Please make the Chinese music stop

By Luke

I don’t know about you, but there’s a constant soundtrack playing in my head.

Despite the best efforts of science, harvesting the ocean remains a costly undertaking. (Photo courtesy of Stew Dan)

For instance, if you come to the front desk of the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library and start chatting with me, well, your words may be accompanied by Beethoven’s Third Symphony (“Eroica”).

Hiking through the deep woods leading to the Bat Fields off of Iron Bridge Road, and it’s Ludwig V’s magnificent Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Ode to Joy”).

The few times I’ve worn a tuxedo, it’s a pretty good bet that “The James Bond Theme” is playing in the mental background. I know, I know, I’m not really an International Man of Mystery, but it’s as close to excitement and danger as I’m ever likely to get.

Most of my life, this has served me well — it’s made bearable long, drawn-out sessions in waiting rooms and  the wound-tighter-than-a-mainspring atmosphere of final exams; and given me unexpected moments of joy as my mother lay dying from Parkinson’s, unable to feel my tears as they fell upon her waxen face.

It’s a gift, one that I hope is part of your everyday life.

But here’s the rub.

My big, flappy ears mean I’m extremely susceptible to outside influences.

That means a co-worker like Rand Blackwell can, with the judicious application of a few notes from the theme song from the television series What’s Happening!! (Double exclamation points, so you know it’s good!!), stick that tune in my head for as long as he wants. Once it’s burrowed into my brain, it pops up everywhere, every time. See if you can resist this magnificent composition, surely the apotheosis of Late 1970s Sitcom Scoring:

A visit to a Chinese restaurant with traditional music in the background can alter my mind in profound and somewhat disturbing detail for a week at a time.

That’s why I’m grateful that the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival is offered at 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and Mondays at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library.

The festival, now celebrating its 30th season, has won an international reputation for its classical programming (occasionally leavened with jazz, blues and even bluegrass influences), world-class artists and fresh new talents showcasing their extraordinary gifts.

The exquisite frescoed walls of the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library’s Meeting Room provide an unforgettable backdrop for performances of the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival. (Photo courtesy of augschburger)

While reverent to the classical works, the festival is constantly examining fresh variations as evidenced by the July 16th performance by pianists Victor Asuncion, Gary Motley, William Ransom and Philip Thomson – “Jazz Meets Classics,” an exuberant celebration of Bach, Strayhorn, Mozart, Brubeck, Chopin, Gershwin and improvisation; or “Bach ‘n Rach ‘n Roll” on July 25th, an exploration of  the Rachmaninoff’s “Cello Sonata” and Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” featuring violinist Timothy Fain, cellist Chris Rex, and pianists Bruce Murray and Elizabeth Pridgen.

If you’d like to learn more about the Festival, visit www.h-cmusicfestival or call (828) 526-9060.

Let me apologize right now if the Theme from What’s Happening!! is stuck in your head.

All the more reason to join us Saturdays and Mondays.

3 thoughts on “Please make the Chinese music stop

  1. Wow, Luke- I can’t believe I missed out on seeing THAT meeting room when I worked with you Cashiers gentlemen. I’ll bet the acoustics are something else 😉


  2. Luke,
    I can always count on you to suck me in with your creative titles for blog posts! I, too, get music stuck in my head, and will be the old lady at the nursing home who doesn’t know who she is or where she is, but I can sing all the words to all the songs!
    Keep up the good work.


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