Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inauguration Music Choices

I am amused at the conversation on TV, radio, newspapers, and elsewhere about the live music/ recorded music issue at the Jan. 20th Inaugural event. For an event in January in Washington D.C. I would think cold weather would be likely. Choosing a musical ensemble with cold weather sensitive instruments as part of the program seems not to be such a great idea. Yes, it is great to have the great instrumentalist of our day participate in the event, but why not select instrumentalists that perform on instruments that are not so temperature sensitive - or go with vocalists?

Perhaps this would have been a great opportunity for the melodeon - an instrument I play - to get some national attention (although lots of other choices exist). I have managed to play many times in extreme cold and freezing rain for First Night Virginia events and on the Swan Tavern Morris Men's winter solstice dance-out on the third Saturday of December on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall. I guess I have played melodeon in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

I was sorry I didn't get a ticket to the inauguration to see the event live but enjoyed being part of the audience at the Paramount Theater to see it on a super-sized HDTV screen. When watching the musical number with Itzhak Perlman (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet) I thought the motions of the musicians and the music were out of sync but didn't realize that the music was a taped broadcast - not the live feed. Perhaps anticipating a balmy January day in Washington D.C. was an extension of the message of Hope.

In the current world of extensive conversation about decisions made that are inappropriate to the prevailing circumstances on the economy, security, and the like, why not choose musical ensembles appropriate to the weather. Perhaps I am not the musician for the next inaugural, but I can play my melodeon with mittens on in the freezing rain if someone holds an umbrella over me and my instrument.

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