Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 266 Dave Bennett -“From Swing to Rock” with Pittsburgh Symphony POPS-Musical Journey

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra collaborated with  Dave Bennett to bring the  legendary  swing sound of Benny Goodman and the rock n’ roll sounds of   Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, and Johnny Cash to Heinz Hall  in the show “From Swing to Rock”this weekend.  Dave Bennett, a self-taught jazz clarinet player, also played the electric guitar, piano, drums and sang, taking everyone on a musical journey with the Grammy winning Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Sarah Hicks.
Sarah Hicks

Dave Bennett with his multi talented repertoire had the audience on a musical ride from the 1930's big band swing era to the 1950's rock n' roll beginnings. Opening with "In the Mood", he played the clarinet just like the famous Benny Goodman. He then slid into a "Swing Medley" adding five more big band favorites with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “Serenade in Blue” with the  full sounding orchestra  was “dreamy” but during most of this set, I wanted to jump up and do a jitterbug. I joined many in the audience who were tapping their feet and bobbing to this music.     
Bennett playing Jerry Lee Lewis Medley
Then Dave Bennett transitioned into  piano playing  Jerry Lee Lewis with a medley of six songs which ended with “Whole Lot of Shakin Going On”.  He injected  energetic key pounding adding his foot to the keys, which is characteristic  of “wild man” Lewis!

It was a fun ride.  Bennett even produced that smooth low tone “Elvis voice” with his  guitar riffs  which made the Elvis Medley from “Heart Break Hotel” to  “"Blue Suede Shoes" bounce. He then cruised into “Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” which was impressive with the added symphonic sound.  

In the second half, there was a  Johnny Cash set and Bennett performed his original “Lonesome Highway” . The jazzy "Wichita Lineman" allowed his band to jam  and then “Sing Sing Sing”  gave us all a little more big band sound near the conclusion of the show both of which are on  Bennett's new CD, Blood Moon.

Sarah Hicks was wonderful to watch as she conducted the PSO down this musical  highway.   Bennett  and his jazz band with the Pittsburgh Symphony gave us a  fantastic whimsical  musical journey from swing to rock n’ roll!

I will definitely keep the Pittsburgh Symphony POPS 2017-2018 season in my survival tool box. I am looking forward to  Midtown Men, with the  four original Broadway singers  from Jersey Boys, continuing the musical journey  through the 60’s with this  Grammy winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Spiritual Reflection
And the priest said to them,"Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord"  (Judges 18:6)

Other Sources
Blood Moon
Benny Goodman Sing Sing Sing

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 265 Multiple Choice Events at Wilson Center- (Meetings) Anthony Hamliton, Experimental Dance

Movement  performed to the sound of 64 miniature robotic devices that  produce  rhythms for the  show Meetings is definitely thinking outside the box which is just what Austrian choreographer, Anthony Hamilton is known for, and is  just what this blog is all about.  I was excited to experience Hamiton's collaboration with dancer, composer and sound engineer, Alisdair Macindoe, which brought  a unique performance duo for  another Multiple Choice Event to the August Wilson Center. I was ready for Meetings, my first  “experimental dance/sound instillation” experience!  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February Preview and My Choices for Valentine's Day Weekend

Since this blog is  all about keeping a forward trajectory in midst of change and reaching your personal best, I wanted to preview some of my planned experiences in  the hope  that it will inspire some to join in. As Dale Carnegie once said, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Let's all get busy!

Pittsburgh Ballet-Swan Lake-February 16-25, 2018-Benedum 

The pinnacle of classical ballet is reached in the love story, Swan Lake with  Tchaikovsky's masterful  score performed by PBT Orchestra.  In this ballet  an  evil sorcerer casts a spell that turns a princess into a swan by day and human at night. The spell is only broken by true love (of course). The princess  and  prince  fall in love but the sorcerer sends his daughter (the black swan) to trick him into professing his love to this impostor - fairy tale drama to match the fairy tale dance.

