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TASIS Celebrates 60 Years in Style
Posted 08/31/2016 04:52PM

WV Bus at the TASIS 60th Anniversary Celebration

More than 300 TASIS alumni and friends returned to Montagnola to celebrate the School’s 60th Anniversary over the weekend of August 19–21, 2016.

Alumni arrived throughout the day on Friday the 19th. In the morning, members of the PG ’66 class celebrated their 50th reunion at Villa Negroni in Vezia, which TASIS Founder M. Crist Fleming purchased for the growing postgraduate program in 1962 and owned for a decade. Later in the day, guests gathered at the Gentilino Cemetery to pay their respects to Mrs. Fleming, whose body was laid to rest in a beautiful gravesite across from the Sant’Abbondio church in 2009. Everyone then had a free hour to explore the ever-evolving TASIS campus before retreating to the De Nobili Terrace for a Serata Ticinese featuring merlot, luganighetta, Angelo Piattini’s famous risotto, and traditional music from Duo Nostranello. See a gallery of photos from Friday’s events.

Villa Negroni Then and Now

Villa Negroni then and now

On Saturday morning, alumni had the opportunity to tour Lake Lugano by boat, see local architectural marvels with veteran TASIS teacher Mark Aeschliman, or visit Valle Verzasca. Each trip was well-attended despite a steady rain that fell throughout the region for much of the day, and five of the 17 Valle Verzasca visitors even went for a lengthy swim in the icy waters of the Verzasca River. (Two were even crazy enough to jump from the double-arched Roman Bridge!) See photos from the Saturday trips.

More than 300 alumni and friends attended a spectacular Gala Evening on Saturday night. The event began with an aperitivi on the MCF Piazza that featured lively conversation, hors d’oeuvres, prosecco, and Mrs. Fleming’s signature cocktail—the Bourbon Old Fashioned. ("I'll never hire a headmaster who can’t make a proper Old Fashioned," was a remark she often made to TASIS luminary and current headmaster Lyle Rigg.) See photos from the Gala Evening.

60th Gala MCF: What A LIfe! Cast

The fabulous cast and crew of MCF: What a Life!

Guests then moved inside the Palestra—which, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the TASIS personale, had been transformed into a stunning ballroom—for a special performance of MCF: What a Life!, an original musical by Todd Fletcher. As audience members entered the Palestra and turned their eyes to the stage constructed and painted by set designers Todd Bearden and Derick Chappel, they couldn’t help but feel as though they had walked into the Casa Fleming living room. The nostalgia only grew from there as they sat back and watched a brilliant performance of the musical, which was originally performed in 2000 in celebration of Mrs. Fleming’s 90th birthday and was last performed in 2011. Produced by Lynn Fleming Aeschliman and directed by Jonathan Morris—and with a professional orchestra and an incredibly talented cast and crew on board—the 60th Anniversary show exceeded all expectations, and the audience responded with a standing ovation that carried on for several minutes.

(We will share a video that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show and a professional recording of the musical itself once they are available later this fall. For now, please enjoy photos from both behind the scenes and the MCF: What a Life! productions.)

Lynn Fleming Aeschliman with John Gage and George Clark

Lynn Fleming Aeschliman with John Gage and George Clark, two of her TASIS classmates in 1956.

After enjoying an excellent dinner, an emotional video tribute to Mrs. Fleming, and poignant remarks from Bill Eichner (Director of Admissions), Lynn Fleming Aeschliman ’63 (Chairman of the Board), and Lyle Rigg (Headmaster), guests took to the floor and danced the remainder of the evening away.

On Sunday, accomplished pianist Bert Spencer PG ’66 performed in the Palestra in the morning, and more than 250 guests from the local community came to campus for an encore matinee performance of MCF: What a Life! that again brought the house down.

Read what the local press had to say about our anniversary:


Alumni Remarks


What made you decide to return to TASIS for the 60th Anniversary Celebration?

What made me decide to return to TASIS was to see the changes and the progress that have taken place over the years, as well as seeing former staff, colleagues, and students. The metamorphosis that the Palestra had to undergo for this celebration was stupendous, really quite unfathomable. I am so proud to have been able to teach at TASIS during Mrs. Fleming's presence. It gave me a chance to get to know this wonderful, remarkable women. I have spent many great moments with her at Casa Fleming as well as all around campus. The 12 years I spent teaching at TASIS are, without a doubt, the best years of my life since my husband passed away in 1983.  For me, TASIS is somehow an enchanting place; I brag about it every chance I get.


