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As I mentioned previously, on July 15, 2007, I was honored to spend the day with Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway at the Master Class in Napa. The way such a class works is this: The first portion of the class is a general lecture and group warm-up. Those desiring to be “participants” submit a professional-quality recording in advance and Sir James selects four players to whom he will give instruction while the audience members — “auditors” — watch and learn.

JHSEsq attended the Master Class in Napa with Sir James Galway

Based upon the various videotapes of other classes that I have watched, as well as interviews, information posted on his website and the e-mails that Sir James sends to our discussion group, I knew that the opportunity to attend the class represented a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn from a world-class flutist who has no equal.

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“It was a dark and stormy night” here in Northern California. The drive from Lodi to San Rafael in the late afternoon wasn’t bad, but the drive back home to Lodi was miserable because of the steady, hard downpour which made it extremely difficult to see and fairly treacherous since portions of the freeway were beginning to develop standing water since so much water was coming down quickly. In short, it was a miserable trip.

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Last year, Michael McDonald sat in with Paul Schaeffer and the CBS Orchestra during The Late Show. About Michael’s performance, Letterman remarked, “Man, if I could sing like that, everybody could just kiss my ass.”

I’ve seen Michael McDonald in concert twice and they were two of the most rockin’, good-time concerts I have ever experienced.

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Accompanying me on my upcoming trip to New York City to play at Carnegie Hall will be a very dear friend, my college roommate. We will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of our friendship this year and I had a milestone birthday a couple of months back, while she will mark that same milestone later this year. We decided that this would be a great opportunity to take a trip together and have some fun.

Some months ago, as we were cementing our plans, she asked me, “O.k., so what’s the deal with the flute, anyway?” I’ve gotten the same question from a good number of other folks.

To sum it up succinctly: Playing the flute is the achievement of a lifelong dream.

When it was time to start band in the fourth grade, I wanted to play the flute. Well, that’s not quite right. I longed to play the flute. Yearned. Dreamed. I begged my mother to let me take up the flute.

The answer? “No.”

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Those were the words I heard on the other end of the phone. The words that stunned me and left me speechless.

I know . . . hard to believe that I could be speechless. But I am still completely stymied when I think about it.

What I’d love to know is why.

Now that I have your attention . . . let’s talk about my love of music!

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