Apollo Club of Boston

At Pine Street Inn: Anthony Polito,

Flossie Dunn,

John Fanton, Paul K. Finnegan and

John K. Dineen

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Apollo Club: Brothers in Song

by A. Bowers, Beacon Hill Times, December 20, 2005

"You don't need a psychiatrist if you can sing." That's the unofficial philosophy of the Apollo Club, a men's

choir founded in 1871 that has made its mission providing music to retirement homes and any other

institution where there might be people who enjoy their mix of standards and old favorites.

The group is a close-knit tribe of that meets every Tuesday to rehearse at the Harvard Musical Association on

Chestnut Street.

New members are often "found' by the Apollo Club via serendipity. John K. Dineen, an attorney at Nutter,

McClennan & Fish, recalled when he first learned of the club.

"I was walking by the Church of the Advent on Brimmer Street and heard singing, and it was the Apollo Club,'

said Dineen, adding that he was in his first year of law school, and

that he has lived on Pinckney, Lime and now Beacon Street. "I heard

that they met on Tuesdays at the Harvard Musical Association.'

This year Dineen marks his 51st year in the Apollo Club, and he has

done his part in helping find new members.

Anthony Polito, a professor at Suffolk Law School and onetime

Bowdoin Street resident, is a relative newcomer.

"I went to one concert in 2001,' said Polito. "John [Dineen] asked if I

was looking for a psychologist. I said '┬źNo.' John replied that 'If you

were to sing on a regular basis, your disposition would be so much

better you wouldn't need one.''

Polito found this logic so convincing that he joined and is now president of the club.

Another member and Beacon Hill resident, Paul Finnegan, describes himself with a droll wit as "Another

Dineen" -- 'not a victim but a protegé, as in all things in life.'

"Thirty years ago I was asked [to join] by a professional colleague, who was one of the most truly, truly stuffy

people I have met,' said Finnegan. "I thought 'I don't want to belong to any club that would have him.'''

Then Finnegan found himself singing with Dineen at a recent Christmas party. "I kicked myself that I didn't

join when it was suggested 30 years ago because the men are truly extraordinary. If a relative dies, for

example, the support for the men in this group is overwhelming.'

Aside from the friendship and savings in psychiatrist fees that singing brings its members, the club's main

mission is to bring music to retirement homes and private institutions. "The club focuses on glee club songs,

barbershop and four part harmony with some Broadway songs and even opera,' said Polito.

One recent concert was on a bitterly cold night at the Pine Street Inn women's shelter. The Inn was a warm

refuge for all its guests, and adding to the holiday cheer was the Apollo Club, entertaining the crowd with a

mellifluous blend of holiday songs and old standards.

"The one thing that brings everyone together is song,' said Polito, referring to their performances at various

events, including retirement homes. "It's fun for us to sing and it's songs that they remember and they get

nostalgic. People get dressed up, and in some cases couples treat it as a date.'

"Usually there are social [gatherings] afterwards where we meet some extraordinary people,' said Finnegan.

"They get a kick out of talking with us afterwards. I always come away with a lifted spirit.'

And the last note? The club's mixture of friendship and public service brings comfort and joy to both singers

and audience, and not just on performance nights.

"On Tuesday nights I think it would be nice to go home and have a beer, then I go [to rehearsal] and it lifts my

spirits for the rest of the week,' said Dineen.

 
 

A Men's Chorus Founded in 1871