Gary Rubin has more job titles than Ryan Seacrest. He's the new chair of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, the VP for University Advancement at Towson University, and—wait for it—an accomplished lounge singer. We add Grill subject to the list.
What is the best advice you ever got?
"Whenever you get overly concerned with what people might be thinking about you, remember: Don't flatter yourself, they're not thinking about you."
What is your guilty pleasure?
Old Bay fried chicken wings.
So the Chamber of Commerce is not just an old white boy's organization anymore?
In no way. All you have to do is look at our membership, our mission, our geographical reach, and the faces around our board table.
How has Towson University weathered this recession?
By getting out the message that every dollar counts. We've also used all the social networking sites that help us communicate with our alumni and friends. More importantly, since 80 percent of our grads stay in Maryland, we legitimately can say we are the "workforce engine" for the region.
How did you get the nerve to first sing in public at the age of 60?
After singing in the shower for 40 years, I figured it was about time to live my dream. I said to myself, "What is the worst that can happen?" Also, I believe the older you get, the more chances you can take and should take. Life is way too short.
Any stage fright?
Minimal. Any nerves I have are really part of an adrenaline rush before I go on. Also, I truly believe that audiences want you to do well and are rooting for you.
What's your act like? Is there . . . patter? Do you wear velvet?
I refuse to wear velvet. There is patter, about the songs, why I chose them, and about my life.
Is it true your singing has raised over $40,000 for the university?
Yes, the three concerts I've done at the university have raised over $40,000 toward three endowed scholarships.
What do the students think of your alter ego?
I don't know how many of them know, but those who do seem to think it's cool. Also, the kind of singing I do has gained a new audience of younger people—a return of "Rat Pack cool."