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From the Top gathers momentum

From the Top is coming to Rochester on Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. in the Callahan Theater at Nazareth College. The event is almost completely sold out - with the exception of just a few Patron Tickets still available as of this writing on January 9th. However, if you can't get to the show, there are still other ways to celebrate our five Rochester Kids who will be performing that day.

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music news miscellany

This afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra reveals artistic and financial data during an annual meeting. Check back for more on this later.

The U.S. government issued a 2007 patent for colored polymer instrument mouthpieces for brass players, and these are starting to pop up in instrument cases all over Western New York. Prices range from $21 for a trumpet mouthpiece to $32 for a tuba mouthpiece.

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Move Over Mr(s) President

Iowa. New Hampshire. Right now, Election 2008 seems to be all about The Presidency and voters in other places.

That's not true, however, if you live in the Rochester region. Putting the Presidential race aside for a minute, let's talk about Congress.

As they did in 2006, voters in this area of the country could play a key role in November because of our Congressional delegation: Randy Kuhl, Tom Reynolds, Louise Slaughter, and James Walsh.

If we take Rep. Slaughter out of the mix, we are left with three Republicans who are on the national Democrats' radar. Close races in 2006 mean the Democrats are considering pouring even more money into these districts in hopes of ousting the established incumbents.

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The Kite Runner

I walked out of a movie the other night.

The movie was The Kite Runner, based on the book by Khaled Hosseini. My sister invited me to see it with her at the Little, Rochester’s independent movie theatre. She’d read the book: I hadn’t, and I refused to let her talk about it because I wanted to be surprised. I was.

(Spoiler warning: you might wish to stop here if you want to be surprised, too.)

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Heartbreak

When Beth Wilhelm awoke on the morning of Christmas Eve, her husband’s breathing sounded funny. “I tried shaking him awake, but he didn’t respond,” she said. “He was turning gray.”

Panicked, Beth called 9-1-1 and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Soon, paramedics arrived to take Roger Wilhelm to Strong Memorial hospital.

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Kingdoms

While Mike Huckabee’s emergence as a Republican front runner in the 2008 Presidential race is obviously good news for his supporters, it also pleases some music and arts advocates. Writer Alex Ross has already noted the former Arkansas governor’s professed love for music and his legislation to bolster it in public schools. (Remember Bill Clinton and his saxophone?) While in office, Huckabee signed a law requiring every child in grades one through six to receive at least forty minutes a week of instruction in music and other arts. "In the true spirit of No Child Left Behind," Huckabee explained, "leaving the arts out is beyond neglect and is virtual abuse of a child."

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Brizard Blizzard

Just before Christmas, WXXI Radio News Director Peter Iglinski stopped by my desk and suggested we use our growing partnership with WDKX-FM to do something innovative around the appointment of Jean-Claude Brizard, the new superintendent of the Rochester City School District.

We called a meeting with WDXK's Tariq Spence, whom I rate as one of Rochester's best radio personalities (and just an all-around good guy.)

The "Brizard Blizzard" was born.

(Okay, that is not the official name of our project. But the snow was swirling the day we met, and that's the name that found its way into the space between my ears.)

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From The Top & Homework Hotline

Have you heard the news?? From the Top is coming to Rochester on Sunday, January 20, 2008!

From The Top is a national musical organization that encourages and celebrates the commitment of young people to music. From the Top programming includes nationally broadcast television and radio shows, educational programs and a website.

Here are some of the activities planned at WXXI and in Rochester to celebrate From the Top:

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Jumping Into January

As hard as it is to believe that it is now 2008, January of the new year is officially in full swing. After the exciting hustle and bustle of the holiday season, January may sometimes feel overly quiet by comparison but I am a firm believer that you can make just about anything exciting if you really try. So, here's some observances, events and ideas to help make your January a more memorable one.

It's Book Blitz Month
Resolve to Eat Breakfast Month
World Braille Day, January 4
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 21
National Compliment Day, January 24
National Write to Congress Day, January 30

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To Your Health

Despite what they say about journalists, I prefer to focus on the positive.

But as we were toasting the New Year this week, I was somewhat glad to see 2007 go. Despite many wonderful happenings, the year brought some painful moments in my life. And I mean that quite literally. Here's an October excerpt from my personal journal:

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It’s Wednesday evening, and I am in Room Four of the hospital emergency room. I have a good view of the nurses’ station, which is really the heart of the operation. The doctors come here to unload and pick up patient cases.