Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Amazing events.
Sad. Tragic.
Hard to "keep up appearances" with the aftermath of the hurricane, even though it is faraway. Really part of my job is to sound like a happy normal friend to listeners, be their guide to classical music - and usually that is no problem for me - I'm a typically happy guy (on the outside) :) and sound that way even when I'm not personally happy (not seen very often on this blog anyway.)
Now that is not to say I'd make light of this situation or any other - I can't stand swarmy, empty-headedness.
Luckily NPR and WITF aren't that way.
Oddly enough, recent studies show that classical music is often used as an escape of the everyday life - and that has truly been my case, not really an escape, I didn't the extent of the damages of Katrina - nor does anyone fully yet. However Classical music has that power to overcome the gloom and the immediate sorrow. In my case I think it masked it.

I was talking to a friend who was driving to a later work meeting and she was talking about the gloomy weather...I hadn't been outside, but was gloomy hearing all of the reports - I hadn't seen anything about the hurricane on t.v. until later tonight...yet, I felt the weight walking and the tragedy in the wind this afternoon when I finally did make it outside. Odd how the weather from the storm feels omnious.

So now I'm listening to Beethoven Violin Concerto, after thinking about this entry on the bus ride home. There was a woman complaining about Bush, talking about gas prices.
My parents sound so so, it was a hard talk with them today, my dad says mom is losing strength, and it frightens me. I was worried when I couldn't catch them earlier today. And I try to think how lucky they are (i.e. compared to hurricane victims) - but wish I was closer to help out with them.
Mendelssohn concerto has started and it isn't stopping the tears. But it is an escape I suppose.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Two fers - life and work

Good starts today. Got up, got the trash out, and at work before seven this morning.
Listened to all the interviews I needed to get through for Thursday's show, and am well on the way for it being done.
Good music today - as friends ask, when isn't the music good...but there are days that really sync...bang on all the cylinders.
I remind myself, why not play great music all the time...why wait for a special occasion? It's like life...tell folks you love them, treat others the way you want to be treated...same thing about broadcasting...make every break your best, that someone is tuning in for the first time - and you want them to stay there.
Embrace life and love. Love life and embraces, hahahaha.
Live embracingly and love! Ok, I'll stop.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Just another manic Monday

It was a long day but a good one.
Highlights include a previously skeptical listener complimenting me (he called the WITF listener response line), and watching Sharapova win at the US Open.
The downside was hitting a doorway with my right arm while talking with a coworker - it still hurts and imagine there will be a bruise. I was walking and talking (told him that since I play viola now and then, should know better than to walk and talk - hahahaha) with the programming assistant because a listener HAD to have information on a piece I played a few minutes earlier - the Bachianas Brasilieras #5 Aria with Neville Marriner, the ASMF and soprano Karita Mattila (it's a stellar old philips recording).
So while I hit the heck out of my arm, it was for a good cause. :)
Tonight hasn't been way productive, but good nonetheless.
Hal Weller's website is updated and some plans for Walter Mays' website are in the works.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Yes, I am a dork. I was talking with a coworker yesterday, who thanked me for making a new concert calendar, and he said, "Thanks John. A man of many talents." - I corrected him and made myself laugh, "No, I'm a geek of many interests."
Ok, so I knew how to "engineer" a calendar with software, combining info on graphics and concert details. What can I say, I'm a dork.
I think a new piece called, Dork of all trades, could be a tone poem. Or a scherzo of a symphony.
Didn't compose tonight, or cook really, had leftovers. It's raining and smells great!

Yorkfest today, not to be confused with the blog title, was sweet. Not a highlight of art (ok, I did flirt with the artist across the way from our booth who was painting her Chrysler mini-van) or food, but it was great spending time with WITF staff. Many laughs were had, and I did learn that York is where the Articles of Confederation were signed.

Food wasn't bad, although I never went back to get a Turkey leg, I was happy with the Crabcake sandwich, and later the Brown Cow milkshake.
Other highpoints included being recognized by three listeners (I did have my name tag on though!) AND most of all, the bike ride to WITF today uncovered a great trail...the Harrisburg Greenbelt. This is amazing.

