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.

Fall in the Park

October 4, 2015

Maybe I should call it a fall in the park. Thankfully, a compassionate lady and her daughter helped me get up and walk me to my car after I fell while walking in Cooper Creek Park. I spent five days at St. Francis Hospital and will go to my cardiologist for more tests to determine what caused me to black out. I’m sure age had something to do with it. Thanks to folks at St. Francis, my doctors, and family and friends for their loving support. 

 

The Icredible Doc

September 11, 2015
Doc Severensin autographing CDs at River Center, Columbus, GA

Doc Severinsen autographing CDs at River Center, Columbus, GA

Doc Severinsen and his big band brought the house down in the Bill Heard Theater at the River Center last night. At age 88, he can still hit the really high notes on his trumpet, and energetically lead his band and emcee the concert from start to finish. The concert featured the great big band and jazz classic songs of the swing era. It was encouraging to see a lot of young folks there, some with their grand parents and some Schwob School of Music students.

I asked one of the CSU Jazz Band students what he thought of the concert. He thought it was great and said, “I’m going to have to practice more.” Doc had taught aMaster Class for Schwob students before the concert.

The line of fans wanting to buy autographed CDs was the longest I have ever seen.

It was truly an enjoyable evening, especially for audience members who, like me, enjoyed Severensin and his band on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show on NBC for thirty years.

Thanks to the Columbus Jazz Society for sponsoring the event.

 

“Mind the Gap”

August 8, 2015

No not the gap between a London tube platform and a train’s car that signs warn riders to “mind,” but the very wide income gap between America’s wealthy and it’s shrinking middle class. That’s going to be the key issue in the  upcoming  presidential  election.  I didn’t hear it mentioned in the Republican debate Thursday night on Fox News.

One of the reporters did ask how Republican candidates are going to respond to Hillary Clinton’s claim, that, in essence, all Republicans care about are the wealthy. The main answer was that Republicans will grow the economy which will provide more jobs. Will  it? The economy has bounced back since the 2008 Great Recession. The trouble is that the improvement was soaked up by those at the top. The average worker’s income remained virtually flat. Money that could have been used to raise the incomes of employees and provide jobs went to the top. CEOs are doing very well. Just ask Donald Trump.

Wedge issues like Planned Parenthood and immigration got a lot of attention during the debate, but they didn’t derail President Obama and they won’t derail the Democratic candidate this time around, either.  Again, the main issue will be the economy. Growing it is not enough. Making sure that a fair share of that growth goes to America’s working class is the issue.  The Democratic candidate can win the  election, but will that solve the problem? Well, a Democrat has been sitting in the White House for almost 8 years now and the problem is still very much with us. 


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