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Open Mic Classical presenting Classical Music on Saxophones - Report of our event on Jan 16th, 2017


Last Sunday I sat in the third pew as much mesmerized by the music as by the captivating information about the music. One of our two featured performers —sax player Bruce Abbott— had just serenaded us (with the help of fellow sax player Berke McKelvey) with such a splendid woodwind concoction as has ever reached mine ears (composed by Eugène Bozza, 1905-91) and as intoxicating arpeggios and softly hewn reed-based counterpoint still dallied and cavorted through my short-term memory, Berke held aloft his oddly shaped vintage saxophone and told us a little of its history. I say oddly shaped, but rather perchance it is more accurate to say it is the MODERN sax which is oddly shaped (to allow for seated playing). Berke's vintage beta version resembled the logically shaped clarinet meets Iron Man meets The Incredible Hulk.

Intrigued and intellectually stimulated (as I always am at Monika and Bob's wonderful Open Mic Classical events) by both the stage happenings and the refreshment hang after the show, I found myself researching further this crazy Adolphe Sax fellow (1814-1891), this inventor genius from an inventor family who strove to give orchestras (and, with lesser aim, marching bands) woodwinds with a bigger voice, and yet somehow more notably spawned squirrely Bebop Jazz instead. Adding to Berke's wonderful overview:

-like many inventors, he almost died several times

-at three he fell from a third floor and hit his head on stone

-his mother said of him "He's a child condemned to misfortune; he won't live"

-almost drowned in a river

-burnt himself badly in a gunpowder explosion

-his neighbors referred to him, as a child, as "a little ghost"

-experienced bankruptcy twice when rival instrument makers challenged his patents

So I guess, for me, the take-home of last Sunday's wonderful Open Mic Classical event was persistence. The persistence of art in the face of the mundane. The persistence of DYI art-making in a world of Netflix-loaded smartphones, the persistence of making time for creativity in the face of accounting tasks and clogged gutters.

In addition to sax players Bruce Abbott and Berke McKelvey, I very much enjoyed last Sunday:

-fellow feature performer Lucy Banner amazing us with some unbelievably virtuosic and divinely played piano

-high schooler Olivia Di Bari's wonderful singing of Puccini and Haydn

-Olivia's mother Lisa Gross radiating the 88 with some mischievous Scarlatti

-Dan Dougherty's golden voice

-Carol Davis with some sweet Chopin

-sunny-day extemporaneous piano by Eli Woods

-Some wonderful Kegelstatt Trio Mozart by Janet Asherton (clarinet), our ever-witty host Bob Marcus, and featured performer Lucy Banner (piano)

Thank you for reading this!


an anonymous being with delighted ears

So to all: thanks again / please come again / please spread the word from valley to hilltop so our wonderful cape classical community can continue to evolve and intertwine on our roads less traveled.

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