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November 14, 1986 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-11-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

O

David Siegal is surrounded by
Robichaud High School
cheerleaders. At far right is
achool Superintendent Dr.
Equilla Bradford.

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.TROMBONES

Or, how one local
family is playing 'Music
Man' to a high school
marching band

• •

David Siegal leads the parade as Grand Marshal.

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. II t was Professor Harold Hill who
said farewell to larceny and
"Hello there" to a librarian
named Marian, and ended the
trouble in River City by becom-
ing — you guessed it — the Music
Man. And how did he do it? He did
it with band uniforms.
Although that was just a story,
one need look no further than the
Siegal family, father Skip and sons
Jeffrey and David, for a real-life ver-
sion of the musical.
They are this year's Music Men,
and they hadn't even planned it that
way.
It happened like this: The Siegal
family owns and operates Seward
Drugs on Van Born near Telegraph
in Dearborn Heights. They've been
in that spot for 33 years and have
expanded to the point where you
need roller skates to get around,
their store is so big.
Though they all live in the
Birmingham-Bloomfield area, they
like the neighborhood where Seward
Drugs is located. They even have a
fix on why they like it.
This is an interesting commu-
nity," Skip Siegal says. "It's predo-
minantly blue-collar and stable. I'd
say it hasn't changed materially in
25 or 30 years. We have second and
third generation families coming
into the store now. These people are
comfortable in these neighborhoods
and they just don't leave. It's a good
feeling to have the children of our
early customers still coming in
here."
Siegal's son Jeffrey, 33, says,
"People come in here all the time
and tell me, I remember when you
us ta v
used,
hae to - stand -on ,milk cases

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to reach the register'. Well, I don't
remember standing on milk cases,
but I like the fact that they re-
member."
Which brings us back to the
band uniforms. Seward Drugs is in
the middle of a neighborhood served
by the. Westwood School District, a
tiny, impoverished district
encompassing a small area of Dear-
born Heights and Inkster. They'd
been forced over the years to drop
programs such as music and art. In
fact, Robichaud High School Band
Director Cecil Hamilton says he vol-
unteered his services for the better
part of a school year before the dis-
trict could find enough money to ac-
tually pay him.
And so it went. Meanwhile, the
Siegals were looking for a place in
the community where a substantial
donation would do the most good.
"We felt an obligation to this
community. They've been our lifeb-
lood — but we wanted to make sure
any gift was meaningful," says Jef-
frey Siegal.
Siegal talked to school board
member Rob McLachlan, who put
him in touch with Dr. Equilla Brad-
ford, superintendent of schools. Over
lunch, Siegal proposed his family's
idea for a possible donation. How
about library books? he suggested.
"(Dr. Bradford) looked me
square in the eye and said, 'What we
really need are band uniforms.' And
I remember thinking, 'That's the
dumbest thing I've ever heard.' "
She told Jeffrey Siegal that
what they needed was a focal point
— a rallying point. As poor as the
district was, there seemed little for
the students to look up to. When the
band marched at homecoming, they
marched in jeans. and. matching

RAMONA GRIGG

Special to The Jewish News

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