The Move South

April 2, 2016

TEXAS AND FLORIDA NOW HAVE LARGER POPULATIONS THAN NEW YORK.

No doubt it’s mostly a generational thing that I only sample American Idol. A lot of the singing is way too much over the emotional top for my tastes, and much of it sounds like tortured yelling to me. However, I do sample the program, and I did watch it more when it would feature a night of standards from the Great American Songbook. That’s was when I could really tell whether which of the  kids could actually sing, and some definitely could, in my view.

The thing I noticed most when I sampled it this week is that all four of the finalist are from the South. (As you probably know, the winners are finally determined by viewer voting.) That could mean that it really doesn’t matter from which section of the country a contestant comes, and there is reason to believe that is now the case. However, it is interesting to note that the South is now the most populous section of the United States. A Google search reveals there are now more than 114-million people living in the American South.  California is the most populous state; however, Texas and Florida now come in second and third, both ahead of New York. My own state of Georgia is now 8th in population.

A check of internal  migration in the United  States shows that up until 1861, when the Civil War started,  the move was from the east coast to the west. From 1861 to 1929, when the Great depression started,  from rural areas to cities in the North and South. From 1929 to 2009 generally from the Northeast to the South and West.

No doubt there are a number of reasons for the population shifts; however, weather certainly has to be at or near the top. Northerners fleeing the cold simply could not take the long hot summers of the South. That changed with  the advent of air conditioning. So, probably the number one reason for the shift to the South is the advent of air conditioning.

 

Stage Floors Matter, Too

February 20, 2016

Maybe not a lot last night because there very few people sitting in the mezzanine of the Bill Heard Theater. But, for those few of us who were there, we got a very good view of a pretty messy stage floor apron.  The turn-out for the Rising Stars of the Metropolitan Opera concert was not impressive.  The three sopranos, a baritone, and a pianist/emcee were quite impressive. Too bad  so few people were there to hear  them. I guess not many Columbus folks are into opera concerts. They do seem to show up more when a popular opera with a pit orchestra and sets play the  Heard. There were good crowds for Madam Butterfly and Carmen when road companies brought them to town. I know, because I was there.

Kettledrums Triumph

February 12, 2016

The probably first-ever timpani concerto in the history of Columbus, Georgia brought  the almost full-house audience to its feet for a loud and long ovation at Legacy Hall in the River Center Thursday. That’s because Corey Fair, the student musician who played William Kraft’s Concerto No. 1 for Timpani, put on quite a show. Fair is, as the program says, “from the studio of Paul Vaillancourt.”

Anyone who could play it would have to put on a show, because he or she had to move around and continuously tune five of the huge drums used in Kraft’s concerto. Not only was it something to see, it was also, to me, something very enjoyable to hear. Being a former high school and Army band percussionist, I was naturally thrilled to hear a concerto that featured not only the timpani, but the entire percussion section.  It turned out that the entire audience was as thrilled as I was, judging by the standing ovation.

Talk About a Bargain

February 1, 2016

CSU provides a great gift to music lovers in our area, concerts by extraordinarily talented student musicians and their instructors.  Julie Bray and I were among those who attended Sunday’s impressive concert by the CSU Philharmonic and Joseph Golden on Legacy Hall’s million-dollar organ.  Admission price: zero. 

We agreed that the orchestra’s opening selection, Emmanuel Chabrier’s rthymic and colorful Espana, ,was delightful.   The second selection, Camille Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3 “Organ” in C Minor, Op. was powerful and gave the orchestra and Joseph Golden the opportunity to display their extraordinary musical talents.  We were impressed by the second one.  However, we agreed the first one was more enjoyable. It created a festive and happy mood. The second one was very dramatic. Very.

There are many more free concerts by CSU students and faculty that you can attend. If you love great live music performances, the price is certainly right.  We plan to take advantage of that. Maybe you will, too.     

 

PAGE TURNERS BOOK CLUB FEATURES “THE NEWSMAN” SATURDAY AT 1 P.M. AT MILDRED TERRY LIBRARY

January 6, 2016

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JOIN ME SATURDAY, JANUARY 9TH,  AT 1 P.M. FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT MY MEMOIR “THE NEWSMAN” AT MILDRED TERRY LIBRARY.

The book is this month’s selection by the Page Turners Book Club. If you want to read the book first, it is now an e-book and can be purchased very reasonably on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. Local public libraries also have a copy of the book. I will take questions about writing it during the Page Turner’s session.

 

Why This Man is a VIP

December 12, 2015
JVHS Band Director Brian Walker

JVHS Band Director Brian Walker

He is a Very Important Person because he is one of many VIPs who are charged with the responsibility for teaching and inspiring our children to lead productive and fulfilling lives. The reason I selected him to make this point is because he brings to mind a very special music educator who positively affected mine and many other lives, the late Jordan Band Director Bob Barr, who grew a 17-piece pretty bad band – I was a member – into large bands that achieved national recognition. .

