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A decade ago, when guitarist Sharon Isbin recorded the lullaby "Cancion de Cuna," by Cuban composer Leo Brower, she wrote that she was in a state of bliss, remembering her experience of "floating down the Napo River in a dugout canoe with piranhas, electric eels, and glistening crocodiles afoot."
This week, when she plays the same piece with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, she'll hear it in a whole new light. Read my concert preview in this week's City newspaper here:
My high school alma mater may drop its Latin program next year. That’s not a huge deal to most people, I know, but if you think of it an indicator, it signals change in the rural school districts around Rochester: a significant drop in the population of young people in small towns.
There are fewer kids in rural schools. Batavia Daily News reporter Tom Rivers (and, in the name of full disclosure, my brother-in-law) describes the changes in a thorough report below, posted with his permission.
As you’ll see, Tom’s story focuses on sports and science programs and the effects smaller classes may have on what schools can offer. Schools such as Elba, Byron-Bergen, and Oakfield-Alabama might have to team up to offer certain classes and sports programs.
That is a big part of my job -- making a connection between you and what's going on in the community around you.
It's particularly challenging for me at election time. Research, and my experience with Voice of the Voter, shows most people feel disconnected from politics, government, and community. My sense from the Voice of the Voter participants is a lot of folks have lost faith in ANY politician's ability to affect positive change within the "system." Even the "good" politicians don't stand a chance when they get into the legislative chambers. (If they can get there in the first place.)
But if enough people care, the "system" can't stop progress.
It's Super Tuesday. Ever media website imaginable has an abundance of election coverage stories, specials and live coverage and what article catches my eye on the MSN homepage? "Sorry You're Too Fat To Eat Here." What? Kudos to the person who wrote the article because as far as titles and tag lines go, you had me at hello. How could I not read this?
I've never given much thought to the extra day that gets tagged onto February every 4 years. Yeah, it's sort of exciting because it is different and for that one day you get to write a date is somewhat rare, but other than that it is exactly how I described it above- an extra day tagged onto the end of February.
Then my mom sent me a link (you have no idea how impressed I am that my mom even knows how to send a link) to a site named Leap Year Day and I had an epiphany: Leap Year Day must be quite the ordeal for someone that was born on February 29.
I discovered a blog kept by a cellist living in Houston, studying at Rice University. He's preparing to audition in Rochester for a spot with the RPO. He writes:
As of January 1st, unleashed dogs were officially banned from the park named for the famous Scandinavian composer, Jean Sibelius. The centrally located park lies near Bathurst and Dupont streets.
Dogs’ rights aside, the park underscores the incredible popularity of Sibelius, who lived from 1865-1957. I can’t think of a composer alive today so universally revered. I’ve been reading about Jean Sibelius, and my appreciation for his music is moving beyond “Finlandia” worship. He loved nature, birds, and drinking. He was a homebody, full of self-doubt, despite his fame.
Last week, I started complaining about the muddy, colorless winter weather. Today, I’m delighted every time I glance outside. The garden is etched in black and white, transformed into an Escher lithograph. Balls of ice-encrusted bee balm sway on brittle stalks. Privet bushes hunker down, nearly smothered by the heavy, wet snow. Cardinals flit, electric red. I declare this the loveliest winter weather ever, especially if you like shape and form and contrast.
Thanks for visiting my blog.
Last week I mentioned photographer Will Yurman’s show at the George Eastman House. Yurman spent 2007 documenting the lives of all the murder victims in Rochester, NY.
Having seen and heard his work, I have a deep sense of admiration for his dedication, skill, and artistic sensitivity.
Will Yurman’s multimedia project is here:
Everyone should see it. If you're short on time, skip to Norman Williams' picture in the lower left corner and just listen to his mother, Alpha.
If you live in Western New York, you can see an interview with Will on WXXI TV’s "Need to Know" tonight at 9:00 p.m. or Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. on channel 21 or cable channel 11.