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Newsletter Highlights:

Winter 2004

South African Adventure

Winter 2002

Chorus on Pacific Northwest Tour 2002

Bess Spiva Timmons grant helps fund new Chorus van

Winter 2001

Chorus Partners: ContraVest Properties and the Donald Pitt Family Foundation

Summer 2000

60th anniversary alumni share their Chorus memories

Winter 2000

TABC alumnus Brent Davis grants $10,000 to the Chorus

Alumni Spotlight: Former Ambassador Curtis Kamman & Editor Jon Kamman

 

Newsletters

Alumni Spotlight: Former Ambassador Curtis Kamman & Editor Jon Kamman

When the first of the Kamman boys went off on concert trips around 1950, the destinations were such "exotic" places as Safford and Globe, or occasionally southern California. Soon, however, the tours became ambitious and sometimes grueling forays across the nation and into Canada.

Curtis Kamman loved them all. By the time he left the chorus in 1954, he knew he wanted a career that would build upon the national and global vistas he had begun to acquire through the Boys Chorus.

"My big moment was singing a solo -- Ave Maria -- before 18,000 people at the Rotary International convention in Atlantic City," he recalled. The confidence he developed in appearing before crowds of that magnitude, and the diplomacy he learned as one of Tucson's "ambassadors in Levi's" served him well in his professional life.

In 1955, it was younger brother Jon's turn. He was a member of the touring group that swept through 10 western states, returned to Tucson for four months of schoolwork compressed into half that time, and took off again in June for the choir's first European tour.

"I thought we were going to bring the house down in Hamburg," he said. "And in Lisbon, scores of beautiful, perfumed ladies rushed backstage after the show and smothered us with kisses."

"I loved to travel, too," Jon Kamman said, "but I remember coming home and wanting to stay put for a change."

Jon has ventured forth many times since, but has served all but a few years as an Arizona journalist. He edited a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series in the 1980s, was named Arizona journalist of the year in 1981, has held editing positions at four newspapers in the state and now reports on national affairs for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix. He and his wife, Beverly Medlyn, adopted a daughter in China six years ago.

Older brother Curtis has just retired at age 62 after 40 years as a diplomat representing his country in some of the most challenging posts worldwide. He credits the Boys Chorus and its founder with instilling an acute sense of quality and inspiring the abilities to achieve it.

"Eduardo Caso was the sort of person who demanded the very best from every kid in the chorus -- and got it," he said. Among his assignments as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State were stints in Mexico City, Hong Kong, Moscow, Nairobi, Havana and, of course, Washington, DC.

Thrills along the way have included serving as a translator in the early 1960s when then-Interior Secretary Stewart Udall met with -- and went swimming with -- Nikita Khrushchev at the Soviet premier's dacha along the Black Sea. "I had to keep my head above water at all times," Curtis said; being sent by President George Bush to officially re-establish diplomatic relations in 1991 with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which had been under Soviet rule for 50 years; and serving as ambassador to Colombia for 2-1/2 years until last August.

His stint in violence-riddled Colombia saw increasing cooperation in the war on drugs, along with approval by Congress of a $1.3 billion aid package, which made Colombia the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, after Israel. Before being assigned to Colombia, he had served as ambassador to Bolivia and Chile.

Now living in southwestern Michigan, Curtis Kamman will begin teaching foreign policy at Notre Dame in the fall.

–By Jon Kamman

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