Walker, who recently graduated from the University of Georgia, in a sense, is starting his career as a music educator like Barr did. He’s in a little better shape. He’s starting out with a 30-piece band that plays well. The Jordan music program is in a rebuilding stage. Not too long ago, it had a drum line, but no band. That’s changed. And when Walker led the Symphonic Orchestra and Symphonic Band during the renovated auditorium dedication ceremony – it’s now the Robert M. Barr Auditorium – they sounded quite good to me.  They also knew they were appreciated, because the large audience of Jordan alumni and students gave them thunderous ovations.  Those ovations  continued when the Bob Barr Community Band played. The auditorium stage really filled up when the Jordan band joined them for the last two selections. It was a great finale with the school’s chorus, under the direction of Kirk Weller, joining the combined bands in a Christmas song medley. That one got a prolonged standing ovation.

Things are looking up again for Jordan musically.  I’m sure a lot of Jordan grads are glad.  I know I am.

 

 

 

The Three Arts League’s Run at Jordan

November 25, 2015

With the newly renovated JVHS auditorium about to be dedicated and named the Bob Barr Auditorium on Dec. 10th at 7 p.m. as a part of the Bob Barr Community Band concert, I decided to reblog the article about the historical value of the auditorium.

Dick's World

When I mentioned the Three Arts League in the post about renovating the Jordan High auditorium, it triggered thoughts about the League and what it meant to Columbus.  It was founded in 1927 and ended in 1975, according to Joe Mahan’s history Columbus: Georgia’s Fall Line “Trading Town.   

 

The League did indeed bring some really big names to the Jordan stage for a number of years.  The best source I could find about that was  Mrs. Francis Virgina Norman,  better known as Virginia Norman, daughter of the late Mrs. A. Illges, better known as Virginia Illges.  She was president of the League from 1949 to 1967, according to Dr. Mahan.  He wrote, “For many years the scheduling, local arrangements, and general excellence of these performances were managed by Mrs. A. Illeges.”  

I asked Mrs. Norman if she could remember when the League first started using Jordan’s auditorium, and the names of some…

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The Interview I Didn’t Get with Bert Reynolds

November 18, 2015

As I watched Bert Reynolds being interviewed about his  memoir But Enough About Me by Steve Colbert on  The Late Show, I had to reflect on the interview that I didn’t get with him.  A WIS-TV news photographer and I had driven from Columbia, South Carolina, home  of WIS-TV, to Tallulah Gorge on the Chattooga River in North Georgia and Western South Carolina to do a TV news feature on the movie “Deliverance.”

James Dickey, author of the novel  and co-author of the screenplay for the movie, and I had become friends following a 30-minute TV interview I did with him in Columbia. He was Poet in Residence at the University of South Carolina. I told him I wanted to do a piece on the movie, and he said he’d set it up for me and I could interview the stars, etc.

When we arrived we were met by the director James Boorman. He told me it wouldn’t be possible to interview Reynolds because he was down on the river filming some action scenes and that the terrain was too rugged and it would take too much time for us to get to where they were shooting.   I had no intention of leaving empty-handed after that long drive from Columbia, so I asked him for an interview. He said something like, “Oh, you don’t want to interview me.  The public doesn’t know me. How about Jon Voight? He’s here.” Of course I would want to interview Jon Voight. He was as big a star as Reynolds as far as I was concerned.

Voight wasn’t so sure that he wanted to do an interview with me. I told him, “Well, all right. But, we drove all the way from Columbia to do this. James Dickey told me that I could get interviews if I came. I guess we can just go back without anything.”

“Oh, all right, Dick. Don’t get down on your knees,” he said with a smile.  After the interview, which went very well, he told me why he was reluctant at first to do it. He said he knew that Bert Reynolds was great at ad libbing on TV talk shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and he wasn’t sure he could compare well with him. I told him the interview was quite good and that I was glad to meet him because I had just seen him in Midnight Cowboy and thought his performance was outstanding.  He had a Texas accent in the movie. I told him  he did that  accent very well and asked where he grew up.  He thanked me and said he grew up in New York.

As far as the director was concerned,  if I had known then what I know now about the fist fight he had gotten into with Dickey over the screenplay, I would have pushed harder for an interview. Wikipedia says they made up and became good friends. It also says Boorman was co-author of the screenplay but wasn’t credited.

 

 

Symphonic Music for Everyone

November 12, 2015

It’s good to see that the Columbus Symphony Orchestra is playing symphonic music that everyone can enjoy. I like a lot of the classics, but a good way to get the general public to become symphonic music fans is to play new, popular movie scores like the ones featured Friday evening in the Bill Heard Theater at River Center. Maybe it would be a good idea to do more pops concerts during a season. This one starts at 7:30. Hope to see you there.

Cameron Bean, Executive Director of the orchestra, says now is a great time to pay a tribute to John Williams because more of his musical masterpieces are premiering this year, “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”  “We thought it would be fitting to celebrate his works with a pops concert for the whole family to enjoy.”

Also, there will be a costume party before the concert.  Sounds like a winner to me.

 

Samford University Choir at Columbus UU

October 17, 2015
Samford University Chior

Samford University Choir

The internationally acclaimed Samford University Choir – it took top honors in a competition in Tours, France in 2012 – will sing at the Dedication Service Sunday, October 18th,  at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus, which is located at the end of Heiferhorn Way off Whitesville Road.  Samford University is located in Birmingham, Alabama. The Dedication of Grace Hall, the Fellowship’s new home, will honor Grace Jordan for whom the Hall is named. She is a wonderful woman and a dear friend of many years. It all starts at 10:45. Refreshments will be served after the service. You are invited.


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