Community volunteers beautify City Heights!

Today I headed to City Heights to join a group of community members in a very special event. Today is the Global Day of Caring, and our mission was to pick up litter and cheer on artists as they painted a couple of new street murals!

This inspiring event was organized by Love City Heights and made possible by a very generous donation from Huntington Ingalls Industries, which operates one of the largest shipyards in San Diego.

A diverse group of volunteers came together in the space behind the Treasure Trove antique store for the big clean up. I noticed that many hands were provided by the San Diego Asian Youth Organization!

After scouring the sidewalks near several blocks of University Avenue for trash, we all enjoyed a super tasty lunch served up by Brochachos Tacos and Faith Chapel of Spring Valley.

During the event there was a variety of fun activities. A colorful mural was being painted by Matthew Curtis (@naylorcurtis). And there was face painting, too!

Large permanent murals were also being created by street artists a block away at two separate locations. I’ll blog about those next…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A sidewalk poem expresses gratitude.

Grateful words. A chalk poem on a sidewalk.
Grateful words. A chalk poem on a sidewalk.

I discovered a poem that was written on the sidewalk yesterday. Chalk words express gratitude.

You might enjoy reading this simple, heartfelt poetry:

I fell a far distance –
You caught me many, many
Times – Awoken revived thankful
to be alive – Living is a privilege
Take care – See the life you’ve
been given – Cherish it

VEND-o-MATIC supplies Faith, Hope, Peace, Love.

An unusual VEND-o-MATIC vending machine on El Cajon Boulevard near 52nd Street dispenses Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. Place your hand where indicated, make the selection of your choice by pressing a button, and the goodness is beamed directly through your arm into your heart.

From the way the paint has aged, I guess this VEND-o-MATIC has probably seen a great deal of use.

You can never have too much of good things.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Remembering the music of Jared Jacobsen.

Notes of elegance and joy are missing from the world.

Today, during the Sunday organ concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I learned that former San Diego Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen has passed away.

The news is sudden and painful.

I don’t believe I ever heard Jared play during his tenure as San Diego Civic Organist, which lasted from 1978 to 1984. But I have occasionally heard him playing the Spreckels Organ as a Sunday substitute, and have been dazzled by his artistry during past International Summer Organ Festivals.

The music that flowed through him was polished, elegant and above all joyful.

His notes uplifted every person who listened in the audience. He made thousands of lives more beautiful. He had a great smile and sense of humor, and uncommon poise, and a love for the organ, the King of Instruments. His passion came through during every performance.

I was told a memorial concert is being planned, to be held during an evening at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

I just want to say I miss him.

Music like shadow and sunlight in leaves.

This evening I enjoyed another extraordinary concert of the 2019 San Diego International Organ Festival.

In a groundbreaking musical performance, San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez was joined on stage by a symphonic string quartet. Kathryn Hatmaker and Wesley Precourt played violin; Hanah Stuart played viola; and Alex Greenbaum played violoncello. The result was nothing less than brilliant.

The highlight of the concert was a sublime performance of César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor, transcribed by Raúl Prieto Ramírez for the organ.

The resonant voice of the Spreckels Organ and the yearning quality of the strings combined to bring forth exquisitely complex emotions. Bittersweet joy and heartbreak flowed together. The notes were rich with passion and tinged with regret. A whole lot like life.

A standing ovation concluded the evening.

Before the concert began in Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I walked through the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden.

When I saw my photographs of the garden’s natural beauty, it occurred to me that the music this evening was much like shadow and sunlight in leaves.

The rare magic produced this evening was the result of three San Diego treasures coming together: the world-class San Diego Symphony with its many talented musicians, one of the world’s most accomplished organists, and the Spreckels Organ, one of the most amazing musical instruments in the world.

May this magic become a tradition.

The promise of musical power.

Tomorrow evening’s San Diego International Organ Festival’s concert is going to be awesome. I heard part of the rehearsal today.

The majestic Spreckels Organ accompanied by beautifully played string instruments is too emotionally powerful for words.

Starting at 7:30 pm on Monday, August 26, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez will be joined by four accomplished chamber musicians, including members of the San Diego Symphony.

You can sense the musical power a little bit in a few of these photos.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A most extraordinary organ concert.

Over the years, during the course of many International Summer Organ Festivals in Balboa Park, I’ve been fortunate to hear concerts by some of the greatest organists in the world.

But this evening’s concert was extraordinary.

I’m at a loss for words to describe how much I was moved by the masterful, absolutely astonishing performance by Gunnar Idenstam.

Gunner Idenstam, from Sweden, has distinguished himself by winning some of the highest prizes and honors in the organ world. In 1984 he won the very prestigious international competition in improvisation, the Grand Prix de Chartres.

His concert tonight, to my ear, was perfect. He made the Spreckels Organ sound like a sparkling heart.

From his fingertips, through the pipes, came waves and droplets and streams of emotion from the deepest wells. The organ’s voice was complex, subtle, dancing, regal, triumphant, exuberant, sometimes manic, and it soared and soared, and stirred, and soared again, lifting me to a place of pure, exalted emotion.

I don’t know how to describe it.

Parts of his composition Metal Angel were so exultant I almost felt myself flying.

Listening with my eyes closed, I could feel my spirit whirling forward through an epic story. With victory in reach.