I took a walk this afternoon through the Rochester pedestrian skyway system to our City Hall building so I could renew my disclosure form with the City. In my role on the Civic Music Advisory Board, I am essentially an unpaid employee of the city (some people call that “volunteering”, of course). What distinguishes my situation, however, is that I serve under the same requirements for honesty and integrity as paid city servants. So, it is necessary and good that I disclose any financial or other relationships I have with businesses that operate within the city, so that my participation on the Civic Music Advisory Board does not conflict in any unfair or improper way.
Janet and I are lucky to be living in a town that not only has a vibrant arts culture, but has an arts culture that let’s us in! My limited experience with artistic communities in other cities gave me the impression that the community was hard to break into. Not in Rochester.
Janet and I spent a few days in Las Vegas just before the Christmas holiday, and it’s certainly a land of two worlds. The Las Vegas most of us think of is the glitzy, opulent, over-the-top world of casinos and night club acts. But, sitting in the desert as it does, there is another world, one of quiet majesty and extreme beauty.
It’s a regular habit for Janet and me to take time after work on Thursdays in the summer months to walk Thursdays on First and Third. If you are not familiar with TOF, it is a weekly outdoor market and street fair, occupying a portion of downtown Rochester’s First Ave SE and historic Third Street, and put on by Downtown Rochester MN. Weather permitting, it runs every Thursday from the beginning of June through the end of August.
Under our current presidential administration we are facing the likelihood of loss of federal funding for the arts through entities like the National Endowment for the Arts. In Rochester, MN, where there is a strong arts presence, these cuts will have a profound impact. Recently, we participated in a community awareness event where citizens and musicians from the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale gather to sing an impromptu Hallelujah Chorus to show that we are opposed to cuts in funding for the arts. See a short video here.
I took in yet another wonderful program from the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale (RSOC) last night. I don’t consider myself much of an opera buff, but I’ve attended an opera once (in Europe in the early 1980s), and I do like operatic singing. The March program was all focused on opera. Here’s a quick review.
“We hope your spirits will be lifted.” – An Interview with Matt Rolland of Run Boy Run
One of the things I like best about musicians in the folk, old-time, and bluegrass genres is how accessible and friendly they are. Meeting with Matt Rolland from Run Boy Run was no exception. Run Boy Run (from here I’ll abbreviate RBR) is in Rochester this week to participate in the Artist in the Schools program put on by Rochester Civic Music and Riverside Concerts. They finish their stay in Rochester with a full concert on Saturday, March 4, at the Rochester Art Center. Matt very kindly sat down with me for about 45 minutes to talk about RBR and their music.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve picked up the banjo, so I got the itch to play recently, but didn’t really know where to find any local jam groups. In a previous blog, I wrote about my encounter with an old-timey family band. That conversation led to my discovery of a regular bluegrass and country jam group that meets on Friday nights in Rochester.