Thursday, September 25, 2014


the Jim Setapen tenure seems forever ago. with his departure Kimbo Ishii-Eto was named  conductor for our ASO.  his era was one of insight and ingenuity in which we witnessed an escalation of the quality of programming and general excitement about the symphony as a whole. not that i would have liked for him to have had as many years at the baton as Jim but i would not have been disappointed had he extended his stay beyond the five years of his contract.  maybe five years of little a-town was all he could take. maybe kimbo made a mistake in leaving when he did but the fact is he is gone.

we are now into the second season with our new maestro, Jacomo Rafael Bairos.  from where I sit he has the baton well in hand.  in my mind there was no drop-off in any aspect upon his ascension to the rostrum. he continues to amaze. my enjoyment of the concerts continues to rise. i appreciate that his programming has a high degree of cohesion, that he is exposing me to American composers and other composers who have not been moldering in the grave for centuries.  not that there is anything wrong with Bach, Beethoven et al, there certainly is not, but i truly appreciate the variety of his programming.

i do not pretend to know one damn thing about classical music. i don't. what i do know is that i am keenly anticipating whatever Maestro Bairos and our ASO have for us in the coming season(s).  His energy and enthusiasm are infectious. come on people, jump on the Jacomo/ASO bandwagon, we're in for the ride of a lifetime.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014


i have two programs that i use to track visitors to kidsdonegone. bravenet shows me how many hits each day and from where they originated. it reflects the ip address of the person wandering on to the site. it's usually the same 8 or 10 family and friends but occasionally someone stumbles on to the blog using the "next blog" feature on any BlogSpot page.  bravenet also features a world map which shows where any hit is physically located.

I've been posting regularly over these last few days. last night I was checking hits when i noticed on the map feature a visitor from across the pond. referring back to the ip address list i saw one that was unusual.

curious to see where in the world the hit had originated from i entered the ip address into the tracker.  imagine my surprise when the tracker indicated the hit was from Moscow City, Moscow in the Russian Federation.  kinda neat, i've  not had many hits from outside the country.

the tracker puts a bullet point indicating the location of the hit. I about crapped my pants! are you ready for this? beneath the bp read-- "the Moscow Kremlin"! the Kremlin! as in the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation. as in where THAT guy-- what's his name?-- lives. oh yeah, that's right-- Vladimir Putin!

i don't for one second believed that Vladimir Putin viewed my blog, but wouldn't it be neat if he did!)  from all indications someone from the Kremlin stumbled across it. probably it was some mousey little secretary who was surfing the web instead of tending to business; probably didn't even read English.

then again, who knows? maybe the big red horde is tracking drivel originating in little a-town. are the Russians watching kidsdonegone? you don't suppose, do you? nah! surely not, do you think? nah!

it is intriguing to consider that someone halfway around the world laid eyes on my blog, if only for a second. now, if i could just find a few more and different followers a bit closer to home.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chris Rogerson...

to be a composer in residence at the tender young age of 25 is  amazing!  The piece he has composed in honor of ASO's 90th season is beautiful. 

if you think about it, the greatest composers of all time were all 25 at some point.  90% of an iceberg is lurking out of sight  just below the surface.  i believe that chris has only just begun to fulfill his potential, that like an iceberg we are yet see all there is to be seen, and heard, from him.

based on what? by report he has been composing since he was a youngster. and "the way through" was pretty damned good!  what wondrous pieces will he have gifted to the world in his lifetime?

it excites me that I might have been in the presence of, potentially, one of this centuries great composers.  will symphonies 200-300 years from now be playing bach, beethoven, rachmaninoff et al?  probably.  but, in my script at least, symphonies will also be playing concertos from the brilliant mind of chris rogerson as well.

i hope to live long enough to see chris realize his promise.  i can't wait to hear the next piece(s) he'll be writing for ASO.  an old fart like me has to take what he can get.


Monday, September 22, 2014

the phil and gus show... with guest star, chris rogerson

a guy just never knows where life is gonna' take him.  last monday eve I got a text from the dr. n. v telling me they were hosting two violinists for the ASO in from out of town for the week.  he related that one of the two is a runner and asked if i'd be interested in running with him. so, i'm thinking, if they can put two total strangers up in their home for a week it wouldn't hurt my sorry ass to run with the guy for an hour or so.  I answered his text asking if the guy would like to run at noon on tuesday from the flc at fbc, my usual time and place.

then my phone rang.  it was dr. v saying "hey why don't you just talk to phil".  so just like that, phil, who btw is a very young man-- at least when compared to my rapidly aging hulk, had agreed to run with me, a total stranger, the next day.  dr. v is the hardest guy to say no to as phil quickly became aware.

and thus began one of the best weeks i've had in some time. phil, being young, male, accomplished and ever so confident introduced a breath of fresh air into the ennui that has become my life since retirement.

i took him to medi-park lake.  he very graciously ran my pace, stopped to walk when my eeky-leaky heart demanded a rest and listened politely as I prated on.  never having made acquaintance of a professional violinist, i had a gazillion questions which he patiently answered without once giving the impression that i am an idiot for asking. we laughed.  the miles passed quickly and we agreed to meet again on Wednesday and again on Thursday for more of the same.  we agreed to give his bleeding ears a break from me on Friday, but we made a date to run on saturday.

