Oct 15, 2009

World-Famous Goat Celebrity!

I work with a lady named Melissia Meeks. Her four-year-old son, Hayden, raises Tennessee fainting goats. This past weekend, he showed one of his fine goats, "Karen," at the 7th Annual Lewisburg Goats Music and More Goat Festival in Lewisburg, Tennessee. Hayden and Karen earned a third-place ribbon against very tough competition. Congratulations to both of today's celebrity heroes, Hayden and Karen!
Go, Hayden! -- Go, Karen!

Oct 11, 2009

Remarkable Transformation...

I have been a member of the Huntsville Chamber Music Guild for at least twenty five years. When Margo and I joined the organization way back when, it wasn't very exciting. We had 5 or 6 concerts per year. They were held in the Roberts Recital Hall on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a venue known mostly for its abominable seating and less-than-ideal acoustics. Average attendance was in the range of a couple hundred. As a result, the budget was quite constrained. As a result of that, the groups and soloists who were brought to Huntsville were less than stellar. Nonetheless, we appreciated the opportunity to enjoy small ensembles and soloists a few times a year.

Enter Dr. Wilson Luquire in the early 1990s. He arrived as the dean of the UAH library. But he doesn't only have his doctorate in library science. He also has a doctorate in organ performance. He also has more energy than any other five people put together. And not long after his arrival in Huntsville, he was asked to serve as President of the HCMG. He accepted, and the results have been phenomenal.
Dr. Wilson Luquire, world-famous cellist Yo Yo Ma, Dr. Mac Phillips (President of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Board), and Mark Reneau (Concertmaster of the HSO) upon the occasion of Yo Yo Ma's appearance here in 2005
- Photo courtesy of Ron Roberts

Wilson has through his remarkable charm, chutzpah, imagination, energy, boundless enthusiasm, and personality managed to create a world-class chamber music organization. Recent guests have included Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Frederica von Stade, Marilyne Horn, the Vienna Boys Choir, and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. For several recent years, the Guild's concerts have been held in the sanctuary of Huntsville's Trinity Methodist Church, a great venue and much larger than Roberts Recital Hall. It is packed for every concert.

Last night, Mary Ann and I attended a fabulous concert involving two Metropolitan Opera sopranos, Susanna Phillips and Angela Brown, both of whom have Huntsville connections. It also honored Ms. Ginger Beazley, a local music professional who taught both of these singers as young ladies. The mayor had declared yesterday to be "Susanna Phillips, Angela Brown and Ginger Beazley Day in Huntsville." He presented each of them with certificates of recognition during the concert.

The concert also involved the Oakwood University Aeolians and the choir from the Episcopal Church of the Nativity. It was spectacular. But even that wasn't enough for Wilson. The concert was followed by a banquet honoring the stars at a private club overlooking the city.

The remainder of the season will give you an idea what we have in store:
October 23 - The Guarneri String Quartet (Final performance)
October 30 - Stradivari String Quartet
January 29, 2010 - Jonathan Beyer, a young baritone and the 1stPlace Winner at the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists.
February 14- Joshua Bell, "Classical Music Superstar"
March 12 - Paul Jacobs, virtuoso organist
April 23, 24 - The gold, silver, and crystal medalists from the Van Cliburn piano competition.

Thanks, Wilson, for your hard work and dedication. You have earned your incredible success in transforming this entire program!

Oct 10, 2009

Best of Friends...

We have a cat who thinks her mother is our dog, Sheila. We got the kitten at a time when Sheila needed to be kept inactive. It was winter and too cold to put the kitten outside, so we housed them together. They bonded. The cat, Belle, still sleeps in the dog house. I got this picture shortly after I fed them this morning. The cat ignored her food to dine with her adopted mother.