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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Classical Gas

MFTIOflier I'm deeply sorry to admit that I know NOTHING about classical music. Blogger pals like Deni and Michael would be justified in looking down their noses at me but they aren't those kind of people. But the ugly truth is that I don't know a concerto from a symphony. I don't know Chopin from Schubert. I listen to classical music gratefully from time to time. Grateful in that it's not some form of music I hate. But I've always recognized it as music played by the most skilled and dedicated musicians.

It's a matter of record that I was told in no uncertain terms by nuns that I was stupid musically and couldn't sing. It's a matter of record that a bunch of talented fourth and fifth graders got me back into music after a long long layoff. I've decided to forgive the nuns and blame the institution they worked for and believed in. I'll remain grateful to those kids forever.

Cathy surprised me and took me to a screening of "Music From The Inside Out" which was hosted by the Sarasota Film Society with guest appearances by members of thePhiladelphia Symphony Orchestra, who were featured in the film. They were also playing a gig, er... performance, later at our performing arts center.

We were treated to a three piece percussion performance before the movie that was actually a very intricate rhumba. Cathy sitting through what can be loosely called a drum trio is a miracle in itself but she loved it. I was enthralled. The movie was a documentary that took five years to shoot and edit. It is meant as an educational piece for students but goes much much farther than that. Through interviews, performances and the cleverest bit of film editing I've ever seen, they managed to hook me on classical as a form I need to get acquainted with. As director Daniel Anker says, "It's not about the craft of playing in a symphony orchestra. It's about music as it is experienced by all of us. There's no conductor when you sing in the shower."

The film left me speechless. Absolutely inarticulate. Unable to explain how and why I feel the way I do now. I can say I'm deeply humbled. I can say I'm deeply grateful for the little bit of music I can do. I can say that I'm eternally grateful to the youngsters who encouraged me to get back to music again. Grateful to my teacher Helen Avakian, classically trained and patient with me beyond what I thought was humanly possible. As well as her husband Terry Champlin who has been a friend and supporter forced to listen to me from time to time. Grateful to Cathy who endures my constant practice and interruptions to her social life because of my gigs and recording.

I can say I'll rededicate myself to sharpening my skills but remain ever humble in the shadow of people I saw in that film and have known. I can also say that you all should see this film. PBS will have it in May and it'll be released as a DVD in the fall, I'm told. I'll remind you.

posted by Bud @ 9:09 PM

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