As regular readers have no doubt figured out by now this is one of 2 blogs I write.
The other can be found by following the link under the picture of the bicycle in the sidebar.
Those readers who have been with me since long before October know that I had another blog for over 5 years before this one began.
One of the reasons I retired that one was to start fresh.
I wanted to find ways to expand on my creative writing side (Poetry, and more.), my book, TV, movie, music, and dining reviews, and culture, and community writing.
See my sidebar for the Archive Categories that share writings in those subjects.
Something happened recently that has given me a way to jumpstart this new direction with style.
I get e-mails... this one surprised, and intrigued me:
I SAW YOUR BLOG:
Hi. I'd love to invite you to attend a concert as a guest of the Pacific symphony. Then write about your experience on your blog. I am an advocate for live classical music and a supporter of the Pacific Symphony in the OC. Critics attend concerts and write about them. It would be interesting to have the fresh perspective of the citizen journalists writing about their experience at a concert. Please let me know if you are interested.
I, of course wanted to know...Why me? I told her a bit about my past, which I will also get into below, relevent to her invitation:
The reason I chose to send you the invitation is because 1) I liked that you comment on culture, have an educated opinion about things, and are a music fan. Now that I know you are also a violinist, that cinches it. 2.)
Your blog was on a list I found as one of the best blogs in the OC.
I liked your style and thought you might be game to join in our new "press corps". Finally, now that you have written to me and I know more about you, I think you HAVE to participate because you would like it.
What insired her idea? An interest in blogging herself, plus the example of the San Francisco Symphony:
The folks up north recognized the importance of bloggers as "new" journalists and invited a group citywide to attend concerts for free in exchange for writing about their experience.
The theory was that by doing so they would increasing awareness of their programs and even develope some new audiences.
She believes that inviting OC bloggers to Pacific Concerts and their passing the word along about what the concert experience is like was a logical thing to attempt.
"I realize that it might not always be a good one for people, or just like other critics, bloggers may say things we don't like to hear, but it's important to expand and try new things if an organization is going to stay alive and growing."
"Press Corp" is her nickname for her project.;-D
It is not out of the ordinary to invite and give tickets to journalists, she says, but it strikes me as a bold step to include bloggers, the so called "New" Journalists, among those worthy of consideration.
In recent years, PoliBloggers, and MilBloggers, have been courted in similar ways, and I in my capacity of being one of the oldest, and most respected, of BikeBloggers, have suddenly been sought out by those in the cycling industry, in the last 2 years as well.
Other Niche Bloggers are also coming in for their share of attention, and courting, and this is very cool in my book.
I am one of 5 bloggers, so far, invited to participate.
So what of my Music Credentials? Glad I asked! ;-D
A long time ago, in a childhood far away, a young 4th grader, still feeling his way around a new school where he was one of only a handfull of white kids in an all black school in the Pomona Ca. of 1969/70, was encouraged to join the orchestra, and learn to play the Violin.
This challenge would be one of the joys of his life from this point on, thru High School, often taking his mind off a sometimes difficult family life.
After Elementary School came Middle School, and after that, in 1974, he was among the 1st 9th grade class to attend Pomona High School, from which he graduated in 1978.
In 9th grade, with a teacher in his last year at the school, he was a 1st Violinist, but the following year, a new teacher came in and in an effort to learn the true skill levels of his performers, auditioned each and assigned them to sections in the orchestra accordingly.
Thus was born this young violinist's 3 year career as a 2nd Violin in an orchestra that was talented enough to win 3 medals in 3 years, and provide much entertainment at school, and local events.
During these years the young man developed a taste for music other than that variety that his peers prefered (If you were a child of the 70's then you know the music, hee, hee!).
Classical, Big Band, Swing, Instrumental Jazz, Holiday, Movie Musicals, movie music, and certain Country, among other similar sounds, enthralled and entertained him for hours on end.
Even though he was no longer playing the melody in the orchestra he made copies of the sheet music of all his favorites and performed them at home, and bought a few books with scores he could play to perform at home as well.
During these years his Mother put a few of his masterful (To her very proud, and very partial, ears!)performances on cassette tape, performances long since lost in the mist of time. ;-D
Yes, that's me, strutting my stuff, in the backyard of the family home in 1978. ;-D
The "Porch" as we proudly called it, was first given in 1978, my Senior Year, in recognition of 4 years membership in the "P"omona High School "Orch"estra, as was the Plaque (I don't recall them before then.), and the 2 pins represented 2, and 3 years membership.
That frame is now almost 30 years old, as are the various awards. ;-D
Like me, they have withstood the ravages of time pretty well, don't you think? ;-D
Though I could not afford to buy a Violin, and keep playing for personal enjoyment at home in the first years after graduation, over the next 30 years my tastes in music never changed.
When recorded music went from being put on 78's, 45's, 33's and cassettes, to being put on CD's I began to build a personal collection of the music I enjoyed.
By the mid-90's I had 1000 CD's in my collection (God Bless the Musical Heritage Society and Jazz Heritage Society!), but had to sell the whole lot because I needed the money.
I remember when Midori and Sarah Chang 1st made names for themselves, and made me an early worshiper of their talents, and there were others of the class of the 90's that struck my fancy, and I had a boxed set of all the recordings of the Guitarist Segovia, purchased on a whim at the recently closed famous Tower Records Store on the north side of Sunset, across the street from the glorious Tower Classical Store, also now sadly closed, among other sets, and I wish I could have kept those CD's, but it was not meant to be.
I remember making a half a dozen trips, on foot, the 3 miles from my home to sell my collection, breaking my heart, 1 trip at a time.
I never recovered from that loss...until last year when I finally decided to slowly build a new collection.
It's not much to speak of, but it's a start. ;-D
I remember attending a few concerts by soloists, and ensembles, in small venues in Pasadena, and being enthralled to witness live performaces.
I attended my first play when The Lion King first came to The Pantages in Hollywood, and in recent years I've been to The Getty, and The Reagan Museums, writing of my experiences elsewhere.
I've written book, movie, and restaurant reviews over the years, and will share them here as a way to introduce the notion of The Mad Macedonian as Culture Critic.
It was with great pride, and a sense of excitement, that I accepted Kate's invitation to join her project, and over the weekend attended my first concert in a full blown major concert venue.
I am working on my review and invite you to comment on it once it is posted, and encourage you to check the links in my sidebar for the Orange County Performing Artscenter, The Orange County Pacific Symphony, and other venues I will add to the list as time goes by.
Get Culture! ;-D
The Concert Review, a 4 parter, is now up:
***UPDATE 2 - 3/5/08***
A kind plug for your humble Citizen Press Corp correspondent now appears on the ACF Page!
A blogger since 2002, this blogger writes about culture and other aspects of life in Orange County. A fan of bikes and cats, he was a violinist and fan of classical music at an early age. His four-part series on his experience at ACF is filled with his unique observations as a concert goer.