White Sands Sunday, May 24 2009 

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument is 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The snow-like white dunes of gypsum sand cover 275 square miles. The eight mile Dunes Drive is plowed leaving the edge of the road looking like plowed snow.  We walked the one mile Dune Life Nature Trail to gain a sense of how the plants and wildlife have adapted to this desert environment.  The sand has a crust-like composition that makes walking on it easier than the dunes near Florence, Oregon.  Gypsum reflects heat.  The sand itself is cool to the touch while the temperature at five or six feet is twenty degrees hotter.  This site sits between two missile ranges.  The highway is sometimes closed for one to three hours during tests.  Our stop at White Sands was a good break from driving. For $10, my newly acquired Senior Pass will allow me and up to three guests into the 390 parks in the National Park System.  Here’s looking to exploring many of them.

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Paul Revere & Bill Medley Saturday, May 23 2009 

Our recent introduction to Branson, MO included taking in a concert by Paul Revere and the Raiders and Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers.  Branson offers some 120 acts in 50 venues.  Our nostaligic choice left us surrounded by others of our generation.  Andy William’s Moon River Theater was only partially filled.  We enjoyed center seats in the nineth row.  The Raiders are all new although two have been performing with Paul for 36 years.  Revere’s antics continue his life of fun-filled moments after leaving an Idaho potato farm a long time ago.  Bill Medley’s deep, resonant voice is not as smooth as in his Righteous Brothers hits with the late Bob Holliday.  Perhaps his cold slowed him down a bit.  His 22-year-old daugther, McKenna, joined him for a couple of numbers and her own solo.  She has aterific voice and looks great.  Prior to this concert we enjoyed prime rib in a secluded room for two with a view at the Buckingham Restaurant.  Branson deserves more than one day to take in the numerous offerings for every taste.

Hormonal Imbalance Thursday, May 21 2009 

The Columbus, Ohio venues for Four Bitchin’ Babes concerts have changed over the years, as have the performers.  My first concert at the Battelle Auditorium was reminiscent of a high school setting.  About a dozen years ago they performed in a small, intimate space in the Riffe Building.  Last Sunday’s performance was in the beautifully restored Southern Theatre.  The Columbus following of local performer Sally Fingerette has grown.  Debi Smith was a new replacement when they performed in the Riffe.  This time Deidre Flint and Nancy Moran were new voices for me.  The quartet continues to be built on individual performers with their own career.  While some of the spontaneity that was the hallmark of the group formed by Christine Lavin is no longer there, the humor is.  As one of “seven” males in attendance, we were treated to most the material on “Hormonal Imbalance,” including an encore of “Viagra in the Water.”  Word has it that a new album is on the way.

Ioana Galu Sunday, May 3 2009 

The concluding concert of The Central Ohio Symphony’s (CSO) subscription series featured Iona Galu in Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64.  Ms. Galu, a native of Romania, has been the Concertmaster of the CSO since 2006.  She has an impressive resume with a Bachelor degree, two Master degrees and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music from Gheorghe Dima Music Academy of Vluj and Bowling Green State University.  Her stage presence conveyed her virtuosity, especially in rocking her bow eliciting low and high notes during one section.  The bassoons in the second movement sustained the lyrical phrasing of this delightful piece.

The evening’s concert started with The Moldau by Smetana.  This mood piece conjures up the flowing Moldau river from its small two sources to the Elbe.  The evening conluded with yet another Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and his great work, Symphony No. 7 in D minor.  Gray Chapel is a good venue for listening to music and the quality of the performers, IMHO, have improved greatly from when I first attended some twenty years ago.  All in all a fine evening of music worthy of celebrating CSO’s 30th season.