Really! The Harrisburg Greenbelt is a charming trail, paved, and lots of information along it, and places to picnic, stop, learn and it's simply gorgeous. I will definitely return...good exercise too. Also nice to know I could bike to work now and then.

Started playoff play on my recently purchased EA Sports NHL 2004. Mondo time zapper, no laundry done tonight! - but lots of fun.

Tomorrow I need to do some web updates, think about ClassicallyHip changes too. Looking forward to Ethel.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wake up!

Well, while I don't think about it often, unless it is one extreme or another, there are days that you wake up on the right side, or the wrong side of bed. Today it seems it is the right side. Woohoo! (Technically it should be disclosed I sleep on the left side of the bed.)
I figured out the optimum bus schedule, after having just enough sleep and not needing a blanket WITH the windows open.
Work has gone well, good discussions, interviews and planning. Things seem under control and organized. And yet not too stale.
Tonight is the new Tasty Travels with Rachael Ray.

Rachael's show was so fun! And she went to the meat packing district - had lunch where Thomas, Suzanna and I went for drinks, Pastis! (See the August 1, 2005 post) How cool is that!

What else?
Busy weekend, look for updates on Yorkfest and Gretna Music - I imagine to write quite a bit about Ethel on Sunday.
It's nice waking up, and on the right side!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Looking back

Today would have been Bernstein's 87th birthday...I remember back in 1990 hearing about his death on the radio...I remember being in the basement of the house I was sharing with two brass players, it's really a vivid memory...just a few weeks before Copland had passed away also...leaving America with two musical losses.
Now, 15 years later, I'm on the other side of the speakers, and programmed quite a bit of Bernstein, his music and his performances.
Back in 1990 I soon explored Bernstein's writings much more so, I had already gotten his Joy of Music, but went on to buy other books and writings, even a nice book of mostly photos, like this one: of him conducting, Bernstein Remembered. I unpacked it last night.
Right now, listening to the Chichester Psalms, I remember playing viola in an orchestra conducted by another great American musician, Robert Shaw during a residency he did at Wichita State. Also on that program was the Durufle Requiem. The Bernstein went off really well, but the Durufle peaked too soon - that is the dress rehearsal was amazing - but the performance had many mistakes and didn't feel right - literally gave it all at the dress and it suffered. It was also a performance that used a male soprano in the second movement - he went on to do some work with Shaw in France, as well as the choral conductor, one of the most dedicated and talented conductors I know, Robert Glasmann.
Seems like yesterday and at the same time, like a hundred years ago.
Nice memories nonetheless.
Here's to you Lenny!

Monday, August 22, 2005


Laundry sorted and getting hooked up, printer soon...boxes of cds and books on shelves. The simple things in life coming together, it's a great feeling. Reading books may get moved to the commute only, or just before bed, but planning to take some time with RR and 30 minutes meals, and for the Closer tonight...haven't watched much TV, although all the Bond on AMC has been great.
Also been trying to keep up email with friends, sometimes a difficult task!
Websites are way behind, I need to update Hal Weller dot com and to create Walter Mays dot com - which will be fun, but yet ANOTHER thing to do.
Life's rich pageant.

Lots getting done at work too, interviews coming together, it's nice getting ahead. Trying to put in a lot to the air sound and for promos. This preparation is key. Speaking of which...later!

Friday, August 19, 2005


Ah, nice rainy weather. The end of summer is around the corner...mind you Labor Day isn't even here yet, but it feels that way. School is starting (seeing ads on t.v. and hearing from friends who are parents.) Soon I'll be raking leaves!
Also, this weekend my roommates/landlords move to Penn State. It's hard, they are very charming and sweet. But it means I can do more unpacking and get settled in - a good thing.
Things to work on: writing some short stories, transcribing interviews for my book, practice violin, study musical scores, compose...ah, life's rich pageant.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


