Friday, February 1, 2008

A Fun Filled Friday

That's what the Friends of the LA Philharmonic (LA Phil for short) call these Friday excursions.
Late last year I signed the husband and myself up for a 6 performance series that includes transportation on a very plushy tour bus to the fairly new Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry, a pre-concert event which is a mini lecture by a noted person in the classical music industry, the concert, and a tour of some kind on the way home. Today was the second in our series and, while the first was wonderful, today was fantastic. The pre-concert lecturer was Alan Chapman who composes, hosts a classical radio program, is a Professor of Music and, (here is where I've come upon him) he is the program host of the inflight classical music channel on United Airlines. I learned many things about the music we heard today. And he is very humorous which off sets the sometimes dry side of the classics.

But the real treat was the concert. Itzhak Perlman was conductor/violin for a program of Bach, Mozart and Brahms. If you have ever seen Itzahak perform you will understand when I say I had tears in my eyes. You watch him labor onto the stage, he has braces on both legs and uses a pair of crutches. It makes you weary just watching and you hold your breath, concerned for his safety, as he struggles up onto the podium or into his chair in the violin section. But, once the music starts, he sways and gestures with such grace, and he sends out the most beautiful sound, you forget his disabilities and your own. Magic.

To ice the proverbial cake, we stopped by the LAUSD's instrument repair shop. LA is fortunate that they have been able to continue music programs in the schools when so many districts around the country have been fiscally forced to abandon them. This is in an old and very colorful part of LA. The bus ride past the fashion district, produce markets and general mish mash of a large urban setting was a feast for the eyes. At this point I was berating myself for not having my camera. I love to take pictures from cars, trains, buses, etc. and here was a perfect opportunity. Through the doors of a very nasty old building and...more magic. This is the place where all of the instruments from all of the elementary and secondary schools in all of LA come to be repaired. We are talking 1000's of instruments. Some of them very old.

So, it was just about this time that I realized that although I have no camera, I do have my iPhone which takes decent photos. Couldn't wait to share them with you.

A few of the bins that hold the poor old things as they limp in.

This tech gladly said "yes" when I asked if I could photograph his bench. I promised him he would be famous, appearing on my blog. That's a sousaphone he has apart.

These are very old instruments that are no longer manufactured. Some date from the 1920's and 30's. They keep these guys around for parts.

I think of soldiers, wounded yet standing proud, waiting to get patched up and returned to another tour of duty.

Now this is really crazy, but I thought she looks like she's getting an old fashioned perm.

Still life. I'm going to try to sketch this.

This one of the oldies that is giving up it's life one part at a time. I thought it was regal and beautiful.

This masterpiece is on the top of the bench of a string tech. I wanted to take this home!

Time just seems to have stopped in here. A long time ago I read a book about a piano repair business on the Left Bank in Paris. I can't remember the name of it and I am just too lazy to go look. But all of the ancient, dusty cabinets and tools in this old building seem just like what is described in the book.

I took photos from the bus on the ride home. I like them, but they are not great enough for me to stay up any longer to post them. Believe me, you are not missing much. The bus driver just didn't seem to care that I was trying for that art shot.

I'm still humming the Brahms and entertaining the memory of the things I saw and smelled in that repair shop today.

I'm thinking of Dispatch From LA and her adventures in town and school.

I'm also thinking of bed. Sweet Dreams to all.


reinaswan said...

Sounds like you had a nice trip to LA. It is so much fun to see old things.

Alison Gibbs said...

Laura what a fabulous trip. What fun checking out all those beautiful old instruments.

Tara said...

What a great trip, I'm so glad I came along!

katydiddy said...

Really good pictures. I'm jealous! I bet you could have stayed in the repair shop for hours!

Patience-please said...

How perfectly delightful! And delightfully perfect!
thank you-

Michelle said...

How fun! Reminds me of my mom's cousin who is a famous checslovakian violinist. of course his name escapes me now.