Monday Smiles – 7/13/2015

St. EdsOn this fine Monday morning, the first task on my to-do list is to take  my car to Solesbee Auto Crafts, our local auto body shop.  If that doesn’t sound like a smiling matter to you, you are correct.  Saturday morning on the way home from the park, I stopped at the local market and someone backed out of a parking place, right in front of me.  Crunch.   The weekedn didn’t start with a mile, either because n Friday, while my daughter and her boys were staying at our house in Arizona, the air conditioner stopped cooling.  And when the repair service came out, the condenser unit was shot.  Serious buck to replace it.  Not a smiling matter either, except for the fact that my daughter was there to take care of it.  By mid afternoon, a new unit had been installed and the house was cool again.  Good news but not exactly what smiles are made of.

If I’m going to smile this Monday, need to travel ahead in time to Saturday night, when we went to see the Dana Point Symphony.  You’ve heard of them, right?  Probably not.  Dana Point is a beautiful and affluent beach side community, an enclave for my wife Muri and I when we need some time away, but not a place I’d expect to be the home of a decent symphony orchestra.     And when I saw tickets for the concert on Goldstar, the half-price ticket service, for $10, the alarms went off.  Community orchestra.  Part time musicians.  Off key strings and squeaky woodwinds.  Poorly played classics.  Yes, I can be a music snob.  But the program was all American composers: Barber’s Adagio for Strings; Copeland’s Appalachian Spring; and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, three of my favorite pieces.  What the hell … for ten bucks we could leave at halftime … er … intermission, right?


It turns out that the Dana Point Symphony performs in the beautiful St. Edwards Catholic Church, high on a hill, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  It’sedwards church almost worth the price of admission itself.  The church was filled to brimming with gray hairs as seems to be the case with any classical concert these days.  I suspect Muri and I were in the lower third of the age demographic.  The orchestra was set in front of the altar, placing every seat unusually close to the musicians.  Two large screens above the altar provided panoramic views of the orchestra,  But how about the music?   Adagio for Strings, used as a main theme for the film, Platoon, was beautifully done.  Appalachian Spring was nicely done in spite of a few rough spots.   For Rhapsody in Blue, the orchestra brought in pianist, Steven Vanhauwaert, who was marvelous, his performance enhanced by a close up his fingers on the keyboard on the large screens.  The orchestra was excellent as well.   I’d give the performance three tear-ups, six chills and a standing ovation.   The orchestra’s website says The mission of the Dana Point Symphony is to provide world-class classical music to the Dana Point and surrounding community and make it accessible to everyone.  They seem to be succeeding.   How nice to have my Inner Snob surprised by a wonderful evening of music.  It is Monday and I am smiling.


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