And I don't mean those compilation cds from Capitol records of jazz organs...rather keeping my ducks in a row. I'm looking forward to having things right at home. That means planning time for violin, writing, composing and web designing. Oh, and this blog, hehehe.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Had a chance to talk with the music director of the Harrisburg Symphony, Stuart Malina will air in September. I always enjoy talking with musicians. And having heard Stuart play chamber music, I'm looking forward to seeing him conduct. By all accounts, the Hbg Symphony is a good regional orchestra and I will definitely catch their first concert.
It makes me think about not only sharing classical music, like I do every day on air, but discussing it. I've missed getting a chance to talk with friends about music, so it's nice to make new acquaintances...not that I don't stay in touch with friends, but there is a local element...makes it more immediate. I'll always discuss musical matters with previous friends, colleagues and teachers, miles away. But there is something about being connected in your community, musically.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Making a difference

Two things have recently affected me. Today. August 16th, 2005.
One, a close friend called and passed along info about one of her close friends, who passed away suddenly:
He too was a classical announcer (and engineer - trust me, I weigh too much to climb on a tower and while I love the technical side, will never be an engineer!) and while I never met Frosty, I know how much he meant to my friend, and as the site shows, to his listeners. I don't often think about this aspect of my friends or the result of radio work, but it is there.
Oddly, this comes the morning after a workshop last night about classical announcing:
Frank Dominguez from WDAV talked and discussed broadcasting with the classical FM staff. It was great to discuss our craft and hear examples from around the world, and from our own staff.
Really an inspiration, and a view.
Do what matters, and what makes you happy. But do it well, your absolute best. When you have been in an environment that is less than ideal, who put up defenses and can get in a rut, to just do the get by, to survive.
That's not the case for me anymore in my work, I can excel and should. Don't just get by, but relish the tasks.

Friday, August 12, 2005


I'm reading Marcia Davenport's Mozart biography, "Mozart" and ran across this passage:

"The typical great musician is much more apt to settle down by the side of any woman who can make him physically comfortable, satisfy all his creature needs, and remove personal and emotional irritants from his consciousness, leaving him free to function in an ideational world of his own. There have been very conspicuous exceptions to this rule, but even more decided proofs of it. From old Bach with his twenty children to the half-dozen oustanding virtuosi of the twentieth century, it is seen to be true. Of course musicians are no more monogamous than other men."

Wow! I'd use it as an email signature if it wasn't so long.


I'm trying to read alot about Mozart before this big celebration coming up in January, the 250th Anniversary of his birth. I've played lots of his music, and read lots of books years ago, so it's nice to come back to it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Discussions - No stress!

Had a great talk last night with friends...they were commenting on how relaxed I was, and how satisfied I seemed. I do and I am. That is, I love to relax...I often say "No Stress!" - and mean it! As for being satisfied, I'm at that point in life where I truly want to be happy. I was a manager in Las Vegas at the radio station, and here I'm an announcer. So what. I do good work, respect my peers and I believe, vice-versa. I love what I do. I'm still the same John Clare, whether I'm leading a station, or just being on air.
Here I'll have time to play violin and start my book on modern composers. It's going to take some time, but I'm looking forward to it. "No stress."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Another Day

It's midweek and all is well. Been thinking about exercising more, composing and life in general. My landlords/temporary roommates arrived last night from their vacation in Cape Cod. It was nice to catch up with them. Things will definitely be more lonely when they go to State College later this month. But it will also give me a little more freedom. I still haven't unpacked everything yet, and I really should. Another thing to add to the mix...getting my clothes unpacked and organized. I'll defintely need my winter clothes here, which is a funny thought considering that today is an ozone action day (may reach 100 - in feeling, not actual degrees!) Also makes me quite proud to be commuting on the bus. After a talk with Thomas this weekend, and hearing gas prices in Germany are basically $6.00 a gallon - and knowing things aren't gonna get better soon...of course, another funny thought, how does this affect C.I.R.I.? Hmmm.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Ah, New York. The weekend was a total blast.
I'll definitely be back and forth, for concerts and seeing friends. Thomas and his wife were so much fun - it was cool hanging out with them, and practicing my German and helping with their english. Oh, and did I mention food?! OMG, I have to be sure and walk alot! Thomas is heading on to Las Vegas for a few days, while his wife has to go back to Germany for her work.
Here is a picture of the crazy German pianist: