coffee, taxes and gratuity. If spouse or significant other is joining you for this dinner, mark their choice of entree along with yours and include the cost of their dinner with yours. Please mail the banquet form (attachment) along with payment by Sept. 15, 2017. Dinner dress will be semi-formal with coat and tie. Our guests will be Col John C. Church, Jr. USMC (Ret.) President of VFMAC, WO2 Philip Evans RM (Ret.), Bandmaster at VFMAC and Tom Goldblum ’69 ’71, Director of Alumni Relations, VFMAC.
I would like to thank former band alumni Hugh Johnston ’67 and Dave Detwiler ’68 for initiating this idea a few years ago along with Brian Kreider ’68 and Bob Grimm ’68 who helped with the planning of the first small get together in Gettysburg, PA in 2016. I would also like to thank my “go to” guys, Eric Ronnigen ’66, Bill Kear ’72 and Keith Hooper ’68 who were helpful with ideas, corrections, considerations and contributions to the planning. I would be remiss in not thanking the 49 former Band Alumni who answered the questionnaire about when, where and who for this event and for those who contributed thoughts, ideas and Emails. A number of former bandsmen will be at the Forge for Alumni Weekend April 28-30 and will have packets with all of this information for our Feltham Era Bandsmen that are not on the current mailing list. We will have an information table in the Sara Crawford Room in Mellon Hall on Friday evening and Saturday and some of us will be playing with the current regimental band on Saturday. Please stop by if you are attending.
I will look forward to meeting many of you for the first time and will also cherish the renewal of friendships with those who were in the band when I was. As Mark Faith ’69 so eloquently said “We of the band were in a special unit at a very special time.” Gentlemen, we have a chance to relive those special times when we were with Col D. Keith Feltham and the VFMA &C Regimental Band at this reunion, not only to honor a man who taught us leadership, high standards and a sense of pride but to honor one another who maintained and respected the high quality of performance and musicianship that made us proud and a “special unit.”
I would encourage those attending to bring old photos, mementos, medals and pins, yearbooks, records, or any other memorabilia to share with the group. We will have a few tables set up to display the items at the banquet. I know you’ll all bring stories. If you have any Emails, addresses or phone numbers of any Feltham Band Alumni who are not on the mailing list, please send along through my Email.
Please note that there are 3 attachments with this Email, one for the Banquet (which needs to be returned to me with payment by Sept. 15th if you are attending), one with directions to the hotel and one with transportation information you may need in getting to the hotel or around the area.
If there are any questions or concerns, please contact me as soon as possible either by phone or by Email. Please leave a message and phone number if I miss your call.
Sincerely, James Meckley ’67 Band Sir!