Robert Spano Wins Musical America’s Conductor of the Year

8 11 2007

The Atlanta Symphony’s fearless maestro, Robert Spano, has been named Conductor of the Year by the industry standard-bearer Musical AmericaPlaybill has more…

Atlanta Symphony music director Robert Spano has become a standard-bearer for innovative orchestral programming. Now in his sixth year with the orchestra, he has spearheaded successful recording ventures and commissioned several new works. Earlier this month, the Atlanta Symphony received a $1 million grant to help fund its Altanta School of Composers, through which it has commissioned Jennifer Higdon, Michael Gandolfi, Christopher Theofanidis and Osvaldo Golijov, among others; in June, ASCAP awarded the orchestra its top Adventurous Programming Award, the John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music.

If you haven’t been to the symphony since the Robert Shaw era, now is the time to return. With Spano’s influence, the ASO has become one of the most forward-thinking and celebrated orchestras in the country and one of the only U.S. orchestras that still produces studio recordings of its work.  If I do say so myself (as a member of the ASO chorus)!

Check out the ASO’s 2007/2008 schedule and purchase tix here.

Decatur Stadium Gets More Press

8 11 2007

“Last Hurrah” Photo Courtesy of the AJC

The AJC writes about last week’s “Last Hurrah” for Decatur Stadium, which will be torn down later this year, and notes some of the 1940 stadium’s history…

“The field is believed to be the first on a Georgia high school campus to stage a lighted game in 1930. The stadium, built in 1940, had been metro Atlanta’s oldest.

Decatur had state championship teams in 1949 and 1950. Trinity High, Decatur’s school for blacks until the system desegregated in 1967, was a state champion in 1965.

NFL stars Larry Morris and Clarence Scott and legendary Arkansas coach Frank Broyles called the stadium home.

Bill Clinton held a political rally in the stadium in 1992, and an Olympic soccer exhibition and concerts were held in 1996.”

Concrete and grass make way for metal and artifical turf!

Isn’t it interesting how much development Decatur saw in the early 1940s? While most American towns are devoid of development from this era due to WWII, Decatur has residential development and a stadium that date from the late 1930s/early 1940s. What else?

For Our Soldiers, Sacrifice Takes Many Forms

8 11 2007

They give up everything, and then if they survive, spend the rest of their lives trying to get some of it back. For some, they don’t have the support system back home to get them through the physical and psychological struggle. But why do they end up on the streets?

From the AP

“Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.

And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.

In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000.

Some advocates say the early presence of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started showing up among the homeless. Advocates worry that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly vulnerable.”

Some predict that Iraq War vets, like those returning from Vietnam, will again be blatantly ignored by the country they served. For once, I choose to be optimistic. In this war, unlike Vietnam, the criticism is rightfully pointed at the administration and not the troops on the ground. When these soldiers return home, they have the opportunity to become a powerful political force. One that understands the realities of war and the true sacrifice of future generations. Then maybe, just maybe, vets will get the political and financial support they deserve.