Here’s another shot of the Temple of Dendur which is part of the exhibit of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City:
The Waldorf Astoria Clock was executed by the Goldsmith Company of London for exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. It was purchased by the Waldorf Astoria and was the focal point outside the Rose Room of the original hotel at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. This clock weighs approximately two tons and stands nine feet tall. Around the eight sides of the base are likenesses of Cleveland, Harrison, Washington, Grant, Lincoln, Franklin, Jackson and Queen Victoria. Under these are bronze plaques depicting various sports and scenes. Westchester chimes ring on the quarter hour.
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David Letterman used to do a regular bit on his old NBC show called “Brushes with Greatness” during which members of the audience would stand up and tell their story about seeing or meeting a famous person. Usually the stories were funny because the audience member didn’t actually meet or interact with the person at all . . . I remember one guy telling the story of seeing Richard Gere in the automat, for instance. Dave would heckle the story-teller and everyone had a great time.
I’m still watching Letterman regularly and no, I didn’t get to attend a taping in NYC, much to my disappointment. I really wanted to because I was lucky enough to attend tapings of both Merv Griffin’s show from the Hollywood Palace and The Tonight Show starring Johnny, Ed, Doc, and the band. So I really wanted to be able to say that I also saw Dave live. Alas, I was not able to get tickets in advance.
So on Monday evening, our second night in NYC, we had a banquet attended by all members of the band and the folks traveling with them. It was at Carmine’s on West 44th. So we just walked there en masse.
We were about half-way through dinner when one of the kids seated at our table said, “Oh, you didn’t see that guy out in Times Square passing out Letterman tickets? We walked right by him on the way here.”
I froze. I never saw the guy, never heard him trying to lure tourists into the theater for the 5:30 p.m. taping. Had I seen the guy, I would have said, “Dinner? Fuhgetaboutit. I can eat any time.” I would have been in that theater with Dave, Paul, etc. (Sigh) Oh, well . . . I’ll have to see Dave during my next trip.
The week went by in a flash. Our performance at Carnegie Hall was outstanding . . . I’ve never seen our director with as big a smile on his face as he had at the end of that performance. We really made him proud which was important to all of us. We made ourselves proud, too, which was almost as important, considering that for most of us it was, in all likelihood, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I got back home on Saturday night and spent Sunday trying to recoup. Then it was back to work on Monday, resumption of the routine.
You all know that I am obsessed with The Sopranos, right? The final nine episodes began airing on April 8 and the two episodes we’ve seen so far have been well worth the long wait.
In New York, I stayed at the Sheraton Towers at 53rd Street and 7th Avenue. Radio City Music Hall is at 1260 Avenue of the Americas. This map shows you how close the two buildings are (the green dot is the hotel).
So last Sunday, April 8, after we came home following a lovely Easter dinner at my sister’s house, I watched the first episode of The Sopranos, and then was reading a couple of articles on the ‘Net about it. I happened upon this photo.
On March 27, I was at the Sheraton Towers while the entire cast of The Sopranos — including Gandolfini — was assembling just three short blocks and one long block away? Oh, man . . . I was sick to my stomach. I could have been one of the throng outside Radio City Music Hall snapping photos of all of them as they walked the red carpet. I could have posted those photos here.
I could have had a major brush with greatness. Damn!
I wasn’t exactly having a bad time, mind you. I enjoyed a leisurely meal at Ruby Foo’s Times Square and then saw Mary Poppins which was fabulous! And I’ve met my share of famous people over the years, but we’re talking here about the cast of The Sopranos. It’s only the best show ever in the history of television.
At water aerobics a couple of days later, people were talking about The Sopranos. So I told my tale of woe about my near-miss with the greatness of Gandolfini, et. al. And one of my fellow students pipes up with this announcement: “Oh, I met all those people once at Harrah’s Tahoe. Yeah, my husband and I used to gamble a lot so we got a lot of perks. A couple of times they invited us to Sopranos weekends, so we met them all and had our pictures taken with them. I didn’t even know who any of them were since I’ve never watched the show.”
Hey, let me open that wound a little further so you can pour the salt straight into it, ok?
It gets worse. She came back to the next class . . . with the pictures! Here they are:
*(Hey, don’t laugh. It could happen. He could be sitting around Googling himself now that shooting on The Sopranos has wrapped and find his way here. Ya never know!)
The last rehearsal!
On Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 110 musicians crammed into one of the ballrooms at the Sheraton Manhattan for one last rehearsal — one hour only! — prior to performing at Carnegie Hall the following evening. For most of the people in this picture, music is a hobby — a lifelong avocation — that led them all the way to New York City from their California homes to experience the privilege and honor of performing there.
For most of the folks in this picture (including those who earn their daily bread making music or teaching others to do so), that performance was an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime event.
Note the poor kid has his hand over his mouth and is laughing with his friends in shock at the thought . . .
. . . because this is the sandwich Mr. Levine is referring to!
Here’s another example. I snapped this photo of another sandwich sitting atop the counter just before the waiter picked it up to deliver to the customer.
My friend, Barb the Band Groupie, with Mr. Levine.
2. The skyline looking back from Fort Clinton
3. Lady Liberty
4. Ellis Island
5. Morgan Stanley Building in Times Square
6. Times Square (Friday night at about midnight)
7. The rink at Rockefeller Center
8. The rink in Central Park
9. The Carousel in Central Park
10. The Dairy (Visitor Information Center) in Central Park
11. One of the lakes in Central Park
12. Our tour guide, Phil, a native New Yorker, and some of the members of our ensemble checking out . . .
13. . . . this weird Statue of Liberty guy who solicits tourists waiting in line to get on the boat to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Here are a couple of photos of the marquee in front of the hall:
This Week’s Theme: Water
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Yes, music lovers, that is an empty suitcase. And my mission this evening is to fill it with all the things I need to take to New York City. The washer and dryer are humming away (washing the kids’ clothes for next week, as well as some of my own) and I have piles of things stacked around the house ready to put in the suitcase after I check them off my packing list.Next: Time to practice my music since we have our send-off concert tomorrow and then leave on Sunday morning for New York City.
The house and stage in this photo are empty:
But they won’t be on Wednesday evening when my fellow musicians and I take that stage and play our hearts out!Here’s the program:
Fanfare – The world premiere of a specially commissioned piece by retired San Joaquin Delta College Music Department faculty member Max Simoncic
An American Elegy
Scootin’ on Hardrock
Introduction and Dance featuring a tuba solo by Doug Hunt, principal tuba with the Stockton Symphony
Concertino – Movement III featuring a vibraphone solo by Brian Kendrick
Four Scottish Dances
El Camino Real
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S.J. band headed to Carnegie Hall
Record Staff Writer
The Delta Winds is one of two showcase bands performing Wednesday at the hall as part of the New York Wind Band Festival. Local residents can hear the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall program during a send-off concert Saturday at San Joaquin Delta College’s Atherton Auditorium.
It will be the Delta Winds’ only local performance and include the premiere of “Fanfare” by Stockton composer Max Simoncic. The band was assembled expressly for the New York trip.
Playing Carnegie Hall “will be a life-changing experience, something you never forget,” said Bob Gross, 64, Delta Winds French horn player and Lodi Community Band conductor. “It’s the chance of a lifetime.”
It also can be intimidating.
“I’ve had a few sleepless nights,” said Delta College band director Art Holton III, 56, who organized and conducts the Delta Winds. “We’ve got to be really good.”
Holton said he was invited by festival organizers to bring a band to the event. He then discussed forming the Delta Winds with the Stockton Concert Band, which he also conducts, as well as the Lodi Community Band.
Members of the two groups include college students and local high school music teachers, who recruited some of their pupils. High school students were required to audition to join the band.
“Delta’s a community college,” Holton said. “Delta should be here to do community-wide activities, not just Delta activities. This is a golden opportunity. Why not open it up to lots of folks?”
Festival coordinator Dana Luikart said the Delta Winds can show festival audiences how teen and adult musicians can perform together. High school bands from Tennessee, Virginia, Florida and New York also will attend the festival, he said.
“The best part of (being a Delta Winds member) is performing with young people,” said clarinet player Ray Lippert, 72, of Acampo. “It takes me back to when I was young.”
It’s not the first time a Stockton-area group has performed at Carnegie Hall. Holton said he took the venue’s stage with the Stockton Chorale about two decades ago.
Delta Winds member Amelia Towle, 19, of Stockton played Carnegie Hall last year with the Central Valley Youth Symphony. A bass clarinet player, Towle came back with a souvenir T-shirt that reads “Ask me about my debut at Carnegie Hall.”
“It was really cool,” she said. “The sound is incredible.”
Contact reporter Ian Hill at (209) 943-8571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Lodi Community Band will travel to New York City for a rare opportunity to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall next week.
Dubbed the “Delta Winds,” the band is a 110-piece symphonic ensemble comprised of four groups from Lodi and Stockton. It was chosen to perform on the Ron Perelman Stage in the Isaac Stern Auditorium as one of 10 performances being held at the New York Wind Band Festival.
Led by San Joaquin Delta College’s band director Arthur Holton, Delta Winds includes members of the Lodi Community Band, Stockton Concert Band, Delta College Band, Brentwood Band and students from Lodi and Stockton high schools.
The 110 musicians will give a one-hour performance Wednesday night in New York City, and Holton said he plans to take advantage of every second. They will perform 10 pieces of music, starting with the world premier of “Fan Fair” that has been specially composed by local composer Max Simoncic.
Holton will lead the group in the main act, “Four Scottish Dances.”
“It’s one of my favorite pieces and you only get to play (Carnegie) once,” Holton said.
For Lodi lawyer and flutist Janie Hickok Siess, playing at Carnegie Hall is the equivalent to taking a case all the way to the Supreme Court.
“Carnegie Hall is the Holy Grail of music. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for most” she said. “It’s an honor just to step foot on stage.”
Like her fellow band members, Hickok Siess said she has plans for the rest of her week in New York. When they are not making stops at Ground Zero, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Hickok Siess will make it a girl’s trip and see Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” and “Mary Poppins” with her former college roommate.
The cost of the trip for most musicians is about $1,800, Holton said. Each band member did their own fund-raising and have succeeded without help from the college.
The group will leave Sunday and return the following Thursday.
This week, I am thankful for an opportunity that I have been given: On March 25, 2007, just over one month from today, the Delta Winds (a conglomeration of members of the Stockton Concert Band, Lodi Community Band, Brentwood Community Band, and some very talented local high school students) leaves for New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, March 28, 2007! (Check out the iPod in the right sidebar featuring clips from past Stockton Concert Band concerts, or watch the clips of our performances in Hawaii in June 2005 on You Tube.)
I can’t quite believe that this will be (approximately) my view of the world for the brief time that I will spend there rehearsing and performing:
In Friday’s Feast this past week, one of the questions was, “What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?” My answer began with: “I could literally write a book about all the miraculous things that have happened in my life. I keep saying “I couldn’t make this stuff up” because it seems to me that my whole life has been a series of miraculous twists and turns amounting to a journey that is never dull.”
This upcoming trip and performance is another one of those miracles. Although I have been a musician for virtually my whole life, I have only been a flutist for three years. And in that short period of time, to be given a chance to play in one of the best concert halls in the world with a really fine group of musicians is nothing short of a miracle.
Have you ever had a momentous event in your life for which you spent a great deal of time planning, dreaming, preparing and anticipating? This is such an event and when opportunities like this present themselves, it is not unusual for people to say things like, “It is too much. I can’t take it all in. I can’t process it yet. I think about it and it doesn’t seem real.”
So it is in this case. Even while I sit here looking at those photos of the auditorium and type the words “I will be sitting on that stage playing my flute,” it just doesn’t seem real. In fact, if I think about it for too long, I get a knot in my stomach that is only rivaled by the one I experienced as I sat in the courtroom of the California Supreme Court with one whole section of the courtroom seating cordoned off for the media, most of whom were staring at my legal opponents and I, waiting for the justices to enter and oral argument to begin. I certainly hope that I don’t get the case of “dry mouth” I had that morning. I remember thinking, “I’m not going to be able to speak. My tongue won’t work.” But, of course, I did and, in fact, once I began, I actually enjoyed myself.
So I know that once I put my flute’s mouthpiece up to my lips and begin playing, I am going to experience a musical pinnacle the likes of which most musicians who, like me, earn their daily bread doing something other than performing, only get to dream about.
So I most certainly have much to be thankful for this day.
And now, I must sign off, get out my flute and practice because I have a rehearsal with my duet partner at one, followed by another with my wonderful fellow Carnegie Hall-bound flutists at 3:00 p.m.
Soli deo gloria!*
Blog Your Blessings
Yeah, it was just too easy.
I am performing with The Delta Winds on March 28, 2007, at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
We had our first rehearsal last week and received our music. Yes, I am one of those playing first flute, as well as in the small wind ensemble that will accompany the soloists.
The selections we will be performing include:
* Four Scottish Dances, Malcolm Arnold, Op. 59 (Arr. Paynter)
* Scootin’ On Hardrock (Three Short Scat-Jazzy Dances), David R. Holsinger
* Fanfare, M. Simoncic (A brand new piece written specifically for this concert)
* An American Elegy, Frank Ticheli
* El Camino Real, Alfred Reed (1985)