In Memory

Mr. Norm Allen

 

 

 

 

The deep baritone that carried Norman Allen through his career as a Paramus High School music teacher and choir director also was familiar to fans of the Houston Astros.  In retirement, Mr. Allen was the team's spring training announcer — the "man with the golden throat," according to the Orlando Sentinel in Florida.

"He had a very distinctive, beautiful voice," Gail Allen said of her husband, who died on Feb. 23 after a long illness. He was 77.  Mr. Allen cut an imposing figure during 27 years at Paramus High. He stood 6-foot-6, and his booming voice and no-nonsense demeanor made him seem even larger.  Students adored him.  He was "Uncle Norm," the teacher who conducted with a knitting needle.  "He gave so many of us a safe and magical place to spend our high school years," one former student reminisced on Facebook. "Somehow I know he'll be conducting a choir in heaven and announcing a baseball game there, too."

Besides his teaching and choir duties, Mr. Allen announced school athletic events and helped coach boys' soccer.  He retired in 1985, moved to central Florida and landed a gig as public address announcer at Osceola County Stadium, where the Astros have spring training.

Mr. Allen became locally famous for his a cappella rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." He reprised that role at the 1998 Little League World Series and occasionally traveled to Houston to sing the national anthem before Astros regular-season games.  "Each time I'm invited to sing, I feel thrilled at the opportunity," he told the Sentinel in 1998.

Mr. Allen, formerly of Bergenfield, most recently lived in Herkimer, N.Y.  He is survived by his wife of 53 years; his children, Linda Allen of Herkimer, Carol Camizzi of Tenafly, Helen Allen Truitt of Warwick, N.Y., Charles Allen of Herkimer and Jan Allen Fleming of Herkimer, and 10 grandchildren.

 

 

Posted in behalf of Judy Iraci (Class of '67)

 

We choir members loved this man. He was such a supportive teacher and a gentle, humble, accomplished human being.  It is sad to lose such a person, but we are all the better for having known him and for having had the opportunity to work with him.

Our choir reunion was held in Florida in 2002. I especially loved seeing the video since we were supposed to be able to order a copy of the video taken of our performance, but it never seemed to materialize. What a wonderful memory of a cherished weekend with our beloved choir director. 
 
 
 
 

 

Posted in behalf of Phil Fontana (Class of '64)

Mr. Norman Allen: some thoughts/memories that come to mind at this time that are meaningful to me.

In my four years in the choir/chorus, around all the other activities so many of us participated in, in the course of his banter between songs during erformances/concerts, Mr. Allen used to single me out as his "poster boy" to get other boys to join the choir.  Needless to say, the upwards of 100 voice choir had a disproportionately low number of males.  So, Mr. Allen was always soliciting for more boys to try out & join.
 

Over the years in his pitch for boys, he would point to me as a Cross-Country runner & Track man, then over the years adding Letterman, Honor Society, & then Student Council President.  My other unique & fond memory was that Mr. Allen & I collaborated together musically.  To this very day, the hand written sheet music sits on my piano here in my home this very minute!

 

What transpired was that I wrote a corny old type song/melody & words, having a father deep into Barbershop Quartet singing. Mr. Allen helped me in response to my plea & wrote out a four-part Barbershoip arrangement for male voices.  He did it in "no time flat," a few days later, coming to PHS with my hand done sheet music now with his added four part harmony! What a thrill to this very day!  It is a prized possession, as I said, sitting on my piano.  

 

Now you can't beat that as an example of the impact of a teacher upon his student.

Phil Fontana - PHS '64 

 

 

 

Posted in behalf of Link White (Class of '60)

Mr. Allen, too, was one of my favorites during my high school years, especially, because singing has always been my favorite hobby all my life. It was Mr. Allen who chose me to do a solo, which I did, by singing "All Come All Ye Faithful" during one of the Christmases of our sophomore or junior year, don't remember which.

 

We had some great people as our teachers during those years.  We were very fortunate.

 

 

 

Posted in behalf of Ricky Veyhl (Class of '63)

Sorry to hear of Norm's demise. He not only directed the choir but was also the booming announcer's voice at many sports events, for PHS at the Teaneck Armory Pageant of Bands, and part of the spring band concert.

 

He started at PHS right after college and wasn't much older than we were. His connection with the students was very personal and remained so after his retirement.

The choir reunion was held in honor of Norm Allen as a surprise over the weekend of July 22, 2002 at The Grosvenor Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL, near Orlando, near where he lived. Norm's mother, who died a few months later, was there, too, full of energy. 

 

 

 



 
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03/01/13 02:26 PM #1    

Phil Fontana (1964)

BUT THE BEST ANECDOTE ....again about Mr. Norman Allen from Phil Fontana

 

     Before each big concert...Christmas & Spring Concerts.... the Chorus had a night rehearsal, the one & only time to bring everyone together. All other rehearsals were during the school day in small class size groups built into everyone's schedule as a regular music class.

