Archive for September, 2014

Appreciating Great Music

September 29, 2014


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How do you  get  people to  learn to appreciate and  enjoy really great symphonic, classical, and jazz music?

First of all, you have to expose them to it, preferably at a young age.

The Columbus State University Schwob School of Music is playing a major role in doing that in our area.  A prime example is the free concert for children held at  the National Infantry Museum Sunday afternoon.  The children and their parents and grandparents got to hear some extraordinary piano, cello, vocal and jazz combo performances by CSU faculty and student musicians, including some very young ones.  Schwob offers courses to young children as well as college students. The concert selections were all done in an entertaining way that young children could enjoy,  introduced by a female student in a “Pianosaurus” costume. Judging by the reaction of the children in the audience, it worked. They loved it.  

There will be many more free concerts for children of all ages by these extraordinarily talented Schwob students.  The school’s website tells you where and when.  Just click on this link.




September 22, 2014

Never heard of it? 

Well, bellicosis is a disease suffered by those who love war and like to see their country in one continuously. It is often fatal and has caused millions of deaths, quite often not to  those with the disease,  since many are quite happy to let other people fight those wars. 

So far, no vaccine has been successful in preventing bellicosis.




What Do Tchaikovsky and “The Roosevelts” Have In Common?

September 15, 2014

They provided me with an enjoyable weekend. 

CSO Conductor George Del Gobbo conducting his "Know the Score" pre-concert session.  He told us all about Tchaikovsky and his powerful and beautiful music  before the concert. Not only was it informative, but entertaining. The complimentary wine added to the enjoyment.

CSO Conductor George Del Gobbo conducting his “Know the Score” pre-concert session. He told us all about Tchaikovsky and his powerful and beautiful music before the concert. Not only was it informative, but entertaining. The complimentary wine added to the enjoyment.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s all-Tchaikovsky concert Saturday evening provided a wonderful demonstration of how the sound of a first-class orchestra can lift your spirits to dazzling heights. It was a marvelous experience in transporting sound.  And the champagne and dessert reception before the concert didn’t hurt.  It really helped that the dessert came in small portions. You got that great taste without sending your blood sugar through the roof.

Columbus Symphony in Bill Heard Theater at the River Center.

Columbus Symphony in Bill Heard Theater at the River Center.

Watching Episode 1 of Ken Burn’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” was also a special experience.  I have read a few books about Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt and thought I knew a lot about them.  Watching the Burn’s film provided not only some things I didn’t know, but did it in an arresting way with the use of historic movie film and still photographs to great effect.  I knew that Theodore liked war, but I didn’t realize how he took great pleasure in being a killer in Cuba during the Spanish-American War until I saw the Burn’s film.  It wasn’t something he had to do, but something that he wanted to do. That was one side of him.  Another side was his drive to improve the lives of the working class of America, even though he was a wealthy New York aristocrat.   I’m looking forward to the rest of the series on GPTV which runs all this week.




September 10, 2014

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As Maestro George Del Gobbo says, “There is nothing in the world like hearing a symphony orchestra live.” The first symphony  orchestra I heard live was the Pittsburg Symphony when it came to Columbus in the mid-1940s. I have been hooked on that wonderful  sound since. And, believe me, being live makes a huge difference.

The CSO  season, which starts Saturday, Sept. 13 at the River Center at 7:30, has something for everyone, including a concert that features the lush sounds of a symphony playing some country music  favorites. The opener Saturday is an all Tchaikovsky  concert. This is great powerful, passionate, romantic, beautiful symphonic music with  melodies that you’ll humming on your way back to your car. Do yourself a favor and join me Saturday and experience what Maestro Del Gobbo says is sound that “comes from the depths of the human soul.”

Oh, the T-shirt is something I won a few years ago when the orchestra held a pops concert that featured an audience quiz.  The orchestra played excerpts and the person who identified the most titles won some tickets and a T-shirt.  It was my lucky  day. I got all of them.  The concert had been scheduled for the band shell in Weracoba Park, but it was moved into the Jordan High auditorium because of rain. That old auditorium has excellent acoustics.

Now’s A Good Time to Visit the Little White House Again

September 9, 2014

My DVR is set to record every episode of Ken Burn’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.”  The seven-episode documentary about Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt starts Sunday, September 14th, and runs for seven consecutive nights on PBS.

After seeing an impressive preview film of the documentary at the River Center,  a friend and I decided now would be a good time to go to Warm Springs, have lunch at the Bulloch House (really good country cooking and historic ambiance),  and return to the Little White House  for a visit to the newest museum and  the presidential cottage and the historic  pools museum.

 When I was about 13, I swam in that famous pool that was fed by warm spring water and used by President Roosevelt and other polio patients at the  Georgia Warm Springs  Foundation.  It would be open to the public on some holidays.  My family took advantage of that one weekend during World War II.  A young Fort Benning soldier and his wife, who rented a room in our home, went with us.   

The new museum is impressive and does have some artifacts that the old one didn’t display.  The old museum is now used as an office building for the state park.  The very first museum was in the basement of the Little White House.  

We really enjoyed the visit.  I was quite familiar with the cottage because not only have I visited it a number of times, I did a documentary for WRBL on it and the old museum back in the 1980s.  I hadn’t seen it in years, so I had forgotten some of the details, but  as we toured it again, I got the same feeling of “seeing it now” – Edward R. Murrow did a series of historical documentaries for CBS called :See It Now” –  this time.

I actually saw FDR when I was a small boy.  It was only for a few seconds.   Our family car was one of many sitting on the side of Warm Springs Road so we could  watch the presidential sedan  go by as he returned to Warm Springs after a Columbus visit.  

When working for WSB Radio in Atlanta, I interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk vaccine which helped eradicate polio,  in 1958 for a feature for NBC Radio about the 20th anniversary celebration of  National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.  

There have been documentaries about Teddy, FDR, and Eleanor, but none that I know of that showed how their lives intertwined.  Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep,  Doris Kerns Goodwin, and David McCullough are among the well-known voice-over cast.  I am really looking forward to this one.           

Doing It Not Just To Be Nice, But Out Of Self-interest

September 1, 2014

It was very encouraging to see the members attending the Rotary Club of Columbus Wednesday luncheon give Jamie Vollmer a standing ovation after his talk about how vital it is for business leaders, as well as the rest of the community, to support public education.

Vollmer, a former lawyer and successful  businessman who led the franchise division of the Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company in Iowa,  now spends his time making talks and writing books supporting public education. He wrote the acclaimed Schools Cannot Do  It Alone.

It’s not a matter of being nice, he says. It’s a matter of doing what needs to be done for his and the country’s self-interst. For those who have no children in public schools and oppose paying taxes for them,  he said they should be thinking about the how important it is to have an educated work force, and how they have a responsibility to their communities.  He also pointed out that history is very clear about what happens when the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” gets too wide.  The “have-nots” come for the “haves.”

He’s among those who believe that quality education for all children is what will make for a better life  for all members of a community. I tend to agree.