Celebration for NOVA Pioneer Michael Ambrosino

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series The Michael Ambrosino Collection
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Friends, colleagues, and family gathered at One Guest Street on Thursday, October 3, 2019, for a party celebrating the pioneering career of Michael Ambrosino, creator of Nova, Odyssey, and producer of many WGBH programs.

1. The guests arrive

2. Fred Barzyk waxes eloquent

3. Rebecca Eaton and Michael Ambrosino

4. Chuck Schuerhoff, Sheila Simollardes, Michael, and Lynn Ambrosino

5. Emily Lovering, Olivia Tappan, Fred, and Sheila

6. Sheila, Lynn Ambrosino, Michael, Suzanne Simpson (in front)

7. Terry Rockefeller, Melanie Wallace, Boyd Estus, Bob Nesson (front)

8. Fred, Henry Becton, Olivia

9. Michael, Lynn, Bob

10. David Atwood and David the Younger

11. Michael, Rebecca, Chas Norton

12. Emily, Lynn, and Sheila

13. Sheila and Michael

14. David, Olivia, and Fred

15. Michael and David

16. Henry and Olivia

17. Jeanie Jordan and Sheila

18. David and Melanie

19. Michael and Henry

20. Fred and Alison Bassett

21. Bob and Emily

22. Michael and Judith Vecchione

23. Bob and Paula Apsell

24. Terry, Michael, and Melanie

25. Rebecca and Michael

26. Terry and Melanie

27. Sheila, Emily, and Rebecca

28. Michael, Chuck, and Fred

29. Olivia and Bob

30. Chas and Michael

31. Rebecca, Terry, and Paula

32. Michael and Marita Rivero

33. Chas and Callie Crossley

34. Suzanne and Jeanie

35. Bob and Michael

36. Alison and Marita

37. Henry, Emily, Bob, and Marita

38. Olivia and Boyd, (Ron Blau, behind right)

39. Michael and Paula

40. Goodbye for now

From Fred Barzyk

Memories for Michael
as he moves away from Boston
September, 2019

There are so many images that flow thru my memory bank when I think of our long time friendship.

I remember you directing a Gene Gray science show in Studio B in the old building. You had devised a complicated and intricate moving of studio cameras, allowing you to get the most delicious CU of the experiments. Actually, it was so complicated that we almost found ourselves hopelessly entangled in camera cable. But somehow you pulled it off and the kids of the 21-Inch Classroom were given the images they needed to learn about science. It took us a half hour to untangle the cameras.

Then there was the wonderful legend of a Performance show you directed in the early days. It was a music show that featured a number of ancient instruments. I can’t remember who the stage manager was, but he tried his best to follow your instructions. As the show progressed, he had to hand in various instruments to the host.

About half way through the show, it was time to hand off this unusual contraption. It was a large tall rod with many chimes and bells attached. Your voice spoke quietly thru the headsets, “Hand in the Jingly Johnny QUIETLY.”

With care and gentleness, he proceeded to move the damn thing:

Ding, Dank, Clink, Clank, Chimes ring!!!!

It finally appeared on camera, amidst one of the loudest entrances ever. And a legend was born.

I checked with you to make sure I had the memory right.

Here was your response:

Yes I did produce and direct a series for 21” on music with Ed Gilday,  former conductor of the Handel and Haydn with one program on Ancient Instruments.

Checking out stuff at the MFA, our contact there was tightening the strings on an ancient lute when a loud crack reverberated in the gallery. The back had broken from the body.

My most famous statement as a young director was given to John Henning, my floor manager in that taping.


As you know, breathing on the damn thing elicited sounds, let alone handing it off to talent talking in close up while reaching blindly off to his side.

Oh, the happy times you and I have had!

And then there was the time when you showed me such kindness and care. I had come down with a mild form of hepatitis and was going to be out of work for a few weeks. I lived in a rental apartment in the Watertown area with my wife and two kids.

And then one afternoon, you and your dear wife showed up with a home-cooked casserole. I remember standing there in my robe, with my wife next to me, overwhelmed at your kindness and thoughtfulness. It is a memory of you I will always treasure.

Thank you for all the good times, the great stories, the friendship you provided to this kid from Milwaukee.

From Paul Noble

At an early reunion.

Michael Ambrosino, Paul Noble, and Fred Barzyk.


  1. Susheel on December 24, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I know Boston will miss Michael! I will never forget his coming to visit me in the Taj hotel when I was in India. What an inspiring guy!

  2. Virginia (Kassel) on November 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    MIchael —

    Thank you for the memories. Hope to see you at the next gathering.

  3. Simon Campbell-Jones on October 24, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I might have hopped over the pond, had I realised! Wonderful pictures of only slightly older good friends. Forty seven years? Naaah! Can’t be. Congrats again Michael. Much love to all.

  4. Raquel Ortiz on October 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Hola Michael, I’m so sorry I didn’t know about this celebration of your work and accomplishments. Well deserved of course. Looks like it was a grand event. The photos are great. Wishing you continued health and joy and fun. Hope to see you at the next reunion.

  5. Christine Lear on October 18, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Congratulations Michael! Well deserved!

  6. Don Hallock on October 18, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    A fine reminder of how much you are deservingly loved, respected and admired, Michael. Proud to be to be a friend, Don

  7. Harriet Reisen on October 13, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    So sorry Tony (Kahn) and I couldn’t come, but we enjoyed the many wonderful pictures. We could almost feel the warmth in the room. Harriet Reisen

  8. Carole I Ashcraft on October 13, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Well earned and well deserved. Congratulations dear friend. You look great!

  9. Michael Ambrosino on October 13, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    How sweet it is when your friends and colleagues send you off with so much love and so many grand stories.
    Thanks to all who planned and attended.

    See you at the next Reunion!


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