at this point i still had not met gus.  that was to change when we went to dinner with the drs. v and gus before the symphony performance friday night.  he too, like phil, patiently ignored my platitudes and answered my inane questions with grace. OU is lucky two have both these young but rising stars in their program.

i met chris rogerson, aso's composer in residence, at the after party on friday night. it was a short exchange but he impressed me too-- with his willingness to look a stranger in the eye, his firm handshake, with his humility as he accepted the many honorifics for his work and without appearing   falsely modest.

the symphony has never sounded better to me.  i'll tell you why.  I've never known any of the ASO musicians, not even on a hi and a hand shake kind of level.  oh, i met maestro bairos last season when the drs. v hosted a recital from a guest violinist but having a more personal connection in the form of these out-of-towners served to increase my interest and appreciation of the concert.  this new investment served to amp up my enjoyment to the third power.  that connection is key, i think.

as it happened, on saturday dr. v took phil, gus, chris and me to the palo duro canyon state park.  it was a pleasure to show off the canyon to the three first timers.  the rains this summer has the canyon looking its best. the time spent getting to and from the canyon, the time hiking over hill and dale and sitting around at the bagel place for lunch afterwards gave us all a chance to get even better acquainted.

it was a pleasure getting to know these young men, if just a little .  i'll be able to say i knew them when.  where life will take them remains to be seen but i can't wait until it brings us together again.

until then.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

ASO--90 years young...

The 90th season for our ASO is off and running- and what a way to start!  The program on Friday night roared into life with the fantastic new piece, "The Way Through" by Chris Rogerson, which was commissioned din honor of this 90th season. The program built from there with Brahms' Variation on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, Op 56a and climaxed with the taming of the beast that is Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 30 played so ably by our guest artist,
Garrick Ohlsson.

Maestro Bairos made note as to how having Ohlsson with the orchestra during the week lifted the orchestral players efforts to another level.  Even to my un-sophisticate, tinnitus plagued ears it was obvious to those of us in attendance on Friday night were privileged to share a very special even of music.

Ohlsson is a wonder.  I listened in awe as he wrought a tsunami of wondrous proportions from the grand piano.  Likely, said instrument was ready to wave the white flag, to concede that never had so much been asked of it, yet grateful to have done its small part in blessing those in the hall with Ohlsson's rendering of Rachmaninoff's offering. 

To my mind the orchestra stood toe to toe with this pianist of world renown.  Bravo all!

To our ASO musicians and to Maestro Bairos, thank you for rising to the occasion.  The bar is at a new high.  Enjoy this taste of success; let it build toward a glorious season.  My ears can't wait to hear what else is in store for us as we make our way through.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

"The Way Through"

It was an honor to be among the first to hear and enjoy a new piece especially commissioned for the Amarillo Symphony's 90th season.  "The Way Through", the first work for ASO by resident composer Chris Rogerson is remarkable in so many ways.  By report he had not visited the area before coming to Amarillo for the season's first concert.  Let's not talk about his being barely old enough to shave. Those things are not what matter. What matters is this piece of glory written just for little old ASO 90th birthday.  What a gift!

For me, "The Way Through" describes in music a typical panhandle summer day.  The opening limns the sun shyly inching above the eastern crust. The early rays of a new day reach toward the heavens, stretching lazily to shed the torpor of the night just gone.

As the piece progresses the tempo quickens.  The day begins in earnest- there is work to be done. The middle measures speak to the bustle, the press to get the corn, cotton or wheat planted, watered and weeded, the need to get the cows milked and turned out to pasture, the rush to get to the other end of I-40 with the latest load.

The closing notes begin to slow revealing the winding down of a day's labors; it paints the sun sliding beyond the horizon in the west, the welcoming of yet another night.  At last it's quittin' time, time to rest, to recharge and to prepare for the symphony of a new day just a sunrise away, another day, just passin' through. 


Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014

Labor Day, 2014

...but, i like the take from a couple of strips in the funny papers today referring to today as Lazy Day.

those pundits aren't far from right.  there's not a lot of labor going on today, or any day in modern times.  take mowing the lawn for instance.  i recall mowing my aunt Celeste's lawn back in the 60's with a push mower.  now that same task can be accomplished with a mower equipped with front, or rear, wheel drive and enough power to make the guider feel as thought the machine in front is about to levitate him off the ground to flap in the wind like a neckerchief held out a car window at highway speeds.

such is the bane, or blessing, of progress and a testament to just how lazy modern man has become.  or perhaps it is a testament to man's ingenuity. fingering out how to accomplish a task with greater ease, in less time while investing less sweat equity in the process.

i grew up the son of a dry land cotton farmer.  long gone, the days of breaking ground with a one row plow pulled by a two yoke team.  i was fortunate to have a poppin' johnny four row.  that didn't stop me from casting a covetous eye across the turn row at my neighbor on his six row farmall.

it's the nature of man to seek a better way, a way that requires less time, less effort to accomplish the task at hand and for that we all should be thankful.

Happy Lazy Day, ya'll!!