Monday, November 24, 2014

Come and Play 2014

Our conductor Keitro Harada

Grandson and I in the 700 member orchestra

view from the bleachers

view from rear 
Every year about this time the Richmond Symphony sponsors a huge symphonic enterprise called "Come and Play".  This was the 8th year.  With over 700 musicians it needs lots of space and the basketball stadium on the VCU campus works well. For Devin and I this is our 3rd year and I was glad that there were a few others from his middle school playing in the orchestra. Our conductor was the new assistant conductor of the Richmond Symphony, Keitro Harada. He worked rapidly and efficiently in the two hour rehearsal. Was it a finished product, no! But was it a success to let musicians at all levels a peek into the world of symphony orchestra rehearsing and performance? A resounding yes! The fact that it continues to grow year by year attests to its effectiveness.

I was just two years older than my grandson when I first became a member of the Roanoke Symphony and it opened a door that I have been ever grateful for. It occurred when I was on the cusp of dropping out of serious musical study. It drew me back in and provided the incentive that would
provide the connections and skills that were the underpinnings of a career in music.

The ability to perform on an instrument at near professional level provides unique life experiences not available to most people. Properly used it affords deep friendships and contacts with other highly motivated and artistic musical talents. I wouldn't change one iota of the life I've been privileged to live as a teaching/working string musician. There is always the temptation to play a little god with our children, grandchildren and students. Though I pushed hard and provided the best I knew each has to find their own way.

The music we performed was a good mix of  traditional and new music. The book ends of the program were Greig's, "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and Anderson's " Sleigh Ride". It was a most satisfying concert.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Skyline Drive Trip

View from overlook

Loft Mountain wayside where some trees were turning.

Massanutten Mt. from an overlook

These are some of the better pics of our recent
trip on the Skyline Drive this past Saturday. The only red tree we could click was at an overlook.

Think maybe in another week they will be really pretty. If it is feasible for us to try again we will. Most likely it will be rainy on that Saturday.

There are some beautiful views going the other way toward Roanoke. Might just have to try

Anyhow...what a privilege to be able to drive miles and miles along a mountain parkway where  there is no traffic rushing by at 80 mph! To be able to leisurely pull over and whiff mountain air, see a bear or deer, and just soak it all in.

Lotsa color

Lib shopping at Harry Byrd wayside..

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friends of Woodstock 2014: A perspective from one

Chapel building
WOSA 2014 was an interesting experience all round. Friday we drove to Baltimore and the Notre Dame University campus which was to be our location for the next 5 days. Our impression was that we would be residing in Meletia Hall, but we were strung out over another building that also was our dining hall. Our room was on the second floor, small with two little beds and a ceiling fan. No air conditioning and it was quite warm at night to say the least! Also, bathroom facilities were down the hall for Lib and down the next hall for me. Suffice it to say we did a lot of walking when the need required it.

Friday afternoon after getting our keys and room assignments we went down to the first floor gathering room and relearned not only our classmates but a few from other classes too. Our evening meal was a well prepared crab cake or vegetable sit down dinner and gave us time for further visiting.

A number of activities occur at a WOSA. We learned that the school was on a better financial footing. That a new principal had a powerful vision for the future that he seemed capable of implementing. And that faulty, staff, and board members  shared his enthusiasm and vision. Because he stopped at our table one afternoon and talked about Woodstock and answered specific concerns made me even more confident of his leadership ability.

Woodstock is an old school  in the foothills of the Himalayas.. It has reinvented itself numerous times and appears to be doing so again. Alumni gifts have provided for several new buildings and remodeled some of the older ones. It is an international school and has prepared well to serve the educational needs of the 21st century. The new name for WOSA is Friends of Woodstock School.
Young at heart trying Bollywood moves

On the evening of the khanna we were treated to a program of Indian dance, classical and Bollywood style. The picture on the left was Woodstock alumni of the younger generations trying out Bollywood style moves. At the bottom is a picture of a young 9th grade Indian girl performing a more classical dance.

After our whole school meeting was over our class of 54-55 reunion continued on for two more days.Our big activity on Monday was an Indian supper at the Indigma restaurant, downtown. Tasty food mixed with good conversation amid perfect ambiance.

On Tuesday we were treated to an Inner Harbor boat cruise with lunch. This allowed for more intimate conversation with just 4-6 at a table. After lunch we went on the open air upstairs deck to enjoy the passing scenery of landmarks and boats about their business or tied up.

