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February 16, 2007
Vol. VII, No. 2

"Thank Goodness for Christina Harmon"
Well, it's been over a month since my last weekly update. You can thank community member Christina Harmon for getting me off my duff to send out this email. Christina emailed me some info on a local event and I promised to pass it on. Well, the event is in 2 days so I figured I better get with it. Here's the info:

The French Organ Music Seminar Competition for Young Organists
Honoring the Centenary of the Birth of Jean Langlais
Will be held on Saturday, February 17, at 2 pm at
Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, NYC.
Finalists are John Alexander, John Allegar, Joseph Arndt, Adam Brakel, Samuel Gaskin, and Yea Eun Park
Judges are Marie-Louise Langlais, Terrence Flanagan, and Arthur Lawrence

Unfortunately I can't attend but if you like organ music and you're in New York, you're in business.

As an extension of my recent Rampages on income, I've been hearing more talk about organists nearing retirement without savings or a steady source of income. It's fine doing something you love but to what extent are you willing to sacrifice your well-being for your muse? You younguns out there should think about putting a little something at a time into a retirement account for yourself. It's much easier if you start when you're young. Plus, while the future may seem a long way off, it gets here before you know it and there's no putting it off.

I went to the opera at the Met recently -- The Magic Flute. They were offering cheap Orchestra seats if you attended a pre-show workshop. I was psyched because I thought I'd really to get to hear the singers for a change. Boy, was I wrong. They sounded exactly as soft as they do from the peanut gallery. Says a lot about the acoustics but not much about the singers.

The cheap Orchestra seats program was intended to expand the audience for opera. Seems they're worried about their audience declining. But the place is always packed when I go so I don't know what the problem is. Besides, if they want to expand their audience, all they have to do is lower their ticket prices. Have you seen the ticket prices lately? Corporations give them gobs of money. And a private donor gave them $2 million to underwrite tickets but they're charging $20 per ticket anyway. So which is it: They need money or they need audiences? I think it's a load of baloney.

I could stop there and not get into politics however that would be ignoring the fact the federal government's economic policies weekly flood the country with newly created money. The result is that existing dollars are devalued (there are more of them). This means that it takes more dollars to buy things which gives the impression that prices are going up. In reality, your money is worth less. Theoretically, your salary should go up at the same rate (cost of living is what it's called) however that hasn't been happening for most folks these days, if they're even still working. So who can afford opera tickets? I suppose if you still want to believe that art and politics have no relationship then I guess that's your prerogative. But do me a favor and stroll down to your local public school and check out the music program. Oops, first thing to go when government starts cutting back. Is it because they think the arts don't make a difference or because they know they do? Hmmm... Either way, the results are the same.

So Mozart was a Freemason and The Magic Flute is full of freemason references. Who knew? If you're interested, check out this link:

On a more relevant topic, I came across this article about J.S. Bach and Freemasonry:
A Masonic View of the "Musical Offering"

That's it for now. More of a Ramble than a Rampage but it's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last!

Click this link to read comments and offer your own:

Updated Pages
Organ Links:
Added is the Fritts organ at St. Joseph Cathedral, Columbus, Ohio. Also added is the Fowkes organ at First Church of Deerfield, Deerfield, Massachusetts.

There's a new posting from Susan Burkhalter and we welcome a new blogger, Mike Eglin. Sue offers a well-considered book report on "Why I Left The Contemporary Christian Music Movement" by Dan Lucarini. Mike is using his BLOG to chronicle his All-Bach Diet.


Have a great week!

Dan Long

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