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.

Talented kids play the Spreckels Organ!

By far, the best part of my day in Balboa Park was the two o’clock Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez introduced four amazing kids, who each proceeded to play complex musical pieces!

These amazing local students range from 9 years old to 11th grade. The audience listened attentively as Aska Enomoto, Blake Bundschuh, Declan Bohley and Stephen Priest made the king of instruments come alive. Each young person explained why they loved playing organ. All received trophies for their outstanding achievements!

Only the most talented musicians are allowed to play the historic Spreckels Organ, the world’s largest outdoor musical instrument!

My blog doesn’t feature sound, unfortunately, so these photos will have to suffice. A picture might not be worth a thousand notes, but perhaps you can hear a majestic note or two coming through your eyes.

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!

Manifest Your Future in amazing Balboa Park.

Young members of the De La Motte Strings have a bright musical future.
Young members of the De La Motte Strings have a bright musical future.

Please enjoy these photographs of life in Balboa Park. I took them today.

Is Balboa Park in your future?

Manifest Your Future in Balboa Park!
Manifest Your Future in Balboa Park!
Beautiful music beckons.
Beautiful music beckons.
Art students from Canyon Crest Academy show their art in Spanish Village. Each student has an amazing future.
Art students from Canyon Crest Academy show their art in Spanish Village. Each student has an amazing future.
Savera Soin's future will be filled with color.
Savera Soin’s future will be filled with color.
Moving ahead to find new wonders.
Moving ahead to find new wonders.
Perhaps a cactus is also in your future.
Perhaps a cactus from a San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society show and sale is in your future.
A couple moves forward down a winding path through the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A couple moves forward down a winding path through the Japanese Friendship Garden.
For the foreseeable future (until July 21, 2019) visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy an exhibition of art by Kathleen Kane-Murrell.
For the foreseeable future (until July 21, 2019) visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy an exhibition of art by Kathleen Kane-Murrell.
Magic might suddenly appear in your future.
Magic might suddenly appear in your future.
Yummy samples of Cheez-It Snap'd treats were in my future. At present they are in my stomach.
Yummy samples of Cheez-It Snap’d treats were in my future. I couldn’t avoid them! At present they are in my stomach.
Mysterious eyes peer from the future of some. It all depends where feet turn.
These mysterious eyes peer from the future of a few. It all depends where feet turn.
Enjoy every day. That future is now.
Enjoy every day. That future is now.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Art from San Diego’s skateboarding underground.

Another cool new exhibition has recently opened at the San Diego History Center!

I’m Not Like You: Notes from the San Diego Underground features photographs, print media, art and ephemera that concerned skateboarding during the late 1970s through early 1990s, before the internet became central to many young people.

While the emphasis of this exhibition is on skateboarding, the colorful displays also depict the popularity of other underground subcultures, and explore topics like graffiti, breakdancing, punk and hip-hop music. The handmade posters and flyers on the gallery’s walls that were once used to promote concerts and underground parties have largely become a thing of the past. They’ve been replaced by social media in our Digital Age.

These photos represent just a fraction of the bold artwork you’ll see. Head over to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park before October 27, 2019 when this exhibition, too, becomes history.

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 heart on the ground. Music on a rooftop.

A couple days ago I noticed two hearts while walking through downtown.

One was lying on the hard sidewalk, protected with sharp barbs. The other was up on a rooftop, in a musician playing violin. The musician’s heart was precarious, vulnerable and free.

Do you protect your heart? Do you express it?

To read thoughtful short stories about the complex human condition, click Short Stories by Richard.

Students create art for North Park festival!

Fourth and fifth grade students at Jefferson IB STEAM Magnet School created a bunch of cool art for the SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park!

I spotted their artwork in the windows of the Target store on University Avenue. The theme is love of music…

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!

Art and architecture at La Jolla’s Athenaeum.

The southwest corner of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla.
The southwest corner of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla.

Visit the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla and you’ll find yourself moving through a warm, polished, light-infused world where beautiful dreams are sustained. Last weekend I stepped through the library’s doors and was amazed by what I discovered.

The Athenaeum is home to a large, regionally important collection of books and media concerning music and art, and a permanent collection of artwork. It is a repository for beauty that is timeless. The library is refined and welcoming, like a fine museum.

Each quiet room is a refuge for the contemplative mind. And a richly furnished temple for the heart. And a universe brimming with inspiration and creativity to nourish the human spirit.

The Athenaeum is one of only 16 nonprofit membership libraries in the United States. As you might imagine, it has a very unique history.

In 1894 a group of six women came together to create the La Jolla Reading Club. Five years later a cottage-like Reading Room was built at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue. The most notable founding member, the first president of the Library Association of La Jolla, was wealthy newspaper publisher, philanthropist and La Jolla resident Ellen Browning Scripps.

In 1921 a larger Spanish Renaissance-style building replaced the Reading Room. The elegant new structure was designed by famous architect William Templeton Johnson, who also designed the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Much of the funding for the new building came from Scripps. Kate Sessions, the horticulturist often referred to as the Mother of Balboa Park, planted an outside garden.

In 1957 the library opened the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room with its striking rotunda, designed by artist and architect William Lumpkins.

