Latest from The Spokesman-Review
There is a house down the street from where I live and I often pass it on my afternoon walks through the neighborhood. It is a small white house, a classic Cape Cod, probably built in the lean years before the second World War. There is ivy climbing up the chimney and a tall evergreen tree anchors one corner of the front yard.
Most days, there is nothing about the little house that would draw your attention. It is like a hundred others in the city. But if you pass it on a summer evening, just at the softest part of the day when the sky is darkening to a deep shade of violet but still light at the western edge of the horizon, maybe a few of the earliest stars are already out, it’s possible the front door will be open. And through the screen door you can see into the small living room of the compact house where two baby grand pianos sit side by side, situated so that the pianists can see one another as they play.
I know nothing about the house or the people who live there, but to my way of thinking it is the pianos that tell the story, the way they fill the room, claiming it as a place where music is, or has been, made. When I look into that room I see love. There are people there who love music enough to make it the center of the house.
Once, at the end of a day in Paris, I walked down a narrow street near the Latin Quartier and past an apartment building. A tiny slice of one of the apartments was visible through the open terrace doors and I could see a faded but still elegant armchair, upholstered in a soft blue velvet that was worn in places from years of use. Tall shelves filled with rows and rows of books lined the wall and a lamp cast a soft glow over the chair.
With nothing more than a glimpse into the room I could imagine the person who lives there. I could see him (I don’t know why, but it felt like a man’s room) come home each evening, scan the shelves, select a book and then settle into the chair to read. From the outside, the building gave no clue to its inhabitants. Rows of windows shuttered the lives of those inside, but the love of books, the familiar and satisfying feel of a favorite book in one’s hands, spilled out out through the open door, carried into the night by the golden lamplight.
The peek into those two rooms has changed the way I think about my house. Now, I try to look past the usual clutter, the sleeping, shedding, cats and dog, past the unfinished projects on my to-do list. I focus hard on the way the chairs sit next to the window, perfect for watching the seasons change and the parade of people on the way to the park. I look at the books I’ve collected over a lifetime and the photographs I’ve taken of the people and places I love.
The places we call home say much about us in ways we don’t always appreciate. We focus so much on the superficial—the wreath on the door, the curb appeal, the fresh coat of paint— that we forget that what defines any room as the place we belong has little to do with the decor and everything to do with how we live, and love, in the space.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a journalist and travel columnist whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at email@example.com
Some places belong to our deepest memories. They are the source of the sights and sounds and experiences that define us, that make us the into people we become. Because I was born in the Southeast, less than a day’s drive from Great Smoky Mountain National Park, a place my family particularly loved, Tennessee became that kind of touchstone for me. As a child I camped along Deep Creek, explored Pigeon Forge and Cade’s Cove and looked out the window, staring into the clouds, lost in my thoughts as we drove the winding roads.
When I was a teenager my friends and I drove to Nashville for the weekend and we walked to Ernest Tubb’s Music Store to hear the musicians who gathered there late at night to play for the fun of it.
One fall day when I was in my 20s, I took a single seat on a day-long excursion train to Chattanooga and started talking to a tall man who was there with a couple of friends. We spent the rest of the day together and in a few years we were back again, this time with our children.
So when I had a chance to return to Memphis recently, a place I hadn’t been since we moved to the Northwest more than a decade ago, I didn’t think twice. The first day, not long after checking into The Peabody Hotel, the grand hotel that has been the heart and center of the city for almost 100 years, I walked down to the lobby to join the crowd around the fountain and the ducks swimming in it. If you don’t know, The Peabody is famous for its ducks. What started as a practical joke has become a treasured tradition and each morning they march single-file down a red carpet to spend the next few hours swimming in the hotel lobby before marching back to the elevator at in the late afternoon.
The ducks always play to a crowd. Young children were gathered along the red carpet, anxious to have a front-row seat for the duck parade, and I realized my own children must have been about that age when we brought them to Memphis to see this particular show. I thought back on that day, wondering at the speed with which time grabs so many little moments and sweeps them into the corners of our minds, to sit there until we stumble on them again if we’re lucky.
The woman standing beside me told me she comes to the city and to the hotel at least once a year. “I’m like one of these ducks,” she said, laughing and taking a sip of her cocktail. “I keep marching back.”
After the ducks marched past me and into the elevator that would take them to their rooftop “plantation” I joined a tour of the building offered by an employee. As he led us from one beautiful room to another he talked about growing up in Memphis and how the hotel has been a vital part of the community for most of its history. And for most of his personal history.