Elisabeth E. Malcolm, who taught at TASIS from 1987–1999

Unforgettable memories and a chance to pay tribute to Mrs. Fleming, Yvonne, Zuleika, and Michelle, meet Kristin, and see Angelo, my host for the weekend!


Daisy Bilbao, who attended TASIS from 1973–1976

TASIS was a very important part of my life, and I wanted to be included in this special anniversary celebration. How can one pass up visiting such an extraordinary place?


Yvette Vartanian Baroian, who attended TASIS in 1972–1973

The impact TASIS and especially MCF had on my life.


Roubik Aftandilians, who attended TASIS for his senior year in 1973–1974 and worked as a counselor during the summer of 1975

I had not been back in 50 years, and I wanted to show my appreciation and honor Mrs. Fleming! I also wanted to reconnect with my classmates and enjoy Lugano with them.


Mary Blumberg Dean, who attended Swiss Holiday in 1962 and was a postgraduate student in 1966

My devotion to TASIS and to see my schoolmates again after 44 years!


Clifford Clavel, who attended TASIS from 1968–1972

To pay tribute to the achievements of TASIS.


Antonella Noseda, who attended TASIS from 1977–1980

I am always looking for any excuse to visit TASIS Lugano!


Cindy Crabtree, who was a postgraduate in 1966

My long relationship with Mrs. Fleming, Lynn Aeschliman, and the school.


John Gage, who was one of the original TASIS students in 1956 and attended Swiss Holiday in 1956, 1960, and 1962

It was a great opportunity to see the new campus and to experience TASIS once again.


Maurice Michel, who attended TASIS from 2007–2009

Mrs. Fleming was a visionary, both tough and kind. Her story is an amazing one. And it is such a beautiful place. I hoped to see folks from those years and did, but I also met other lovely people.


Joyce Motylewsky Hansen, who taught at TASIS in 1974–1975

Did you enjoy the Serata Ticinese on Friday night?

It was a fabulous experience. So many people—staff, colleagues, former students, and a few teachers—were intermingling during the course of the evening. However, what I shall never forget is the preparation of the main fare of the evening. With a huge cauldron, two sous-chefs, and Chef Angelo, an incredible risotto was being prepared.  As we know, risotto needs to be constantly watched and stirred. The ladder was accomplished with three gigantic wooden ladles and the arms and hands of two strong sous-chefs and Chef Angelo. The entire production was a spectacle in and of itself. The end result was a succulent Risotto, not soon to be forgotten.


Elisabeth E. Malcolm, who taught at TASIS from 1987–1999

A fun start to a beautiful weekend! Meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones.


Daisy Bilbao, who attended TASIS from 1973–1976

The informal setting together with Angelo's famous risotto & live music was an unforgettable evening.


Yvette Vartanian Baroian, who attended TASIS in 1972–1973

Amazing. Angelo and his group are just fantastic. The risotto, the live music, and the atmosphere were simply wonderful.


Roubik Aftandilians, who attended TASIS for his senior year in 1973–1974 and worked as a counselor during the summer of 1975

So Ticinese, so TASIS—just wonderful!


Clifford Clavel, who attended TASIS from 1968–1972

I loved it. I thought everything was beautifully done. I liked the outside dinner, and the highlight for me was singing Bella Ciao!


Cindy Crabtree, who was a postgraduate in 1966

Loved our tables under the stars, the country music, the mushroom risotto, and the new and old friends. Thank goodness the rain was Saturday!


Anna (Nan) Brooke, who attended TASIS from 1957–1960

How did your Saturday morning trip go?

Mark Aeschliman led a wonderful trip to three churches with spectacular frescoes. He is very knowledgeable and has a very appealing style of sharing his knowledge.


Laura Snook, who attended TASIS for her senior year in 1969–1970

One never forgets the stunning Lake Lugano and its surroundings. Even the rain could not detract from the beauty.


Yvette Vartanian Baroian, who attended TASIS in 1972–1973

The Lake Lugano boat ride on a beautiful rainy day was fantastic and memorable.


