Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day 2009!

Happy Memorial Day 2009!

Many of us have personal connections to Memorial Day either through the loss of a family member, friend, or love for country. My father served in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He was injuried but thankfully he survived and met my mother. 

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It is a day of remembrance for those military and civilians who have died in our nation's service.

Recently, at the May concerts of Lee County Orchestra's season finale, they featured a work called Armed Forces Salute. This medley contained melodies of each of the five branches of the armed forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. During the piece, the conductor asked audience members to stand and be recognized when they heard their branches melody. It was really moving to see some of these older gentlemen stand tall and proudly as the orchestra played their song. What a treat and sense of pride it gave ME to see them stand. I have never served in the armed forces, but it reminded me that Memorial Day was really about remembering how far we have come and what we have today because of those who have perished. 

This year, take a moment and pause to think about what Memorial Day means to you. I have recently discovered what it means to me.

Below is an informative link. Click it and give a short read. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

F-Art-ing around with Aleatoric Antics

On Friday, May 1, 2009 (I know - this posting is a bit late), a dear friend performed in a group he affectionately calls, "F-Art". This is a group from his college days dating back to the 70s I believe. It was a group of music major misfits (my words) that were experimenting with new music and music creation. Remember, this was a time of polytonality, aleatory, and good old fashion fun. 

The recital started with my friend Gil playing Schubert and pretending to be rather reserved. Well, one look at the accompanying photo and you'll see that Gil can be anything but reserved. I mean, geez, look at his Santa Claus hair and beard! This guy is a walking music library. Although he is not a musicologist, he has more information in his head than any musicologist I've met in any of the three universities I've attended. At any rate, after he presented some of Mr. Schubert's works, Gil progressively regressed to the F-Art-dom and began his aleatoric diatribe. Although seemingly random passages performed sometimes pantomimically on the piano, Gil would sneak in a musical quotes from old Hannah-Barbera cartoons and common folk songs. And, just when things seemed plaintively benign, he would slam his arms down on the keyboards with full fortississimo force! 

I must say this was a rousing recital of the revived "F-Art" ensemble. 
Kudos to experimentation and a jolly good time of music making. 

ps- the recital was held at a women's clothing shop downtown Greensboro, NC. Wasn't that the cherry on top of the whip cream. Randomness at it's best!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Hello All!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

The holiday commemorates a battle between Mexico and the French on 5 May 1862. The outnumbered and outgunned Mexican army was victorious over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. This event has gotten so large that it has exceeded the borders of Mexico and is now celebrated across much of the Southwestern United States.

How many people can name the date that the Alamo fell? I'm just curious. To the right is a picture depicting the famous battle.

Nonetheless, happy celebrations to all!

Monday, May 4, 2009

N1H1 - Prevention and Good Health Habits from the CDC.

Okay, so this is not exactly a musical note or comment, but it is an educational one. With this N1H1 flu floating around, it is good to heed the advice from health care professionals.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends basic preventative measures to avoid spreading the flu.

1. Avoid close contact.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
3. Cover your mouth and nose.
4. Clean your hands.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.

The big one in my opinion is number 3. It's important to cover your coughs and sneezes. It is commonly recognized to cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands. Many sources say this helps prevent germs spreading. Whether you do this or not, it's always good to use a hand sanitizer, like Purell.

Now, I'm not some Howard Hughian paranoid germ freak. I just think it is important to be familiar with commonly accepted practices of good health.

Cinco de Mayo is a fun holiday where many people come together in celebratory fashion. And, there is plenty of good live music to enjoy, especially in Austin, Texas!

Happy Cinco de Mayo and everyone stay healthy!