“That’s the thing about this place,” he said, looking around him. “Everywhere you look you see a scene from your past.”
For the next few days, as I explored a part of the country that used to be so much a part of me, I said the same thing again and again.
Memphis is a vibrant city. The music never stops on Beale Street. The food is spicy and delicious. I sat down to a plate of ribs at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous and could have spent hours just looking at the memorabilia on the walls. I joined the crowd at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken and savored every bite. I toured Graceland and stood in front of the microphone at the old Sun Records studio. I walked through Soulsville, The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and listened to the music that was the soundtrack of my youth. And, just as it has forever, the river kept rolling.
That’s the thing about Memphis, I guess. It was full of the familiar but it held so many new experiences I didn't get around to everything I wanted to do and see. I should have told the woman in the Peabody lobby to save me a place next year.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Williams, smooth voice of the 1960s and 1970s and…through every Christmas I can remember, has died. Williams was 84 and died last night at his home in Branson, MO.
As a child in wintery Minnesota, I listened to Andy Williams sing Christmas songs on the family hi-fi and still, each December, play the same music, now in CD form, as my backdrop to trimming the tree. His voice takes me back to my childhood, to my family and to a time of innocence.
That innocence was shattered when Sirhan Sirhan gunned down Bobby Kennedy and our nation watched as the young Robert Kennedy was laid to rest. Williams’ voice sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic and now, no matter who sings that song or what the setting is, I am suddenly 13 again and remembering Robert Kennedy’s funeral.
Music impresses memories and feelings onto our hearts as no other experience can. Williams’ life of class and grace, like his music, speaks of following one’s dreams, after all, there’s such a lot of world to see…Such a blessing, such a loss.
(S-R archives photo: Andy Williams Feb. 23, 1978)
A dispute between neighbors over loud music led to one being jailed for an alleged ax attack Saturday in northwest Spokane.
Brian M. Drake, 40, is accused of hitting Christopher A. Malcom with an ax handle after Maclom told him to turn him music down at their apartment complex at 421 W. Montgomery Ave. and said he would be calling the police.
Malcom told officers that Drake called him names and said “Payback's a b**ch” before swinging the ax at him, handle first, according to court documents.
Malcom reported injuries to his right arm and leg. Police said Drake was “highly intoxicated.”
Drake, who does not appear to have a criminal record in Washington state, was booked into jail for second-degree assault.
Looking for something fun to do with the family during Christmas week? Dress 'em up in lederhosen and start rehearsing “My Favorite Things.”
The “Sound of Music Sing-a-Long” has been booked into the INB Performing Arts Center, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. This is the 1965 movie classic, shown complete with subtitles and audience participation.
Lots of audience participation. Think of it as a kind of clean-cut, well-scrubbed version of “Rocky Horror.” The audience helps sing all the songs, and also acts out in other ways. Every audience member receives a “Bag of Musical Moments,” full of props to utilize at key moments in the film.
There's also a costume contest for the most clever and outrageous outfits.
The sing-a-long began in Manhattan in 2000 and then went on to a big Hollywood Bowl event in 2001. It has since swept the country. Tickets are $20, $25 and $30 and will go on sale Nov. 18 through all Ticketswest outlets (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com).
Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson, product of Newport and Spokane, will get in touch with his inner Rat-Packer for a concert with the New York Pops on Thursday.
He's headlining a show called “Cheyenne Jackson's Cocktail Hour: Music of the 'Mad Men' Era.
Read all about it in this Playbill interview.
I just finished interviewing and writing a story for Thursday's paper about Jon Kimura Parker, who will play the Grieg Piano Concerto at the Spokane Symphony's opening concert on Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and info go here.
He's a great speaker, with a fine way of explaining what he loves about the music. Here's a video that shows off his talents, buth musical and verbal.
The Slice recommends going to youtube or some music site and finding a good version of the infectious instrumental “Time is Tight,” by Booker T. & The M.G.'s. You won't be sorry.
They didn't think the race thing was a big deal. They just liked playing together.
The Spokane Symphony has announced a new concert concept: Kick Back Classics.
These are concerts away from the usual concert hall and without a conductor.
Annie Matlow of the symphony said the musicians “will be ‘kicking back,’ and playing without a conductor – much like a chamber group but with symphonic proportions.”
The Kick Back Classics lineup:
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Spokane Falls Community College Music Building, 3410 W. Fort George Wright Drive. This concert will help show off the newly renovated music building.
