It was a huge effort, but Al pulled it off, gathering a bunch of top musicians (John Cafferty, Mark Cutler, Thom Enright, Jim Beaupre, Dan Moretti, Cheryl Wheeler, Gail Greenwood, etc.) and a 150-member celebrity chorus that included P&J. Phil Greene and Tom Soares manned the production board and the resulting 12-inch vinyl recording, Bandwagon: Three Sides of Hunger, emerged to very positive reviews. There were two sold-out televised concerts and Bandwagon went on to win the coveted Jefferson Award from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Foundation for Recognition of Outstanding Public Service.

Given this history, your superior correspondents were pleased to get a call from Al recently to tell us that Big Noise will be re-releasing this classic recording. All three tracks from the record, “A Piece of Our Hearts,” “Surrender to Serenity,” and “Where Home Is,” are available on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby (, with all proceeds going to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

So congratulations to Al once again and if you want to lend a hand to some fellow Vo Dilunduhs as well as grab a little piece of local history, get yourselves a copy of Three Sides of Hunger.

Marion Simon

Providence’s Trinity Repertory Company is one of the finest and most celebrated theater companies in America. And those who love Trinity Rep know that Marion Simon — the former executive assistant to the founding artistic director, Adrian Hall — who passed away on Monday in New York City at the age of 90 due to complications from pneumonia, was one of the giants there.

As her daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Terry Schwadron, wrote in Tuesday’s BeloJo, Mrs. Simon “ran the theater operations, secured grants and donations, ruled on contracts, hired and fired, and organized the Project Discovery theater experience for tens of thousands of Rhode Island school students.” In other words, her contributions to Trinity Rep were essential to making the theater company great.

All the praise and honors bestowed on Marion Simon were richly deserved. Her contributions to the culture of our community are immense and lasting. Thank you, Marion Simon.

Clearing the bus stops

(Disclosure: the following item was written by Jorge — Rudy Cheeks, a lifelong RIPTA rider. Phillipe — Chip Young — is a member of the Coalition for Transportation Choices, which advocates for changes at RIPTA, and he therefore stepped aside.)

For years, a serious concern of those who ride Vo Dilun’s buses has been the lack of a system to remove snow from bus stops and bus shelters throughout the state. If you ride the buses, you know this. Even while snow is plowed on the roads, large mounds of snow remain at the bus stops and riders are left to stand in the streets waiting for the buses to come — a very dangerous situation.

Don Rhodes, lobbyist for RIPTA Riders Alliance, recently circulated an email, describing his experience when snow hit on a recent weekend and he found that there was “not even one bus stop or one bus shelter accessible to riders from the Providence/North Providence line to Centredale on Rt. 44 [Smith Street].” Don is a disabled senior and noted that this was especially dangerous for other senior and disabled riders, “not to mention everyone else.” And this was after “only a dusting” of snow, he added.

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