Boarding Gate Concert

16.12.2014 § Leave a comment

I was on my way to Washington DC via the Midway airport at 5:30 a.m., and there was a concert going on across from my boarding gate. Three singers wearing Army side caps were singing old-timey songs in front of a full house audience in the waiting area. A whole bunch of people in orange shirts pushing wheelchairs were gathering at the concert, and I asked a lady wearing a green shirt what it was all about.

Honor Flight Chicago Concert

She said that 92 World War II veterans were going to Washington DC. The trip was sponsored by Honor Flight Chicago, a privately funded organization. « Read the rest of this entry »

Isamu Noguchi and Yoshiko Yamaguchi

09.04.2013 § 3 Comments

Yoshiko YamaguchiOnly recently did I learn that at one time Isamu Noguchi was married to Li Xianglan, a woman with a fascinating life. This knowledge came as a shock to me, or almost like regret, because Li Xianglan was such a legend and such a prominent figure during my childhood. She was a very famous singer and movie star during my mother’s youth. My mother was her diehard fan and would sing her songs and talk about her all the time. There were no pictures of her in those years because of her mysterious status and I always wondered, how beautiful could she be? What happened to her after she left China? I did not know that she had a long career after she left China using two different names, Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Yoshiko Ōtaka.

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Affinity with Music

01.02.2013 § Leave a comment

Symphonic Collection Inspiration

Coloratura

I volunteered to be an art teacher at day camps quite a few times through my youth and during my children’s adolescent years. Besides typical art projects such as still-life painting or going outside to paint landscapes, I later decided to inspire the children to experience the artistic elements. One time I had them draw the feelings aroused by touching contrasting materials, such as hard angular rocks compared to soft cotton or fur. « Read the rest of this entry »

Nella Fantasia

27.12.2012 § 1 Comment

I joined a community choir near work. I will see if I can insist on finishing this term despite my busy schedule. I believe that singing can be a stress release and, with all that breathing practice, is good for my health.

They tested my range and put me in with the sopranos. I should really be a mezzo-soprano, but we do not have enough sopranos, so I am one now. By the time I have to reach high G, I am literally screaming. The conductor, who is an Emory Music School graduate, has such a beautiful voice. She demonstrates a lot, and I feel like I am getting a free recital every Monday evening. She gave us “Nella Fantasia” to learn; what beautiful melody and lyrics! I had heard this song before but did not know the meaning until now. I had goose bumps when I read the lyrics in translation while she was demonstrating the high notes. Here is the song and a touching Cinderella story about a singer from Korea.

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Dear X:

14.02.2012 § Leave a comment

You are heart broken so I send you a song to sooth your pain. This is belated and maybe you are not sad anymore, if so, then … oh, yes, it is Valentine’s Day, Happy Valentine’s Day.

“I Wish You Love” sung by five singers:

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A Letter to Jascha Heifetz

10.02.2012 § 2 Comments

I like Noh theatre and Japanese music. This morning while driving to work, instead of having my CD play, the WFMT radio station got turned on by mistake, and violin music flew out in such a passionate and expressive way that it stopped me from switching back to the music I had intended to play. I was awed by the impact made by the contrast: while my mind was ready for the stoic theatre of the east, the powerful music and the violinist’s prowess seized me. I stayed in the parking lot to finish the concerto just to find out who was playing. It was Jascha Heifetz playing Tchaifovsky’s violin concerto in D major with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the 1957 RCA recording.

Ah, yes, Heifetz, one of the greatest violinists of all time. I wrote to him once, his identity unbeknown to me. « Read the rest of this entry »

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