Oct. 6, 7 p.m. at Turning Point Church, 11911 N. Division St.
The symphony will play “crowd favorites” by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Britten and Ravel.
And here’s the best thing about the Kick Back Classics: Tickets will be only $5 each – much cheaper than a regular classics concert.
Tickets go on sale Thursday at (509) 624-1200, or online at www.spokanesymphony.org, or at the Fox box office, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.
Spokane Symphony music director Eckart Preu stood at the podium at Comstock Park Monday and wondered aloud if this was an even bigger crowd than usual. From this photo, you can see, it was a huge.
Thousands showed up for the Spokane Symphony's Labor Day concert at Comstock Park. Two reasons for the big turnout: First, the weather was perfect. Second, people can no longer take this event for granted.
There was no Comstock Park concert last year, for the first time in 25 years, because there was no funding. This year, Sterling Savings stepped up and sponsored it. They will also sponsor it for the next two years.
The symphony sounded great, and the traditional crowd-pleasers — “The 1812 Overture” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” — got the crowd up and clapping
And let's applaud Sterling Savings as well. Now, more than ever, arts organizations need this kind of corporate support to stay healthy.
I left a crucial bit of info out of a Spotlight item in print on Sunday: The location of the Simone Dinnerstein concert.
It will be at the Martin Woldson Theatre at the Fox., 1001 W. Sprague.
Here's the rest of the info, as printed Sunday:
A lot of classical piano fans were wowed by Simone Dinnerstein during her previous appearances here with the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra.
Dinnerstein played with Gonzaga's orchestra in 2007 and 2009 - in between recording albums that topped the Billboard classical charts.
Now, she's coming back on Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. for another concert with the GU orchestra. She'll play Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major and Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Tickets are a bargain for an artist of this magnitude: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students (free for those with a Gonzaga ID). Seats are general admission and you can purchase tickets at the door.
According to the list I consult, Mr. Merle Haggard performed.
I didn't see that concert. But I once saw him do a midday show at an outdoor venue on a summer afternoon so hot one member of the audience had to be hauled away on a stretcher.
But the weather didn't faze Merle. A true pro.
I have some excellent news to report: Meredith Oatman-Thompson raised enough money with her Sunday fundraising concert (see post from a few days ago) to pay for tuition and books for her entire sophomore year at Interlochen Arts Academy.
Her father said lots of people showed up in support, including a number of Interlochen Arts Academy alumni.
Here’s an excellent way to raise music tuition money: Give your own benefit concert.
Meredith Oatman-Thompson, a 15-year-old organ and piano student from Orofino, Idaho, will present “Bach to Goth” Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 127 E. 12th Ave.
Oatman-Thompson is on her way back to the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan for her sophomore year and she needs to supplement her scholarship.
She’ll play several organ pieces by Bach and the Suite Gothique by Leon Boellmann. She’ll switch over to piano to play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”
No tickets are required, but donations will be gratefully appreciated.
“I really like the learning environment on campus; everyone is focused on their art,” said Oatman-Thompson, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe
Sounds like the Rockin’ B Ranch Cowboy Supper Show, which has been a Spokane (actually Liberty Lake) tradition for 17 years, will be riding off into the sunset after this season.
Owners Scott and Pamela Brownlee announced this weekend that the shows will not be back in 2012. This year’s season continues as scheduled, through Oct. 1.
The Rockin’ B has been thriving for the last few years, but the Brownlees said that it was finally time “to take a summer vacation like normal people.” Both have demanding jobs: Scott is a film professor at the UCLA Film School and Loyola Marymount University, and Pamela is a music teacher.
They say this year's show and cast is better than ever.
“What better time than that to say to our audiences: ‘Thank you and vaya con Dios,’” said Scott Brownlee.
So if you want see the show, you’d better get some reservations for this season, by calling (509) 891-9016.
Pianist George Winston has been forced to postpone his Sept. 21 concert at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane and his Sept. 22 concert at the Panida Theatre in Sandpoint.
Winston has cancelled all of his shows through September — at least 11 of them. The cancellations are for undisclosed medical reasons.
Ticketholders can hold on to their tickets and use them for a rescheduled show at a to-be-announced date, or they can get a refund at the point of purchase.
The Spokane Symphony will play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Vivaldi’s“Summer” from “Four Seasons” for some of Spokane’s “best” causes on Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.
