Four street musicians play outside in front of grass and flowers in the back, which from left to right are lilac, red, salmon, and purple. The musicians are all men. The one on the left is a bearded bass player who is standing up with his instrument on his left side. He is wearing a brown hat, sunglasses, light purple button-down, long-sleeve shirt, gray pants, and black shoes. To his left is a cimbalom player. He is an older man whose shoulder-length white hair is only in the back of his head. He wears a white long-sleeve shirt and blue pants. To his left stands a younger tambourine player. He has black hair, olive-skinned complexion, wears a white button-down shirt tucked into charcoal dress slacks with a black belt. The tambourine is in his right hand. To his left is a dulcimer player. He wears a blue baseball cap, black and white horizontal striped sweater, and gray jeans. He is sitting on a fold-up chair with a red cushion.

5 Things I Love about Making Music with Non-Professional Musicians

There are two aspects of my life that connect me musically with non-professional musicians. Every week, I coach the brass section of the Concert Band from the Arlington (Virginia) chapter of the New Horizons International Music Association, an organization that creates musical opportunities for adults. I coach extraordinarily wonderful people who have decided to pursue a brass instrument in retirement. I also participate in local labor events, which sometimes incorporate music-making. The most recent example, which will be included in next Labor of Love post, was singing Christmas Carols last month in support of The Campaign for DC Paid … Continue Reading

A brick exterior is to the left, and a night sky is to the right. In the bottom right-hand corner, there are windows and a roof. In the center are two signs. The one on top reads "Jazz Blues Alley" with a finger pointing downwards. The lower sign reads "Heidi Martin Quartet". The signs are white, the writing is in black. Two floodlights light up the sign from the left.

Month 3: Fairness, and all that Jazz

 Cultural Event: Heidi Martin Quartet at Blues Alley Continuing with my monthly challenge, I picked jazz for November’s non-classical music event. Blues Alley is a premier institution in Washington, DC, a town that has historically been an epicenter for jazz. It took over four years of living here, but I finally made it to this club. Vocalist Heidi Martin is a native Washingtonian. Her quartet included bassist Michael Bowie, drummer Corey Fonville, pianist Colin Chambers, and trumpeter Donvonte McCoy. The music that evening  surveyed the career of Abbey Lincoln, a jazz artist who significantly influenced … Continue Reading

The Lily Pad Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens. In the background, there are green, full pine trees. In front of them off to the left is the roof and railing of a sheltered sitting area. In front of the railing are red and pink flowers and green shrubs. The rest of the picture is all lily pads and waterplants growing in a large pond of dark water. The sky is blue, and there a few white clouds.

And Make my Garden Grow.

DISCLAIMER: This entry is very much in the “Dear Diary” style. It isn’t intended to be narcisstic drivel, but rather a “Thinking Outloud” Session. So if you can handle just a couple minutes of “Doug Time”, I promise you that this arrives at a greater purpose. Maybe it’s the increasing uncertainty in this World. Maybe it’s because a New Year is almost upon us. But I have been in quite the state of reflection lately. What do I want for myself? For my loved ones? My colleagues? The communities I belong to? Our country? Our World? … Continue Reading

Rally in Downtown Chicago. The photo is taken behind approximately ten rows of protesters with signs gathering around Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. Behind him is an orange inflatable rat with a sign reading "RATS!!! No Contract from the Reader"

Month 2: Crime and Peace

Cultural Event: Old-Time Radio and Chamber Music (Pictured: Radio Players West with trombonists Reed Capshaw, Adam Moen, and Mark Fry) On October 4th, Chamber Music on the Fox presented “Crime Classics” in Elgin, Illinois. They teamed up with local actors from Radio Players West for a wonderful performance of two radio dramas with music by Bernard Herrmann. (The same composer from seven Alfred Hitchcock films, including Psycho.) The titles were “Death of a Picture Hanger” and ““Coyle and Richardson – Why They Hung in a Spanking Breeze”. They were performed exactly as you’d imagine old-time radio, complete … Continue Reading

The view of an fairly full baseball stadium from the Center Field bleachers. It's a day game. There are fans talking with one another, fans watching the game, and one man is walking up the aisle facing the camera carrying concessions. The team in the outfield is wearing white uniforms, and the umpire is in Center Field.

Bases and Basses: The Case for Baseball Fans in Classical Music

Last week, the Chicago Cubs recaptured the title of World Series Champions for the first time since 1908. As a Chicagoland native who incidentally spent most of last month performing in the Windy City, it was impossible not to be swept up by Cubs Fever. Admittedly, I’m not savvy when it comes to baseball culture. Watching the World Series and the preceding Playoffs helped me learn a good deal about who watches these games. It didn’t take long for me to notice how similar baseball fans are to classical music fans. Concentration and Delayed … Continue Reading

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