One day in middle school, walking out of the lunchroom down a long, sunny hallway, I saw my father emerge from the band room where he taught instrumental music. He spotted me and pivoted, approaching with another music teacher alongside and holding a thick, green glass Coke bottle in his hand. It was half full.
The other day I said to my family, â€śLetâ€™s all give homemade gifts this year.â€ť This suggestion sank like a stone on a wave of despair, since my kids are still young enough to dream of Lego sets, gadgets, and games. But for my part, Iâ€™m determined to do it.
A few years ago, my colleague Laura Garrison formed a club for WXXI listeners who are passionate about travel. She and former morning host Simon Pontin led a trip to Austria in 2008. Last year, a small group went to Costa Rica with WRURâ€™s Scott Regan. When Laura asked me to co-host a trip to northern Italy in 2011, I was thrilled.
If youâ€™re lucky to spend time in Boston when the weatherâ€™s nice, walk across the Arthur Fiedler Memorial Bridge and trace deeply-carved composersâ€™ names on the band shell where the Boston Pops plays in the summer along the banks of the Charles River. Spend half the time getting lost in opulent Beacon Hill. Follow the Black Heritage Trail. Itâ€™s all good.
In June, BBCâ€™s Radio 3 polled listeners on their favorite aria. If youâ€™re into opera, you might guess Pucciniâ€™s â€śNessun Dormaâ€ť or "Un bel diâ€ť soared to the top of the list, or maybe â€śLa donna e mobileâ€ť from Verdiâ€™s Rigoletto. But the winner surprised everyone; it was a three-century old song from a relatively obscure opera by Henry Purcell. Officially, Englandâ€™s most
RPO Music Director Christopher Seaman has returned to Rochester after summer travels to Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. The big question is, what's with the chickens? Find out this Thursday morning on Classical 91.5 . . .
No one taught me how to practice. Just do it, they said, which is how I honed my amazing ability to daydream while moving my fingers. I can play a Bach sonata and keep a running commentary in my head: whatâ€™s for dinner? I must send flowers to Aunt Margie (ooops! skipped a note!) Are my favorite jeans in the dryer? Get cat food!
Privately-funded public art brightened small towns and markets this summer. My thanks to Classical 91.5 listener Al Kopec, who sent in pictures from the Windmill Farm and Craft Market between Dundee and Penn Yan, where a large mural appeared on one of the buildings.
I whooshed past a field of goldenrod today. A blur of yellow. The summer itself feels like a blur, a grainy Polaroid with indistinct lines and a few dabs of color.
In July I spent four days at Glimmerglass Opera (read my review of the season here). Itâ€™s a hobbit-y part of country, a slightly tamer, more cultivated hollow of the Finger Lakes. The hills cradle you close, and the lake echoes the blue stillness of the skies. Iâ€™ve been going to Glimmerglass for several years, and this time I was thrilled to discover (in addition to a newly-opened coffee shop across the road from the Young Artistsâ€™ headquarters) a small nature preserve behind the Alice Busch Opera Theater. A trail leads to a raised boardwalk through the marsh where green dragonflies, blue herons, and flying squirrels dart through the trees. Enchanting.
There was another surprise. I stayed in a small motel on Lake Otsego. Across the street sat a large, grand white inn with a huge, wrap-around porch and a â€śFor Saleâ€ť sign sticking out of the weeds. Sumac trees jutted out of the garden beds. The roof was caving in. The paint, peeling. I couldnâ€™t resist, so I walked across the road, climbed up crumbling concrete stairs and past the yawning cellar door onto the porch. It was as quiet as an Egyptian tomb. I peered into one of the front windows, into a vast room filled with light. At first, I thought it was totally empty; no pictures on the wall, no furniture, no stuff. Then my eyes fell on a metal cage in the middle of the room and a very-much-alive black and white rabbit looking back at me, calmly munching pellets. I loved that rabbit.
Sometimes the best things happen when you peer past the facade. Part the curtain and look.