Passing it down…

My life-long love of music started with my dad’s record collection.  He began listening to classical music while in the Marines thanks to a couple friends who were big fans, but when he really caught the classical bug was during a music appreciation class while working on his master’s degree. He bought lots of classical record sets, and he and my mom soon discovered an added benefit:  About the only time I would sleep as an infant, or nap as a toddler, was when they were playing that music. As soon as I was old enough to put those records on the turntable by myself, I picked up right where they left off. But by then, I was no longer napping; I was all ears.

All of that wear and tear meant lots of scratchy pops and clicks… but I didn’t care.  Many of those old records were “hi fi” monaural, but that didn’t matter.  I thought they were fantastic.  I remember sitting right up against our old “console” stereo cabinet in between the speakers for optimum impact, and getting completely wrapped up in the music.

So you can imagine what an eye- and ear-opening experience it was for me, when my parents began taking me to see the Canton Symphony Orchestra perform.  The music I’d already grown to love on vinyl — despite the often noisy, one-dimensional sound –suddenly exploded to life in all its technicolor glory. Now I was helplessly hooked. The orchestra’s concerts became the highlight of my month. I even taped their broadcasts off the air, and played them for any poor soul kind enough to listen. I just thought they were top notch (still do), and was proud that they were Canton’s own (still am).

My earliest, and foggiest, CSO memories were during the years of the late Thomas Michalak.  About all I can clearly recall, other than how much I loved the experience and the music, was how his hair would shake when he conducted.  But when the Canton Symphony becomes truly memorable was when Gerhardt Zimmermann took over.  The pieces he programmed and conducted became instant favorites for life. A few comments about those programs and performances may be another blog post on some other day; and the slightly humorous story of when I first met Maestro Zimmermann (who by then had become a musical hero) will just have to wait for a later date, too.

So you won’t be surprised when I tell you what a joy it is to now share the Canton Symphony with my son, Callum. He looks forward to each upcoming concert with the same kind of excitement I felt at his age (he’s now 10), and to be able to watch and listen through his eyes and ears is priceless.  When the orchestra (namely Lisa Boyer, Director of Education & Community Engagement, and Michelle Mullaly, Interim Executive Director & Director of Marketing) approached the two of us with the fantastic idea of writing a blog about our experiences with the CSO, we were incredibly honored and excited, if not a little apprehensive. So it’s with a deep collective breath we submit to you these, our first posts. I’ve already talked too much; I’m sure you’re much more interested in hearing what Callum might have to say. So without further ado, let me introduce to you… Callum.

Dad

“P.S.” — I do have to mention one quick story from my childhood as it relates to this program: Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was a favorite of mine growing up, and I taught its opening theme to my parakeet, along with the first few notes of the finale of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Yeah… I was that much of a geek. Not sure why I picked those 2 particular pieces, but I did. “Buddy” was his name, and he seemed to enjoy combining the two themes into his own little set of random variations, much to the amusement of any classical music fans within earshot. As you can imagine, Callum gets quite a kick out of that image. I’ve likely forever ruined for him any sense of gravitas to Liszt’s theme. Now for his take on the proceedings (edited for spelling & punctuation, of course)…

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2 Responses to “Passing it down…”

  • Bill:

    Thanks for the memories, Brett. Had a flash back to the days of a fire in the fire place, lights off, the green eye of the Hi-Fi in the corner of the living room, and Dad’s classical records playing! Good times!

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