Sunday, October 19, 2008


Today began with lots of coffee, because I didn't sleep too well, because yesterday afternoon I slept too much, because I had migraine type symptoms with sensitivity to light and sounds. So I planned something like a program for the wedding reception our quartet was hired to play from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. It was a lovely brunch at a local country club following a wedding at dawn on a ranch about 60 miles southeast of here. The couple was a non-traditional couple, meaning older and perhaps married before. The groom planned most of the music, requesting Mozart, Handel, Vivaldi and "Wedding March" by Mendelssohn and "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven over Bach, who sounds like math to him. The setting overlooked the golf course in a room of mostly glass, with carpeted floor. But there is a small raised stage, hardwood floors, backed by mirrors where we played and the acoustics were perfect. It is so easy to play for two hours under such conditions. I could have played another hour, easily. Even my left arm, still in a bit of a twist since the last concert, would have tolerated another hour. The guests complimented us and stayed almost to the end of the second hour.

While I was "fiddling around" Muffin ran some errands for us, buying groceries and dropping by the local Best Buy to fetch a cell phone manual. We're shopping for a new phone, and if anyone reads this post and has a suggestion for a phone you absolutely love, please leave a comment!

We ate omelets, toast and spinach salad for lunch, then scurried off to the gym for Body Flow, which seemed way too hard to do after playing for two hours. The legs moved OK, but the arms didn't want to extend. Following the class we changed clothes, bought a smoothie from the juice bar, and headed out to Moody Coliseum for Prairie Home Companion.

I am blown away by how much of that show is unscripted. The jokes and stories were all tailored to fit our hometown and the show was live, via satellite, which Garrison Keillor said was unusual for them. There were cables outside to a truck and a dish and the lines to enter were very long. Finding seats corresponding to our tickets was approached with ushers and like threading through a maze of people, seats, cables, ramps, railings, and steps. Fortunately, we arrived almost 45 minutes early. The musicians warmed up the crowd and GH himself came onstage early and asked for volunteers to sing a song with him about Abilene, to be done later in the show. Then, three minutes before showtime he asked us to stand and sing the National Anthem. Now, this city has produced plenty of singers who have gone on to stellar careers in opera, music theater, choruses and choirs, and we have an excellent music education program in the public schools and universities for choral music. So, we sang--in parts--with gusto. And GH and the band seemed somewhat stunned. After that pre-show singing, he asked us to sing again and again on old hymns and songs about Texas.

My favorite stories and comments were about the liberals vs. conservatives and natives in our town killing him with kindness, and then Guy Noir was sent to Abilene to investigate the Abilene Secular Humanistic University to see if they would fund research on finding God. On that segment of the show, Mr. Newman, sound effects master, just left me laughing to tears. The Guy Noir segment is scripted, but Lake Woebegone is on the fly. Almost all the music is from ear or from memory and the dobro, guitar, fiddle, piano, and bass players are amazing. I hope you can hear the songs on the re-broadcast this weekend, or on podcast soon. Dusty and Lefty also made an appearance in Abilene and tried to find a saloon in a church town surrounded by wind turbines. Gotta love this place!

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