This coming Halloween the Presbyterian Church of Garden Grove will celebrate St. Andrew’s Day. For the eleven years or so that I attended the church before moving to the Rancho Cucamonga area, St. Andrew’s Day was a time to commemorate our congregation’s deep Scottish roots. Every year there has been bagpiping, traditional dancing, displaying of the family tartans, and (as of late) . . . fiddling! This year I have been asked to contribute my talent to this special morning service and perform a set of Scottish fiddle tunes. I love the freedom in Celtic fiddling, the rush of the rhythms and the haunting melodies, and I am eager to join in these festivities! All are welcome to participate: October 31st, 9:30 am.
Before I become even more fascinated and involved with this site than I already am, I want to be sure to publicly thank my companion, lover, and fiancÃ©, James, for putting this all together for me. He makes my life vibrant, in every way, and I am ever so grateful for him. Thank you, James.
Yes, that’s right. California Polytechnic University in Pomona is holding a free noon-hour concert on October 21, in the Music Department Recital Hall. Some of the department’s brightest students will be performing various works for the event, including me. I will be performing a “Romanze” by Dmitri Shostakovich, a beautiful lyric piece for solo violin and piano. Who knew Shostakovich wrote so accessibly?
I was curious about this work, so I did some browsing along the internet for information. It seems that Shostakovich, a Russian composer dating from 1906 to 1975, not only tested the bounds of harmony within his dynamic instrumental writing on his own “free time”, but he was also commissioned to write for the movies. In 1955, a movie called “Ovod” was released in Russia, and in 1956 it was released in the US under the title, “The Gadfly”, the movie for which Shostakovich composed the “Romance”, along with the rest of the soundtrack. “The Gadfly” was based on a Russian novel by the same name that was first published in 1897, which tale of love and tragedy received immediate acclaim, despite its setting of the 19th century Italian revolution. Alas, I have not read the work or seen the movie myself, but from the reviews I’ve read thus far, it seems to be a fascinating and gripping tale of a young Italian who, after adventures and struggle in South Africa, becomes “The Gadfly”, a heroic revolutionary; a sort of “Scarlet Pimpernel”, I suppose.
Well, that’s the backstory in a nutshell. From the musical perspective, Shostakovich’s “Romance” emotes a tender, victorian-like love and desire that is truly a joy to create from my heart, through my instrument.
For the past three months or so, my students have been preparing for, what is for many of them, their first public student recital. To be held on the evening (6:45PM) of November 27 in Stanton, CA, they will be performing for the enjoyment of the Quaker Gardens Senior Living Center. The coordinator for the facility’s entertainment schedule approached me after I had performed for one of their Sunday morning chapel services, asking if I already had a student recital planned. After all, the elderly love children, and, as she told me, Quaker Gardens has never before hosted a concert for young violinists. Luckily, while I had the desire and a tentative date, I had not secured a location to hold the recital. My students range from ages 7 to, perhaps unmentionable, adulthood, and a wide range of musical styles and playing ability will be showcased. I look forward to my students’ experience with Ms. Sharon Wright, as she is to accompany them on the piano, and I look forward to the inspiration and fellowship which these children, teens, and adults are to garner from the evening’s festivities. Please join us for this fun-filled free evening!