This was Parousia’s first time performing for the gifted students of Calasanctius. The band recently finished up a great week following our gig at “The Masthead” on Grant Street, a very crowded hip & trendy club near Buff State College, where Parousia rocked it with The George, a popular new wave band.
Parousia had something special planned this night for the ‘enlightened kiddies’ of Calasantius… our “Good vs. Evil” show set! We felt we had the right crowd to grasp the parody and various levels of sarcasm but suddenly, we were approached by the headmaster looking very concerned… He questioned one of our props.
A six-foot crucifix, with a window shade across the horizontal arm… and what was on the shade? My brother pulled on the string and drew down the shade to reveal a colorful drawing of an extra-large bingo card. I saw the headmaster make the sign of the cross, (Reverend Ted Podson was his name). He had a suggestion for us, “As this is a religious institution, I would prefer that you NOT do this on stage…”
Oh dear, didn’t the Reverend get the memo? No one told us what to do with our show. Or if you did, be prepared for a fight. We were against any censorship of our sarcastic wit and immediately shot-back at him, “but this is the show your students paid us to see.” He backed off…
We felt confident the students could handle it and understand the distinction between one’s own spirituality and the politics of religion. Although, in hindsight I guess we did intentionally embarrass and humiliate our host with stinging anti-establishment commentary. But hey, I’m sure we inspired some critical thinking along the way too.
The Giant Crucifix was used on stage when the band played the song “Hymn 43” by Jethro Tull. My brother Barry Cannizzaro sang, “Oh, Father high in heaven, Smile down upon your son, hey, hey. Who’s busy with his money games, oh…” and that was the cue to pull the shade down the length of the crucifix to reveal a giant bingo card.
The students at Caly loved the show. Our music and humor struck a chord with them. We had the most compliments playing our own original songs; “Myron”, MissOgyny” “Lucifer’s Lament”, “Revelation”, “Cotton Holiday”, “Malmedy”… They got it, our wit and sarcasm wrapped up in presentation. The class of Calasantius liked us enough to have us perform for them once a year up until graduation. We loved it especially since they paid us $500 a show!
…One of the important features of the Buffalo landscape was an obscure private school founded by emigres and initially supported by them.
The Calasanctius Preparatory School was a hard-to-categorize place: not a “blue jacket” prep school, neither was it a diocesan Catholic school, though it was organized, run, and largely staffed by priests.
It was founded the year Sputnik went up in 1957 and in September, Calasanctius Preparatory School for the Gifted opened to students ranging from the 9th through 12th grade.
Its focus was on a new willingness to embrace learning, academic rigor, inquiry, or simply sheer brain-power as assets rather than detriments for the new age.”