Roubik Aftandilians, who attended TASIS for his senior year in 1973–1974 and worked as a counselor during the summer of 1975

Definitely one of the highlights. I was going to go on the boat, but Mark Aeschliman was fantastic and I was an art major, so the cultural excursion was right up my alley!!!


Cindy Crabtree, who was a postgraduate in 1966

The cultural excursion was simply amazing. Many thanks to the great guide!


Maurice Michel, who attended TASIS from 2007–2009

Verzasca was wet, but five swimmers were undaunted and the rain did not deter them. We loved the valley, the dam jumps, the old villages, the churches, and the tiny cafe.


Anna (Nan) Brooke, who attended TASIS from 1957–1960

The intrepid travelers to Val Verzasca in the rain had a ball.


Joyce Motylewsky Hansen, who taught at TASIS in 1974–1975

What did you think of the anniversary performance of MCF: What a Life!?

Loved it, and what an amazing person she was!!!


Polly MacDougall Oliver, who attended Swiss Holiday in 1963 and was a postgraduate student in 1966

Very nice production. An excellent soprano lead, good sets, delightful dance numbers—and an inspiring story! Impressive student performances in the orchestra and play.


Laura Snook, who attended TASIS for her senior year in 1969–1970

This was a wonderfully entertaining production. The entire cast was superb.


Yvette Vartanian Baroian, who attended TASIS in 1972–1973

What a Life—What a Show...Emotional and heartwarming. LOVED IT.


Roubik Aftandilians, who attended TASIS for his senior year in 1973–1974 and worked as a counselor during the summer of 1975

FANTASTIC! What amazing talent! It really captured the force of nature that was Mrs. Fleming!


Mary Blumberg Dean, who attended Swiss Holiday in 1962 and was a postgraduate student in 1966

Definitely worthy of an off-broadway show! Immaculate! Made me cry!


Clifford Clavel, who attended TASIS from 1968–1972

It was great to see it again with a new crew. Very well done and always inspiring!


Antonella Noseda, who attended TASIS from 1977–1980

Just beautiful! Well done!


Camilia Tara, who attended TASIS from 1980–1984

Of course the star was PG ’66 with Elizabeth Acer Crawford! She was stupendous as Mrs. Fleming. I've never seen her happier in my life.


Cindy Crabtree, who was a postgraduate in 1966

Wonderful and inspiring.


John Gage, who was one of the original TASIS students in 1956 and attended Swiss Holiday in 1956, 1960, and 1962

Fabulous musical—better than many other professional musicals.


Maurice Michel, who attended TASIS from 2007–2009

How would you describe the entire Gala Evening?

It was so stupendous I cannot find enough words to express how unbelievably impressive the gala was. The transformation of the Palestra was beyond my imagination. The stage a copy of the living room in Casa Fleming left me à bouche béante, as did the elegance of the dinner setting. The performance of MCF: What a Life was exquisite. I was so thrilled to finally have the chance to see this Todd Fletcher masterpiece.


Elisabeth E. Malcolm, who taught at TASIS from 1987–1999

Over the top!!!


Polly MacDougall Oliver, who attended Swiss Holiday in 1963 and was a postgraduate student in 1966

Elegant! I will say it again: We (the 70s classes) are fortunate to have had the best years of Mrs. Fleming!


Daisy Bilbao, who attended TASIS from 1973–1976

Delightful. It was nice to have the hors d'oeuvres and drinks outdoors and in the library beforehand to give everyone a chance to mingle before sitting down indoors. The Palestra, with its cascades of paper lanterns and tall candelabras with while lilies, looked lovely. Nice to be seated with others who were at TASIS when I was. Good food and service and a relaxed pace.


Laura Snook, who attended TASIS for her senior year in 1969–1970

Classy as can be—MCF would've been very proud.


Roubik Aftandilians, who attended TASIS for his senior year in 1973–1974 and worked as a counselor during the summer of 1975

Above and beyond. Everything was on that highest plane that Mrs. Fleming taught us to reach for—perfection!


Mary Blumberg Dean, who attended Swiss Holiday in 1962 and was a postgraduate student in 1966

Wonderful company, excellent selection of alumni at the tables, great food, the candles, and the smell of lilies and then of coffee.


