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Using Your Civic Sense

Whether Barack Obama wins the Presidency or not, he has already made history.

On February 10th of 2007, Barack Obama announced his campaign for the Presidency. He was speaking before a crowd in Springfield, Illinois. But thanks to 21st Century technology, the entire nation can watch the full speech - unfiltered by the news media or pundits - simply by logging on to Obama's Web site. This includes citizens who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, since the speech is closed-captioned.

Obama was the first Presidential candidate to caption videos on his Web site.

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Maestra Barbie

Barbie’s promoting symphonic music.

If you have young children, you’ve probably seen the animated movies starring Barbie with classical soundtracks based on famous orchestra works such as Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The first release came in 2001, when Owen Hurley directed an intelligent, charming adaptation of E. T. A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King with music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet.

But it was all downhill from there.

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Half Way There

You may be perplexed as to why I would entitle a January blog entry as "Half Way There". Half way to what? is what you are most likely wondering. The answer for your students or your children, is that they are just about half way to the next grade.

Now, I realize that if you do the actual math that this is not completely accurate, but with the end of the second grading period drawing near and the knowledge that Regents exams take up a good portion of the end of the year, I feel that "half way there" is called for.

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WXXI-FM Seeks new 6' Baby Grand

WXXI-FM 91.5 is putting out feelers regarding how we might get a new (or next to new) 6' Baby Grand piano to enhance our productions.

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A subtly shifting balance

I have always loved Johannes Brahms’s clarinet sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 and was therefore delighted to see pianist Jon Nakamatsu’s name on a new recording of these works with another h-less Jon's, clarinetist Jon Manasse's.

In Sunday’s New York Times, James Oestreich describes the appeal of the Brahms thus: “the clarinet and the piano are thoroughly, sensuously intertwined in a subtly shifting balance.” If you listen, you'll know exactly what he means.

(Scroll down for the full review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/arts/music/13reco.html?_r=...)

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Okay, I Lied

Louise Slaughter won't be on tonight.

Her scheduler called late yesterday and postponed. I'm still hoping to interview her before she heads back to Washington next week. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we still have the interview with GOP Congressman James Walsh. During the 2006 election, he was opposed to setting a deadline for American troop withdrawal from Iraq. He said the U.S. still had an obligation to train Iraqi security forces.

Now, he says, the training has been done. He says the majority of American soldiers need to be back on U.S. soil by the end of 2008.

After he talks about that and several other issues, we'll talk about Governor Spitzer's 2008 State of the State address with Rochester Business Alliance President and CEO Sandy Parker.

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Reading material

[On Debussy’s Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun”] “It is music of physical release, even of sexual orgasm, as Vaslav Nijinsky demonstrated in his undulating dance of the Faun at the Ballet Russes in 1912. ‘I hold the queen!’ Mallarme’s faun exults.”
- from The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross

“By [20th] century’s end, intellectuals had deserted classical music; compared to the theater, cinema, or dance, it was the American performing art most divorced from contemporary creativity, most susceptible to midcult decadence.”
- from Classical Music in America by Joseph Horowitz

“Since Jazz music is a laid back genre of music, students will wear jeans with no holes, a solid colored shirt (long or short sleeve) and sneakers will be okay.”

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Let's Imagine

The RPO’s Annual Meeting, Having Been Held in Rochester’s Opulent Eastman Theatre, Later Discussed by The Busts of Bach and Beethoven Over the Exits

Johann: Grüß dich! That brass quintet, sehr gut! Don’t you think, my old friend?

Ludwig: Ja, ja, I almost heard it! I think it was almost as compelling as the players’ rousing performance of The Firebird by the Russian Wild One, Herr Stravinsky. (He pauses, leans over, whispering) But I believe the young man who spoke afterward, Herr Owens, may have a Napoleonic complex. Did you catch all his mumbling about fame and glory, making the RPO famous around the world?

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Brizard: Square One

The new superintendent of the Rochester City School District is about to undergo a test of stamina.

On Thursday, January 31st, WXXI and WDKX-FM are partnering for a project called Brizard: Square One. It is a full day of broadcast events designed to introduce Jean-Claude Brizard to Rochester, and vice versa.

Beginning early in the morning, WDKX's Tariq Spence will join Brizard at Dr. Freddie Thomas High School on Scio Street to take calls from Tariq's listeners - primarily young people getting ready for school. Then Brizard will check in with WXXI-AM's morning host Alex Crichton for a Q & A during Morning Edition.

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Music from the Hearts of Space celebrates 25 years

2008 marks 25 years and over 800 Hearts of Space programs broadcast on over 300 public radio stations nationwide.

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