Il Cenacolo Man of the Year November 30, 2012 St. Francis Yacht Club
Every man is born to his own destiny, and looking backward, it is clear that Dick Wahlberg was destined to live a musical life. His mother was personal secretary to Gaetano Merola, founder of the San Francisco Opera Company. Home was chock full of the best classical recordings, and he took to them like a duck to water. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven were mother’s milk to young Richard.
Always inquisitive and possessed of the collector’s bent, he began acquiring Edison lightbulbs at age six. Two years later, old clocks caught his fancy. Collecting turned to repairing, and the proceeds of the business enabled him to found his record collection, now among the best in the world.
The headmaster at his grammar school encouraged Dick in the art of recording live music, and a friendship with the African American janitor there opened his ears to Jazz. His high school music teacher nominated him for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he met the love of his life, his wonderful wife Vivian.
When his friend David Lombardi, Jr. recommended him for membership in Il Cenacolo, the pattern was extended. Since then, he has distinguished himself as our most popular speaker, offering musicales one after another of classical and popular music, educating and entertaining us ceaselessly with song, much of it played on his vintage Victrola. He is truly one of the most beloved of Cenacolisti.