Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Chapel Hill, NC, United States

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Composer Cookout

This past weekend provided an opportunity to reconnect with some old friends that belong to the universe of composers.

We had them over for a cookout on Saturday, just before the torrential rains passed through the area. The storm system was related to hurricane Bill, which did not make landfall, but passed by without major incident. Intense and tropical summer weather was the order of the day, and the heat and humidity remained in the atmosphere long after the heavy downpours.

The composers at the gathering included John Watrous, Herman Weiss, Pasquale Tassone, Eric Schwartz, Armand Qualliotine, and myself. The accompanying "civilian" population included our beautiful, kind, tolerant, and sympathetic spouses as well as a mutual good friend Lora Martino. The common theme was that Lora's late husband Don had been our teacher at one time or another.

Occasionally related and random teenagers would stop by to grab a hamburger and look puzzlingly at the assortment of people crowded onto our small deck behind the house. The old folks talked about violinist Rudoff Kolish, his Orgone energy collector, choral conductor Lorna Cooke de Varron ("Cookie"), and many other people or musical connections that are common between us.

Renowned composer/orchestrator Conrad Pope dialed in with Skype from California to video conference with the us. He has been working hard as usual in that business. For the past 25 years or so, Conrad has labored around the clock and on weekends to meet deadlines for Hollywood movie productions. If you have been to see any movies in the past few decades, you have heard his soundtracks.

The cookout was a success, and somehow I was able to manage being a host and the Skype video conference in addition to grilling chicken, hamburger, chicken breast, fish, and vegetables on a charcoal grill located well behind the house. We used a basket on a rope to periodically deliver the cooked (and over-cooked) food items up to the hungry composers waiting on the deck above. Everyone brought wonderful side dishes, and nobody went home hungry.