Clifford Clavel, who attended TASIS from 1968–1972

Wonderful and very well done!


Antonella Noseda, who attended TASIS from 1977–1980

Very well-organized down to the last detail. A memorable evening.


Pamela Blakey, who has worked for the CDE Summer Program for each of the past three summers

Beautiful conversion of the space and impressive dinner with old and new friends.


John Gage, who was one of the original TASIS students in 1956 and attended Swiss Holiday in 1956, 1960, and 1962

Great atmosphere, good food, and overall very-well organized.


Maurice Michel, who attended TASIS from 2007–2009

Beautiful flowers and great food, wine, and conversation. A very memorable evening.


Anna (Nan) Brooke, who attended TASIS from 1957–1960

Wonderfully done.


Katerina Barone-Adesi, who attended TASIS from 1998–2000 and from 2003–2004

Any final thoughts on the weekend in general?

I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to be here once again with all of you and to take part in this coming together of positive energy, talent, and dedication. Thank you for the whole experience! 


Kay Hamblin, who taught at TASIS from 1996–2010

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the work you [Yvonne Procyk] and your team have done to make the wonderful event of the 60th anniversary the great success it has been. All the organization was remarkable—the setting, the stage, the musical! Just fantastic! But what made it really special was the huge number of alumni of all ages who came from all over the world to be part of it. This is thanks to you and your continuous work to keep the alumni community in touch.


Sara Rosso Cipolini, TASIS board member whose sons Filippo ’19 and Michele ’21 are current students

I thought it was great. Hats off for organization. Having worked on these things, I have an idea about all the detailed work that goes on behind the scenes. Being on the "other side" was most enjoyable!!!


Vivienne, who worked at TASIS from 1963–1970

Superb!


Daisy Bilbao, who attended TASIS from 1973–1976

This was an amazing weekend visiting and reconnecting with friends. Thank you TASIS for your warm hospitality. You planned a superb weekend for us, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second. I can't wait to return.


Yvette Vartanian Baroian, who attended TASIS in 1972–1973

SIMPLY AWESOME...Can't wait for the next one.


Roubik Aftandilians, who attended TASIS for his senior year in 1973–1974 and worked as a counselor during the summer of 1975

From beginning to end my time in Lugano was fantastic—a week of beauty, wonderful memories, and great people!


Mary Blumberg Dean, who attended Swiss Holiday in 1962 and was a postgraduate student in 1966

Another moment at TASIS I shall never forget. Thank you so much for allowing me to take a trip down memory lane!


Clifford Clavel, who attended TASIS from 1968–1972

GREAT! Wonderfully orchestrated, and it was enjoyable to see "old" and new friends!


Antonella Noseda, who attended TASIS from 1977–1980

A fantastic opportunity for alumni and faculty to meet and enjoy Lugano and the surrounding area.


Pamela Blakey, who has worked for the CDE Summer Program for each of the past three summers

Already planning my next trip back!!!


Cindy Crabtree, who was a postgraduate in 1966

Lovely weekend in general—it was great to be back. I am looking forward to many other TASIS events! Thanks a lot!


Maurice Michel, who attended TASIS from 2007–2009

I am so happy Diana and I decided to attend even though we were among the oldest student alumni. The school years were important to our love of Europe (Lugano in particular), languages, and great skiing memories. Andermatt was important to our love of mountain villages.


Anna (Nan) Brooke, who attended TASIS from 1957–1960

Everything was very well-organized and kudos to all the staff who worked so hard to make it special.


Joyce Motylewsky Hansen, who taught at TASIS in 1974–1975

 


We are grateful to the following businesses for their support of the 60th Anniversary Celebration:

Sponsors
ARL Autoregionali Luganesi
AXA Winterthur
Garzoni SA Impresa Generale di Costruzioni
UBS

Supporters
Artebianca
Benedos wines
Cronoparty catering
Fausto Bizzini Giardini
Fawino wines
Garage Royal
GBC frutta e verdura
Ipppergros
Nestlé
Rapelli
Schenini costruzioni metalliche
Sixt rent-a-car
Società Navigazione Lago di Lugano
Stefano Farina wines
SWICA health insurance
Unilever

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