Monday, November 17, 2008
AN AMERICAN JOURNEY On Sunday, November 16, at 2 p.m., the United States Coast Guard Band presents a preview performance of its historic concert tour of Japan to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Japan Coast Guard. Featured music is by great composers George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and John Williams. Upon hearing about the wind and rainstorm predicted for Saturday night, I opted to forego the monthly swing dance and rest up for the Coast Guard concert instead (at, you guessed it, Paula's strong urging!!) So, here it is, a review for you of "An American Journey." In the second selection, "Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo" by Gustav Holst, Assistant Director Richard Wyman tells of the contrasts featured in the music, at first by the slow rhythms of the Thames River (of London, which could also describe New London) and the subsequent liveliness of the piccolo, calling the revelers and townsfolk to a party in town! But, as always, the Thames River flows in the background, unhurried, the music echoing the slow, dark, murky depths of the Thames River here in New London (even as it flows just behind the Coast Guard Academy). The next featured selection which really moved me to one of the few standing ovations in the audience was "Glitter and Be Gay" from "Candide" by Leonard Bernstein and arranged by MUC Ian Frenkel, and sung by MU1 Lisa Williamson, Soprano. She sung the part of a woman who is "kept" in a "gilded cage" by a gentleman in Paris, France. But her home is filled with baubles, bangles and jewels. Her emotions rotate from ecstacy to sorrow and shame and back again. But is it worth it? she asks. The range and depth of emotion in her voice was unbelievable! But is it worth the trade off?? Does it come as no surprise that I would say: "That I would consider my return to perfect health payment enough?!" And furthermore, "That I am happy to be enjoying the Coast Guard concerts once again!!" And thus, I realized the reason for my best friend's insistent "urging" that I come to this concert! Followed by the nice and smooth "O Magnum Mysterium" by Lauridsen and the circus-like "Dance of Uzume" by Piet Swerts and the Halloween-like "Baron Cimetiere's Mambo" by Grantham. Not to be disappointed, "Semper Paratus," the official march of the U.S. Coast Guard Band followed Intermission. Usually played as the introduction to the Coast Guard concerts, it often made me burst into tears shortly after my best friend's death. "Harrison's Dream" by Graham featured the sounds of a clock in the dramatic portrayal of a ship which sank where over 1000 people were lost at sea because longitude had not yet been discovered. A man named Harrison came along whose dream it was to calculate longitude, using clocks. "The requiem" sounds rather ghostly, evoking the feeling of being lost in the fog -- lost at sea? "Gershwin Remembered" featured the smooth, classic jazz of George Gershwin, played on the piano and arranged by MUC Ian Frenkel, a musical genius, in my opinion, who played with gusto and enthusiasm. Once again, I was one of the few in the audience who rewarded him with a standing ovation. I left before the last selection, "Immigration and Building," by John Williams, as I was parked at the far end of the lot, in a non designated parking space, as the lot was filled to capacity a half hour before this concert. HEADING OVERSEAS: Coast Guard Band helps celebrate Japan coast guard's anniversary by Kristina Dorsey Day Arts Editor Excerpts: "This year, the Japan coast guard is marking its 60th anniversary, and the...band turns 20...a celebration that the U.S. Coast Guard has been invited to join." "Says Commander Kenneth W. Megan, who directs the band, 'I think it's a measure of how important our government and Coast Guard view Japan, the strategic location of it, and it's certainly one of our strongest friends and allies." "During two of the Tokyo concerts, the U.S. and Japan coast guard bands will perform together..." "The Japan coast guard was...modeled after the U.S. coast guard...and the two services have worked very closely together." "The first time the Coast Guard band went overseas was in 1989,...the first American military band to perform in the Soviet Union...during Communist rule and a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall...the standard of living was poor, but the audiences were enthusiastic."