     Such rehearsals were noisy gatherings of 100 chattering kids, mostly girls & a small contingent of guys. We inevitably brought out the wrath of Norman Allen to,  "Be quiet. Pay attention to my direction." On this one particular such occasion,  we were noisy & really getting on his nerves. In frustration. he upped & said, "Just  be quiet. I don't care if The Pope & General Eisenhower come through that stage door holding hands, doing the Mombo. Just shut up!"

    Well, we rehearsed as best we could...a little quieter.  Then Mr. Allen told the boys to take & break so he could rehearse a while just with the girls.  I told one of the sophmore guys...great guy...wish I remembered his name (must check yearbooks) to come with me!  We went back stage to the drama club's prop & costume area in the right wing of the stage, stage front. I outfitted him with a bishops hat & robe, etc., & me in an army officer's hat & uniform.

   In we went right into the music room/rehearsal hall holding hands & singing loudly, "DADA-DADA-DA, UM! DADA-DADA-DA, UM! " & throwing a hip with each "UM."  Well, pandimonium broke out, laughter to tears. But NO ONE LAUGHED HARDER AT HIMSELF THAN MR. NORMAN ALLEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


03/08/13 09:02 PM #2    

Frank Romero (1974)

where do i start? not only was Mr. Allen the coolest teacher in school, but he was also one of the most talented coaches i have ever had the pleasure playing for. most of you probably do not know that he coached the junior varsity soccer team, and under his teaching we were very successful. Uncle Norm personally took me under his wing and gave me the confidence to be the very best I could be. if I close my eyes I can still hear him bellow " to the wing Mr Romero, get rid of the ball, dont diddle with it." ah the memories! ill never forget being invited to spot for him when he was announcing the varsity football games. He even let me announce once, which as I look back I can now I see that he was showing me that he had confidence in me which proved invaluable to me growing up. To those who knew him, loved him, and to those who loved him will miss him dearly, as I do. Once my teacher, my coach, my mentor, my friend, now always a special memory. God bless you my friend....

Frank Romero class '74

p.s. too numerous are the memories of being under the knitting needle

Rom 10:9


12/14/14 05:39 AM #3    

Henry Hensel (1963)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op0m9k-0y4c

 

ALLEN Norman R., died on February 23, 2013 in Herkimer, NY, after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Gail, Herkimer, their children Linda Allen, Herkimer, Carol Camizzi, Tenafly, NJ, Helen and C.J. Truitt, Warwick, NY, Charles Allen, Herkimer, Jan and Michael Fleming, Herkimer, as well as ten grandchildren.
Mr. Allen was the choral director and Supervisor of Music for Paramus High School from 1959-1985. He and his students received many honors, performing concert tours through out the United States as well as abroad. In 1984, he was named N.J. Master Music Teacher by the N.J. Music Educators Association. During his time at PHS, he also coached soccer and announced athletic events at the school.
Mr. Allen was a distinguished baritone soloist and was the Minister of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Tenafly for many years.
After retirement the couple moved to Kissimmee, Florida where Mr. Allen was the announcer for the Houston and Osceola Astros. He was known as the 'Voice of Osceola' for his rendering of the National Anthem at many of the games and other sporting events.
A memorial fund has been established in his name to support the choral music department at Paramus High School. Donations may be sent to: Norman Allen Memorial Fund, c/o Paramus High School, 99 East Century Road, Paramus, New Jersey 07652.


11/03/18 12:38 PM #4    

Paula Stack (Goldberg) (1970)

Paula Stack-Goldberg  Class of 1970

I was in Choir at PHS for 4 years and every day I looked forward to Choir Class.  Mr. Norman Allen made the days easier to get through  whether you had Choir in the morning or afternoon.  He was a man of stature, he wanted us to behave but he also would crack a joke.  He was a prankster in his own way.  At the Christmas Concert of senior year a group of us singers got a hold of some bells.  When Mr. Allen was ready to start our version of Jingle Bells, he raised his hands, we were ready, we started singing and the bells began to ring.  He gave us a look like he was mad, but he snickered and the song went as rehearsed with our bells.  At the Spring Concert of senior year Mr. Allen would always take the time to announce the graduating seniors.  Everyone would stand when the names were announced and Mr. Allen would say something about the person.  Well, when he was done or he thought he was done everyone said to him you missed someone,  he realized he didn't say my name.  Paula Stack how could I forget you, the girl with the sweetest smile, hard worker and known as "Pail".  Everyone called me "Pail". I was the last to be announced.  But I didn't mind at all.  Mr. Allen remembered each one of us with a story just about the person.  He knew us individually and he was amazing.

I live by these words:  If you believe in forever then life is just a one night stand.  If you believe in heaven then there's one hell of a band.  Mr. Norman Allen is having one hell of a time. With all that passed whether famous or regular people he's in the graces of good talented people. Bless you, and I miss you Paula (Pail) Stack-1970 class.


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