Unexpected treasures of music in Balboa Park.

R. Jelani Eddington rehearses on the Spreckels Organ.
R. Jelani Eddington rehearses on the Spreckels Organ.

Take an amble through San Diego’s amazing Balboa Park and you never know what interesting or beautiful thing you might randomly stumble upon. Early this afternoon I was extremely fortunate!

It isn’t uncommon to hear the music of amateur street musicians throughout the gigantic urban park. Performers of all ages can be found in every nook and cranny playing a harp, a guitar, a violin, drums–you name it–hoping for a tip from generous visitors. Professional musicians, however, play in concerts that are scheduled, publicized, and attended by large, expectant audiences. Usually.

My first lucky discovery was stumbling upon famed theatre organist R. Jelani Eddington in a lengthy rehearsal for Monday night’s International Organ Festival at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Apart from a wedding party taking photographs by the pavilion’s elegant colonnade, and a few passing tourists, I seemed to have the amazing performance all to myself. Wow! The Spreckels Organ was producing pure magic, as the king of instruments was handled with world-class skill. What a privilege to listen!

R. Jelani Eddington was 2001 Theatre Organist Of The Year.
R. Jelani Eddington was 2001 Theatre Organist Of The Year.
The lawn of Balboa Park's International Cottages is empty.
The lawn of Balboa Park’s International Cottages is empty.

My second sensational discovery took place at the more modest International Cottages stage not far away. A duet was playing excellent, moving music to an all but nonexistent audience. It seems the performance was very poorly publicized, or not at all.

Reflections: Jerry and Angie, is the name of the very talented group that was being featured by the House of the United States of America. They were playing folk songs and classic American tunes with banjo and simple, heart-stirring vocals. I’m a sucker for this type of music, and I loved listening to She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain, Country Roads, God Bless America and more. I got a kick at how they treated me and the half a dozen others on the lawn like a regular audience, asking us to sing along and providing interesting comments on many songs. I’ve never heard a banjo so well played.

Reflections is Jerry on banjo and Angie with vocals.
Reflections is Jerry on banjo and Angie with vocals.

Balboa Park contains endless magical surprises!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

One thought on “Unexpected treasures of music in Balboa Park.”

  1. Richard, thanks so much for your follow on Tide Line Still Life. I look forward to the day that
    I can walk and photograph the tide line in your part of this world! Best, Maggie


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