Hi! Today, as a Christmas present to my best friend Paula, I would like to dedicate this post to animals, in particular, the stray cats of downtown New London. (At her "insistence!") Once, over dinner at Pizza Hut before the monthly Coast Guard concert, she asked me if she could spend less on my Christmas gift so that she could "feed the animals." It seems her "back yard" was "habitat" to a variety of "wildlife" species. All winter, she would put out dry cat food for the various species of, I'm assuming: squirrels, skunks, oppossums, chipmunks, songbirds, raccoons, etc. Maybe even owls. Three large trees line her property out back. To which, I laughed in reply: "It's a good thing we're such good friends!" Also, today, I would like to talk about the apparent over population of stray cats in downtown New London. I have contacted the local police department (which have all proven to be AWESOME in my hour of need) and learned that the Animal Control Officer only has two cages, in which to catch these animals, in order to bring them to the Humane Society which is full. If the City of New London hired more police officers, the taxes would go up! "Meet Cider!" At Paula's strong urging one morning (by this, I mean I felt very restless), I drove to her house right away, expecting to see the new owners there. However, upon my arrival, no one was there. I walked up Konomoc, down the path into her back yard. And who did I see but a little orange kitty cat, meowing and crying for attention. From that morning last Spring until the present day, I have taken it upon myself, as my personal mission, to bring dry food to said kitty cat. In addition to giving him a little lovin', affection, and attention! (In such short supply these days!) Yesterday morning, I came to visit him once again. I had been praying for Cider to find a home for the winter. I spoke with the next door neighbors who gave me the best news imaginable!! That "Cider" would be "fixed" within the next two weeks, that they were getting the funds, and that Cider would be kept warm and dry for the winter in their home, along with their other pets! St. Francis, Patron Saint of Animals, must be watching over God's stray creatures. I happily told Cider that I would visit him again in the Spring! He is getting big and healthy now at one year old. Lastly, I would like to help create a "Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat" in Paula's back yard. "You've been hustling all your life," she once said to me, over lunch at McDonald's in Niantic. "You started hanging around with me because you thought I had money." And furthermore, "But you don't get what you really need." And clutching my hands, "Why don't you just be who you really are? A nice, quiet girl. I know she's in there...Nice, so nice...and quiet," she whispered. My hands started to tremble as I started crying: "I don't know who I really am!" After which I wrote the best friend I ever had a mean, nasty letter. Soon after that, the McDonald's in Niantic closed for good, sadly replaced by a bank. And furthermore, "You should do charity work!" Well, here it is, Girlfriend!! "HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION CAN HELP" "The National Wildlife Federation," based in Reston, VA, started the CERTIFIED WILDLIFE HABITAT PROGRAM in 1973....In Connecticut, there are 1,144 certified habitat gardens...Roxanne Paul, operations coordinator...attributed the recent growth in the program to a greater environmental awareness about habitat loss, pollution from lawn mowers and increasing development." "The program includes special certification for Community Wildlife Habitats and Schoolyard Habitats, along with the backyard programs." "Some of the choices recommended for Connecticut are: Eastern Red Cedar, Black Tupelo, Northern Red Oak, Winterberry, Sweet Pepperbush, Red Chokecherry, Blue Vervain, Rough-Stemmed Goldenrod, Cardinal Flower, and New York ironweed." For more information on creating a certified backyard wildlife habitat, go to: http://www.nwf.org/backyard P.S. Newsflash from the Connecticut Humane Society: "According to Connecticut state law, local animal control officers must be consulted and / or involved in the rescue of stray and abandoned animals." "To learn how you can provide a home for one of our wonderful animals, visit the adoption section of http://www.cthumane.org "To find out more ways to support the Connecticut Humane Society, visit our website, http://www.cthumane.donate From the President's Desk by Richard Johnson: "Sadly, we are also reminded that an unstable economy negatively affects both people and their pets. It is the need for additional services to the community that has set the stage for the next major project...our Companion Animal Sanctuary. This locaton is on a 60-acre parcelof land in a pastoral setting. A special committee...has recently voted to proceed with this expansion project...the Connecticut Humane Society Companion Animal Sanctuary Program...is...available to pets...who are more difficult to place...it also serves as a residence to pets displaced by the death of their owner." Merry Christmas, Paula!!