KMFA, Michelle Schumann, and more

1/27/2011 Thursday 10:23 pm

The first big thing that happened today was a trip to KMFA 89.5FM at 9AM (which took me along the route to Taco Deli where I was obliged to stop for one of their delicious potato, egg, cheese, and avocado breakfast tacos, mm mm good) where I avidly pitched on-air for them for their 44th birthday fund drive!  I actually enjoy doing that quite a bit.  I love the folks at KMFA: Jeffrey, Joan, Alison, Lauren, Suzanne, Dianne, and so many more.  It’s a great environment to be in, but more than that I love sitting across the console from Dianne (Donovan), and talking about the value our community has for the fine cultural arts here in Austin.  I actually enjoy the challenge of coming up with ways to talk about the great things happening here in Austin and, of course, turning that into overt requests for folks to pledge – by calling 4-7-2-2-2-2-1, right now, to support our classical music radio station.  Today I came armed with a handful of giveaways – 3 pairs tix to Xuefei Yang, 3 pairs tix to David Russell, and one chance to win a pair of tix to our huge gala on February 12th.  It wasn’t even fair!  I think folks just had to call!  Well, I’m extremely happy to report that the drive-hour I was on was a big success and I was informed that we broke some kind of record for the amount of money we raised – I’m not sure what record it was, but we raised a bunch and had a terrific time doing it!

One trip home – and one flurry of emails later – I was off to see Michelle Schumann, phenomenal pianist and fearless leader of the Austin Chamber Music Center, at Blue Star Cafe on Lamar – our official meeting place.  Michelle and I get together a few times a year to commiserate about our lives as nonprof arts execs, and, of course, to scheme fun ways we can work together.  I should say that we are – for each other – two of the first people we met in Austin.  Michelle and I both started graduate school in music at UT and attended the very first orientation session in 1996 together – choke – 15 years ago!  So it’s funny to now be in our respective roles.  Commiserate and scheme we did!  Of the former – I’m not revealing anything and shame on you for wondering (!), of the latter, we’re having fun planning a collaboration on a Tango concert we’re co-presenting at the Mexican American Cultural Center on July 16th.  It’s gonna be big fun – and it’ll be totally sold out – that tends to happen when Michelle and I get ACGS and ACMC tgoether!

Here we are after our tasty Blue Star lunch!

I also wanted to share some sentiments that have come in from cyber-land.  I got a wonderful email from a high school student somewhere in New Mexico yesterday, here’s and excerpt:

“I am an aspiring guitarist…my guitar teacher gave our classes a couple of pieces to practice reading and playing from one of your books. The two pieces were Pendulum Waltz and Sand Dunes. I am very fond of waltzes and classical music in general, so naturally these two songs caught my attention immediately…I  was if you had any advice for an aspiring young music writer? I love to tinker around on the guitar and piano and find little things to write here and there, but I would like to one day write at least one official song, even if I never get to produce it. Do you have any advice on how to go about actually putting what might be playable pieces and segments of songs together to sort of create a flow that might compile a song? I have several tiny short segments a few notes long, but I don’t know how to even find what key I might think I am playing in. I just want to figure out a way to fit them together to solve a kind of puzzle in my mind.”

Isn’t that the coolest the thing in the whole world?  I just love getting messages like this one from young artists who are at the outset of discovering the amazing things they will discover.

I’m also pleased to report that I got my first online review of Creativity to Community: Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time today!  5 Stars!  Check out the review here.

And that’s about it!  Well, I posted a new blog at ACGS about John Henry McDonald that’s fun to read!  I did a brief interview with him on the occasion of he and Austin Asset Management Company being our presenting sponsors of our February 12th gala.  Oh, and our two new series are now online: Classical Cactus and Austin Guitar Salon!  Check ’em out!

OK, off to bed soon.  Tomorrow is a big day.  At 1:30 I’m supposed to give a 90 minute talk and performance for UT Forum – a continuing ed program for retirees at UT at the Thompson Conference Center – typical audiences range into the 100s!  I’m talking, of course, about guitar and community service.  While at Ut, I’m having a meeting with the grad students who teach in the UT String Project Guitar Division – a program I consult on and help set curriculum for.  Good, clean, fun!

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