We completed the reunion by assembling together to view pics from Woodstock and past reunions. It was one of the best reunions I had planned not to attend.  I  try to attend  these unique gatherings when they are in mountain venues. Because our Delaware family is nearby, we were able to visit them also.

class of 54-55 at Indian restaurant

walking down the avenue

waterfront of Inner Harbor, Baltimore

9th grade Indian student  performing Indian dance

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Catching Up

Opening present....
I recently celebrated my 77th year and noticed that I had not added an entry since January. This is an attempt to bring you up to speed should you be inclined. We've had a quiet good life since January. During the winter months I continued my playing in the Richmond Philharmonic and with our quartet. Our cellist suffered a massive stroke and has been sidelined indefinitely. An acquaintence looking for a quartet was able to connect with us and complete the group. 

This Easter I was invited to play in the orchestra assembled at Bon Air Baptist for their celebration. We did three services and it was a gratifying experience. 

We also had a good time at Sounds of the Mountain at Camp Bethel. This is a folk festival sponsored by Camp Bethel, near Fincastle, Virginia. You can find more about this in a previous blog. Another trip to the Roanoke area around this time was to celebrate our former pastor's retirement. We were graciously housed by long time friends, Dan Brogan, and his wife Ellie. We saw our last snow flurry  for the winter Sunday morning at their home.

Window box full of  Petunias.
Our Spring was wet and cool so there was a lot of lawn work to do. I decided to buy a small spreader and do my own fertilizing. If I am physically able to do a task, then I should. Saves money and also is a form of exercise. Our lawn looks as good as when it was maintained by a commercial business. 

On Father's Day our symphony played their annual free concert on the lake about 10 minutes from our house. The weather was perfect and the crowd enjoyed our presentation of patriotic and  pop pieces. 

We look forward to visiting our eldest daughter's family this summer. We get to see them about 3-4 times a year. They  have two in college  and  one about the same age as our  grandson here. Our Woodstock Reunion occurs around the same time in Baltimore Hope to write a bit about both after we return. 

Evening lake scene where we visited with neighbors
Easter Service at Bon Air Baptist. in Richmond.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


This will be a short blog. For several years I have been a member of the growing country known as FaceBook. I have lived in India, been an orchestra musician, taught strings for most of my life, and been interested in AOL and Google when they first appeared.

At first FB was mostly about family. It was a great way to instantly keep up with what was happening. It was even faster than email, because with email  I had to wait until my brother, sister, or cousin received it and then decided to answer. Email was more like writing real letters...and if the recipient wasn't into writing sometimes I didn't hear back. But there was a small group that I corresponded with and that was a circle of Woodstock School class mates. Then FB arrived and it wasn't necessary to write a long letter, just react in a a sentence or two to something that friend or family had posted.

Shortly my circle of responding folks grew larger. Former students jumped in. There were folks who lived in the same house I had lived in eons ago and were interested in photography. We made contact. Now I know it is impossible to maintain contact with 1000 friends as some of my students show on their sites. But 200 or so I can keep up  a tenuous relationship with.

Whether one has an iPhone, a pad, or a computer it is possible to maintain a satisfying connection with those who help make our lives meaningful. People that would have been lost to me forever have now dropped back into my life. Some cousins I hardly knew in  my  childhood days are now almost daily making chit chat and we're learning to admire each other.

Former students from either the near past or distant past share with me their joys and sorrows and I have come to know rather well some of  their  friends. These are all  young adults so it helps me understand how the world looks to people at that stage in their lives.

It takes some thought and some time to write a blog, an email, or to respond appropriately to a thought expressed on FB. When I began this blog as an experiment several years ago, one of my ground rules was that I would resist being vituperative. Yes, there are folks who I don't see eye to eye with...some times I see where over the years even I have changed positions, that's what growth and being human is about. But the thought remains that it is probably wiser and better to be supportive and helpful when possible rather than assuming that one is a small god and surely knows what is best in the many puzzling  situations people find themselves in.

FaceBook is like going into a large room where there are many people I know all chatting or putting up pictures of happenings near them. I can select any that I can relate to and put in my 2 cents worth, just as I would in real life in such a circumstance. There is much to be learned from each other as we journey together down this road we call life and I can't think of a better way to be so enriched. Thank all of you who have
made my life better by sharing!!