I can not wait to experience the scenic beauty and the  masterful classic ballet technique  of the the graceful swan, and the power of the black swan with  jumps and turns and the famous 32 fouette turns (whipping turns) in Act 3.

Join me and celebrate  Valentine’s Day weekend with  Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's  Swan Lake which runs  Feb. 16-25, 2018 at the Benedum Center. For tickets go to

Blog Post to Follow

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Day 264- Pittsburgh Broadway Series, Wicked The Musical-Friendship and Love in a Mysterious World

Even as an adult I loved the mysterious land of Oz in the movie The Wizard of Oz. The musical, Wickedtells us more about this world. It’s the story about a woman born with green skin who is misunderstood and labeled because of her appearance. She becomes the Wicked Witch of the West but as a young girl she had a beautiful popular friend, Glinda, the Good Witch. Wicked is an adventure about political struggles, social injustice, but mostly, friendship and  love in this mysterious world.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Day 263 Pittsburgh Dance Council-Grupo Corpo- Contemporary Brazilian Dance Company/Breezy and Fiery

I  love the ballet so  Grupo Corpo,  an internationally acclaimed Brazilian dance company that mixes ballet with other dance forms like samba, bossa nova, and modern dance piqued my interest. Pittsburgh Dance Council recently brought this company to the Byham Theater. The company preformed Suite Branca, a monochrome white dance piece and  Dance Sinfonica. This contemporary melting pot of dance styles  was a new visual experience that I would describe as cool and breezy, and then hot and fiery!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Day 262- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra-The Firebird and More

The Pittsburgh Symphony 2018 session opened this weekend with Juanjo Mena conducting. I have ventured to the POPS in the past but I was now ready to experience the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in the more "classical sense".  I love the ballet, The Firebird  (I even saw the movie), so I  was ready to enjoy the flight in Stravinsky's composition for his first ballet in 1910.  There also was a lot more to this program and I was excited to also experience my first flute concerto with Principle Flutist Lorna McGhee in this classical musical evening.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Day 261 The Frick-“Undressed” -An Underwear Exhibition

In this empty- nest period, I have made experiencing art a staple in my life (see Days 88 and 188) but I never  envisioned that I would be viewing undergarments as the subject of an art exhibit! The Frick Art and History Center always brings interesting art shows to this town and Undressed, about the design of underwear, seemed too unique to pass up especially when The Frick Art and History Center is the exclusive North American venue for this exhibition organized by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum!   When you think about it, an undergarment is the closest thing to our body and wearing "granny panties" or "a lacy something" from Victoria Secret says something about you, so why wouldn't  the evolution of underwear design say something about our society?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Day 260 -Pittsburgh Broadway Series -Love Never Dies-Look With Your Heart

The story and music from the musical, The Phantom of the Opera, brought me to tears about 20 years ago The new musical, Love Never Dies, is a sequel to that show and continues the story of the Paris Opera Phantom who now  in  1907 orchestrates the music behind a burlesque/freak show, Phantasma, on Coney Island in New York City.  He continues to long for his  love and to hear his protegee opera soprano, Christine Daae', sing again.  I was excited to experience my first sequel to a beloved musical and hear Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new composition telling the unique story of love between two people bonded by the beauty of music and not physical  aesthetics.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January Preview of Events and Posts

Since this blog is  all about keeping a forward trajectory in midst of change and reaching your personal best, I wanted to preview some of my planned experiences in  the hope  that it will inspire some to join in. As Dale Carnegie once said, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Let's all get busy!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Day 259 Cirque Dreams Holidaze

I  experienced the glitz of Cirque Dreams Holidaze last year. The show is back with it's 10th Anniversary Tour on December 29 and 30th.

My blog inspiration book, Little Golden Books, reminds us that, “Christmas is a time to go all out.” That is just what Cirque Dreams Holidaze is all about-going all out and celebrating  everything  “Holidaze.”  I thought that after Christmas day, this show would keep the energy going.  It did that with  jazzed up variety and circus acts plus a lot of  glitz.