We say “best” because the symphony is billing this as its first-ever “Best of Spokane Concert.” It will be both a tribute and a fundraiser for these Spokane institutions: Bloomsday, First Night, Hoopfest, the Lilac Festival, Musicfest Northwest, Spokane International Film Festival and Unity in the Community.
Tickets are $20, through the symphony ticket office (509-624-1200) or TicketsWest outlets.
Now, about that “Best of” idea: Those organizations will not only be honored at the concert, but they will also get a cut of the proceeds. Concertgoers are encouraged to wear T-shirts and hats representing any of those organizations.
Eckart Preu will conduct, and the concert will also include a patriotic sing-along. This event replaces the BestFest, which the symphony has held the last two summers.
For the second part of the Best of Spokane celebration, click on “continue reading” below.
The Spokane Symphony will play Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Vivaldi's “Summer” from “Four Seasons” for some of Spokanes “best” causes on Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.
We say “best” because the symphony is billing this as its first-ever “Best of Spokane Concert,” and it is both a tribute and a fundraiser for these Spokane institutions: Bloomsday, First Night, Hoopfest, the Lilac Festival, MusicFest Northwest, Spokane International Film Festival, and Unity in the Community.
Here's the lowdown on the concert itself: It will cost $20, now on sale at (509) 624-1200 or TicketsWest outlets.
Now, about that “Best of” idea. Those organizations will not only be honored at the concert, but they will get a cut of the proceeds. Concertgoers are encouraged to wear t-shirts and hats representing any of those organizations.
Eckart Preu will conduct, and the concert will also include a patriotic sing-along. This event replaces the BestFest, which the symphony has held the last two summers.
The second part of the symphony’s “Best of Spokane” event – officially titled “Say Wow! Celebrating the Best of Spokane” – will consist of the Community Open House and Showcase on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.
It will be a lot like the open house the symphony hosted when The Fox re-opened in November 2007. This event is free, and includes performances by local groups, tours of the theater and hands-on children’s activities.
Here’s the performance schedule:
9 a.m.: Blessing and Drum Circle.
10:30 a.m.: Floating Crowbar, traditional Irish music.
Noon: Master Class Jazz Orchestra, Big Band Swing.
1:30 p.m.: Spokane Civic Theatre’s Musical Showcase, previewing its season.
3 p.m.: Big Red Barn – Rhythm and bluegrass.
Please note that this free day on Aug, 20 does not include a performance by the Spokane Symphony. The symphony is sponsoring it, but not performing. The symphony's appearance is only at the Aug. 18 event.
We just got word of a new concert, with tickets going on sale Friday:
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON & MERLE HAGGARD
Sun, September 25th, 2011 7:30 PM
INB Performing Arts Center
334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201 (509 279-7000)
All Ages. Tickets Range From: $35, $45, $55, $65 in advance,
all seats are $5.00 higher day of show!
Tickets on sale July 29, but you can get access to a pre-sale by clicking on www.ticketswest.com
Maria Muldaur, of “Midnight at the Oasis” fame, has been booked into Spirit Lake’s Red, Wine & Bluz Fest on Aug. 20 at 9 p.m.
Muldaur and her Red Hot Bluesiana Band be the closing act in the newly reinvigorated blues festival, which has been moved this year to Spirit Lake’s City Park. The festival runs Aug. 19 and 20, noon to 11 p.m. each day.
Other bands include the Red Hot Blues Sisters, the Smokehouse Blues Band, Gary Yeoman and Voodoo Church and Big Daddy and the Blue Notes.
It’s a family event; they will also host an arts and crafts fair and a kid’s fair. Kids 12 and under are free.
Tickets are $31 for both days or $21 for one day, available in advance at www.spiritlakebluzfest.com.
The best Highland dancers in the US are in Spokane for the 2011 U.S. Inter-Regional Highland Dance Championships.
Yes, you can watch them, both at paid admission events Friday and Saturda at the INB Performing Arts Center and free events on Sunday.
Here's the info from the press release:
Admission for the public is 10 dollars. The Event kicks off Friday July 22 (10-4pm) at the INB with a dance called sailor’s Horn Pipe. It mimics sailors actions, how to raise the flag on the ship, etc.
Saturday is the U.S. Nationals …. INB 9-4… held only one a year with top 100 dancers. International competitors there as well.
The judges are from Scotland and other places.
Sunday 9-4… free dance open to the public – Lilac Bowl in Riverfront Park. Another competition for the Lilac Bowl Championship.
