Musical Meanderings

This is a blog centered around some of the musical encounters and experiences that I come upon in my daily life as a musician.

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Location: Alameda, California

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Brahms in the Park


Isabelle and I were playing in the park with Isabelle's friend Stella. Isabelle is four now and Stella is three. We were having a good old time and the girls decided that they wanted to swing.

So I was pushing them on the swings when I noticed a woman who I thought might be Frederica von Stade, the famous opera singer, playing with her granddaughter. Well, I know that she lives in Alameda, and I see her from time to time, and I am always all flustered, and wondering to myself, "is that her? that must be her..??? I think that might be her...???" This is the way my conversation with self always goes around an encounter with this amazing musician. I saw the man she was with, and he was very tan, and I know that Ms. von Stade is married to a sailor, as I heard her say so herself at a Christmas concert last year here in Alameda. So I'm thinking to myself, "well, he's very tan, and he is wearing a white sailor's hat that says 'Alameda Marina' on it, so he must be her husband, and is that her?That must be her..."

So here's this wonderful singer, playing in the sand with her beautiful blue-eyed granddaughter, and I'm pushing the girls, thinking how interesting it is that true greatness can be in your midst at any given moment, when Ms. von Stade and her tan sailor husband come on over and put the little girl on the swing right next to us! So now I am starting to get excited. I'm wondering what to do. Should I talk to Ms. von Stade? Start a conversation about music? No, lame idea. Should I introduce myself and tell her that I think she is awesome? And that I absolutely love her renditions, that would make me sound truly dumb. I don't want to sound truly dumb. So I decide to try to get Isabelle to sing her version of the chorale to Brahms' First Symphony. A four year old singing Brahms in the park? That's not truly dumb. That's awesome. That's the stuff that might even impress a world class opera star.

Isabelle has words to the chorale, that go something like this:

My dog's name is Jebbie and he is a yellow lab
My dog's name is Jebbie a beautiful yellow lab
My dog's name is Jebbie, so call him Jebbie-
Cause Jebbie is his name...

So anyway, I start singing this real soft, to try to get Isabelle to belt it out, like she sometimes does. But she'd have none of it. She wouldn't sing a note! Not one note.

She knows better than to try to impress an opera singer, I guess.

Why don't I?


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