In subsequent years additional expansions were made, which allowed for the founding of the Athenaeum’s School of the Arts. Today the expansive library hosts art exhibitions, galas and musical concerts throughout the year.

How does one describe the rare beauty of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library?

Here are a few photos…

Posted at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue are many cultural events hosted by the Athenaeum.
Posted at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue are many cultural events hosted by the Athenaeum.
Plaque in Memory of Florence Sawyer Bransby, who purchased this corner lot in 1895 and on it built La Jolla's First Library, The Reading Room.
Plaque in Memory of Florence Sawyer Bransby, who purchased this corner lot in 1895 and on it built La Jolla’s First Library, The Reading Room.
People walk along Girard Avenue beside the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
People walk along Girard Avenue beside the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
Banner by window of the library building designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Banner by window of the library building designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Photo of the library's iconic rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins.
Photo of the library’s iconic rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins.
Bronze artwork near the Athenaeum's rotunda. Young Girl Holding Book by Merrell Gage, 1925.
Bronze artwork near the Athenaeum’s rotunda. Young Girl Holding Book by Merrell Gage, 1925.
Approaching the entrance to the Athenaeum.
Approaching the entrance to the Athenaeum.
A library cart full of books entices passersby.
A library cart full of books entices passersby.
By the front door is a plaque. This library built and furnished through the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps.
By the front door is a plaque. This library built and furnished through the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps.
Inside the beautiful, welcoming Athenaeum. Gazing east at shelves and windows.
Inside the beautiful, welcoming Athenaeum. Gazing east at shelves and windows.
Gazing west toward the the Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Gazing west toward the the Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
When I visited the Athenaeum, I enjoyed an art exhibition in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery titled Music in the Key of Blue.
When I visited the Athenaeum, I enjoyed an art exhibition in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery titled Music in the Key of Blue.
As I walked about the library, I spotted many works in the Athenaeum's permanent art collection.
As I walked about the library, I spotted many works in the Athenaeum’s permanent art collection.
10 Items or Less, 1974, Kim MacConnel. Gouache on paper.
10 Items or Less, 1974, Kim MacConnel. Gouache on paper.
Sheet music collage by Alexis Smith, 1997, used for Athenaeum music program covers 2015/2016.
Sheet music collage by Alexis Smith, 1997, used for Athenaeum music program covers 2015/2016.
The Athenaeum, 2004, Derek Boshier. Hand-colored silkscreen print. Patron Gift.
The Athenaeum, 2004, Derek Boshier. Hand-colored silkscreen print. Patron Gift.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 2002, Raul Guerrero. Ink and collage on paper. Patron Gift.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 2002, Raul Guerrero. Ink and collage on paper. Patron Gift.
Gazing into the North Reading Room, which features Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred Torri Arists’ Books Collection.
Gazing into the North Reading Room, which features Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred Torri Arists’ Books Collection.
An exquisite bouquet of flowers by one bright window.
An exquisite bouquet of flowers by one bright window.
In Loving Memory - Ernest (Ernie) Silva 1948-2014. Trumpet Player and Light House, 2004. Ink on paper.
In Loving Memory – Ernest (Ernie) Silva 1948-2014. Trumpet Player and Light House, 2004. Ink on paper.
Untitled (Baby, It's cold Outside), 1999, Italo Scanga. Mixed media.
Untitled (Baby, It’s cold Outside), 1999, Italo Scanga. Mixed media.
Artwork on wall near the School of the Arts entrance.
Artwork on wall near the School of the Arts entrance.
I was told these pieces were all painted by teachers at the Athenaeum School of the Arts.
I was told these pieces were all painted by teachers at the Athenaeum School of the Arts.
Walking beside the Children's section of the Athenaeum.
Walking beside the Children’s section of the Athenaeum.
Linnea doll on shelf by the book Linnea in Monet's Garden.
Linnea doll on shelf by the book Linnea in Monet’s Garden.
Erika on the Portico of the Athenaeum, 2010, Grace Matthews. Tempera on paper.
Erika on the Portico of the Athenaeum, 2010, Grace Matthews. Tempera on paper.
Houseplant, Monstera Deliciosa, by artist Jean Lowe. Alkyd and acrylic on papier mache.
Houseplant, Monstera Deliciosa, by artist Jean Lowe. Alkyd and acrylic on papier mache.
Devil With a Blue Dress On, by currently exhibiting artist Jim Machacek.
Devil With a Blue Dress On, by currently exhibiting artist Jim Machacek.
Oh Grid, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Etching on linen with sashiko. One of many textile pieces by the artist currently on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery.
Oh Grid, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Etching on linen with sashiko. One of many textile pieces by the artist currently on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery.
Gazing toward the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
Gazing toward the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
Library of Music small plaque on drawer.
Library of Music small plaque on drawer.
More beauty on display inside the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
More beauty on display inside the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
A perfect place to read and think inside the sunlight-filled rotunda.
A perfect place to read and think inside the sunlight-filled rotunda.
Shelves with newspapers and magazines.
Shelves with newspapers and magazines.
Tantra Indigo, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Accordion book.
Tantra Indigo, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Accordion book.
Music breathes what Poet cannot write.
Music breathes what Poet cannot write.

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