You can pick up a $25 ticket to the k.d. lang concert, but you have to pounce right away.
This afternoon, 100 balcony seats went on sale for $25 in a kind of early 'rush' ticket deal. These tickets are available through all TicketsWest outlets or through the Fox box office at 509-624-1200 until they're gone.
Normally, tickets are $49 and $69, so this is a bargain.
k.d. lang and her new band, the Siss Boom Bang, are playing Monday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. .
A really big band has been booked into the Northern Quest Resort and Casino's outdoor venue: The Spokane Symphony, Aug. 20, 7 p.m.
They're calling this a “Sizzling Summer Concert With the Spokane Symphony” and it will feature Eckart Preu conducting the symphony in a show that ranges from the “Superman” theme to John Phillip Souza. It will be a spectrum of light classics and popular music.
Tickets are now on sale, $20 and $25, through TicketsWest.
I logged onto the Spokane Public Library's new free music download service, Freegal, yesterday — and it lived up to expectations.
It contains 500,000 songs from the Sony music archives. City library card holders can download — and keep — three songs per week.
It will take me months to thoroughly browse the offerings, but it contains just about the entire Bruce Springsteen catalog, the entire Simon and Garfunkel catalog and lots of the Frank Sinatra catalog.
And those are just the S's.
A quick rule of thumb: Artists on a Sony label or any of its affiliates (including the mighty Columbia Records label), will probably be there.
To access it, you must have a Spokane Public Library card and the PIN number that you already use to log onto the library's website. If you don't have a PIN number, you'll have to go to any branch and get one.
Classical music fans might be particularly pleased. The site contains lots of outstanding classical selections. But you might have to download them movement by movement.
See the original post below for more details.
Brandi Carlile has been booked into the Knitting Factory on Oct. 6 — which will be just two months after her appearance at the Festival at Sandpoint.
So, choose your preference: The lakeshore under the stars? Or the downtown Spokane nightclub? Or both? There are probably a number of Brandi Carlile fanatics who will choose both.
At the Knitting Factory, she'll be appearing with Justin Townes Earle and Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit. Tickets for that show will be $26, on sale Friday, 10 a.m. through Ticketfly.
The Festival at Sandpoint appearance will be Aug. 5, and tickets are $36.95 now on sale through TicketsWest.
Neko Case apparently hung out at the Baby Bar, the tiny gem at 827 W. First, after her Thursday concert, because here's what she just tweeted:
“The Baby Bar in Spokane, WA. Best bar in USA. No question.”
The Spokane Arena has just announced that the 2011 Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival has been booked into the Arena on Oct. 2.
This lineup includes two bands with “Seven” in their names: Avenged Sevenfold and Sevendust.
The complete lineup: Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Seether, Bullet For My Valentine and Escape the Fate on the main stage, while Sevendust, Black Tide, Art of Dying and The Black Cloud Collective will play the Best Buy Music Gear Stage.
Tickets will be $25, $35, and $45 and $65 and go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through TicketsWest outlets.
TicketsWest has now changed the Lynyrd Skynyrd on-sale date to Tuesday at 10 a.m.
This show, as we noted in previous posts, is Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino's outdoors venue. It's the final show in the summer series.
Violinist Amanda Howard-Phillips has joined the Spokane String Quartet for its new season, replacing Tracy Dunlop, who has moved to Michigan.
Howard-Phillips is on the Gonzaga University faculty and is current the principal second violin for the Spokane Symphony.
The quartet’s new season consists of these five concerts:
- Sept. 25, Bing Crosby Theater – Hayden, Britten and Beethoven.
- Nov. 13, Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox – Shostakovich, Haydn and Sibelius.
- Feb. 19, The Fox – Mozart and Brahms.
- March 11, The Fox – with guest artists, mezzo-soprano Joanne Bouma and pianist Linda Siverts, and music by Brahms and Ravel.
- April 29, Bing Crosby Theater – with guest artist pianist Kendall Feeney, and music by Frank, de Falla, Schoenfield and Shostakovich.
The rest of the quartet consists of Mateusz Wolski, Jeannette Wee-Yang and Helen Byrne.
Season tickets are now available through www.spokanestringquartet.org. Single tickets will go on sale in September.
We've finally received confirmation on the Lynryd Skynyrd on-sale date: Saturday at 10 a.m. through TicketsWest outlets.
Ticket prices will range from $55 to $100.
The show, as we noted in a previous post, is Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino's outdoors venue. It's the final show in the summer series.