"A special and unique type of talent…"

When I was in 6th grade, we had a contest in band to see who could play all their major and minor scales the fastest.

I love a challenge, so I worked them up and went for it.

After creating a kind of scale “smear” – I won! (I think the prize was a pile of candy…oh, well)

I’m not sure what exactly is going on here with violinist Anna Karkowska – is she for real? Is this a kind of Borat comedy-thing, as one of my colleagues suggests or does she just have some wealthy patron hiring her the London Symphony Orchestra for a few days?

You tell me!

Rose Ensemble postcard #7

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It’s the last night party at Doolittle’s in Alexandria. Lots of stories shared amongst the Rose of driving in fierce winds, an Italian’s view of the Midwest, successful weight loss, and the reason for the concert – St. Francis of Assisi.

Rose Ensemble postcard #6

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Checking in from Brainerd. The Rose Ensemble singers are all tucked in for the night and Artistic Director Jordan Sramek – all on his lonesome – reflects on the fulfilling and full-housed last few performances.

Still more performances on their tour – check out the schedule.

Bah, humbug! This just in from Michael Barone…

For some, the idea of wall-to-wall-Christmas music – spewing forth from the day after Thanksgiving up to but not beyond December 25 – borders on the offensive, even the intolerable.

The First Noël is fine enough, but by the 100th iteration, is not the message somewhat blunted?

After all, not everyone is a Christian, and though plenty of opportunity exists to ramp up and get in the holiday spirit, even for those who are Believers, must this happen in such a way that the liturgical season of Advent – formerly a time of introspection and preparation – becomes obliterated amidst the commercial urgings to buy, buy, buy?

Even the twelve-days-of-Christmas, that take us from the Nativity to the visit of the Wise Men on January 6 – Epiphany, the real gift-giving in the Christmas pageant – virtually disappear from notice, since once we’ve hit the goal of December 25th, all is over (except the post-Christmas sales).

With typically cheeky insolence, a movement is afoot in Britain to provide for a true ‘silent night’, and a campaign Cage Against the Machine is underway to make John Cage’s legendary piano piece, 4’33” the number one Christmas hit in the UK.

It does give one pause…. :-)

Michael Barone