A healing 9/11 concert in Balboa Park.

A concert at Balboa Park’s International Cottages today, the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, was filled with healing warmth and tenderness.

The group Island Mist and Friends was playing gentle island music for a world that could use a little extra kindness.

I listened to a few songs, saw many smiles, then my legs carried me forward.

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!

Listening to a Symphony rehearsal at The Shell.

Wonder.

Elation.

Ecstasy.

What word best describes an extraordinary experience that is free to music lovers in San Diego?

When the San Diego Symphony rehearses at The Shell at Embarcadero Marina Park South, anybody can sit mere feet away from the musicians. Just walk on up and take any seat. And listen. You’ll hear some of the finest music ever composed, played by a world-class symphony orchestra.

Sit close and feel the thunder!

This morning I sat in front of The Shell and felt the power of music wash through me, while I enjoyed the sunshine, the gleaming downtown skyline, and boats of every kind sailing by on San Diego Bay.

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!

San Diego International Organ Festival returns!

Every time a world-class organist performs in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ shines.

Tonight the Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor instrument in the world, one of San Diego’s most unique and precious treasures, absolutely sparkled.

Concert organist Hector Olivera filled Balboa Park with magic during the first performance of the two-month-long San Diego International Organ Festival.

Hector Olivera, considered one of the greatest organists alive, took the stage with his humor and deft touch and created something extraordinary. I sat mesmerized throughout the concert. The music he summoned from the Spreckels Organ was subtle, luminous, alive.

Hector Olivera was a child prodigy. As a five-year-old he played for Eva Perón. Before he’d left his teens he’d performed for heads of state. He has since played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Tonight he started the 2021 San Diego International Organ Festival with an act that will be hard to top. But more top organists are coming, including San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

If you love listening to world-class musicians you must go to this free weekly event. The Spreckels Organ shines in Balboa Park every Monday at 7:30 pm through October 25, 2021!

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!

Scenes from The Shell’s opening night concert!

Today history was made in San Diego. This evening, the San Diego Symphony performed their opening concert at the new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

I arrived a good hour before the concert began and wandered around. I even walked out onto the nearby pier. From the Embarcadero Marina Park South fishing pier The Shell is gorgeously framed by San Diego’s skyline.

The Shell is simply wonderful. It has immediately become one of our city’s treasures. Its beauty, the sparkling bay views, the sunset and sailboats, the world-class music…

Large screens on either side of the stage allow guests to watch the performers up close. You see their facial expressions. You see the emotion.

The photos I took this evening provide just a small taste of the incredible experience you’ll have should you attend a concert at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

One great thing about this fantastic new outdoor venue is the public can freely watch and listen from the periphery. I found a bench beside the water and simply melted into the music.

Please enjoy a few photos of this evening’s historic event taken by my small camera.

Young volunteers greet visitors in line for the concert.
People eagerly file in for an historic concert.
Some guests walk up to the box office to purchase tickets.
The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park has many places to sit, eat, or simply relax before or during a concert. All sorts of food is available–from gourmet to pizza.
Friendly waves from San Diego Symphony folks!
A wave and smile!
A few are already seated well before the concert begins.
Martha Gilmer, Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Symphony welcomes guests to the historic concert.
Meanwhile, people have found a great place to sit and listen at one end of the fishing pier.
Sailboats pass on San Diego Bay. During the concert, many boaters anchored nearby to listen.
A photo taken from the pier. The Marriott Marquis becomes silvery as the sun falls toward the horizon.
Musicians arrive carrying their instruments.
I’m back near The Shell and its sloped seating area. People awaiting the concert gaze out toward the bay.
Many have taken their seats. Anticipation builds…
The sun will soon be setting.
The silhouette of San Diego Symphony conductor Rafael Payare appears on The Shell’s curtain! Everyone applauds!
The curtain suddenly drops open!
And there is the San Diego Symphony!
Beautiful music begins…

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!

Mariachis perform at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park was filled this evening with uplifting music. Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista performed in front of a large crowd!

Lively traditional Mexican music turned this free Twilight in the Park Summer Concert into a special, memorable event. Many families filled the pavilion benches. There was much clapping and singing along with popular songs.

An elderly man behind me sang words he knew by heart joyfully. So did a very young boy sitting next to him.

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 celebration of Korean culture in Balboa Park!

Yesterday afternoon the House of Korea in Balboa Park hosted a big lawn program! Traditional music, colorful fan dance, K-pop, martial arts and more took the stage in a wonderful celebration of Korean culture!

Participants in the event gathered at the International Cottages from all around Southern California, including representatives from the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles. As you might expect, many were in the audience!

It was interesting how some of the performances were a fusion of both Korean and American culture. When an expressive solo dancer began to dance with great emotion to the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody, there was loud applause from the audience!

Enjoy these photographs!

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Evening music during summer in Balboa Park.

This evening, about an hour before sunset, after the daytime crowd had greatly thinned, I walked through Balboa Park.

In the Plaza de Panama some guys were producing beautiful music. The group is called the Sunshine Brass Quintet. I’ve seen them other days playing in the plaza.

When I finally walked past the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was excited to see the Twilight in Balboa Park concerts are returning for 2021!

The evening concerts will take place Tuesdays through Thursdays during the month of August. They start at 6:30 pm in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Performers include Marine Band San Diego, Mariachi Estrellas de Chula Vista, the Coronado Concert Band, and many others! Check out the photo I took of the sign below, or visit the concerts page here.

Here are a few more photos of the Sunshine Brass Quintet this evening in the Plaza de Panama…

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!

Big community celebration coming to Balboa Park!

There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.

An exciting community celebration will be held in Balboa Park at the end of July!

Everyone is invited to gather at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on the evening of Saturday, July 31, 2021 to enjoy this amazing free event, featuring notable performers from all around San Diego.

Participating in the celebration will be Opera4Kids, San Diego Civic Dance Arts, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Grupo Folklórico Sabor de México, San Diego Master Chorale accompanied by San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, and the fun Organ Pavilion Rock Band! The entertainment starts at 5:30 pm!

What is this big community celebration all about?

The reopening of San Diego after the pandemic!

Learn more by clicking here!

Unexpected music, folk dance in Balboa Park!

The House of Austria, along with the House of Germany, put on a cultural show at the International Cottages in Balboa Park this afternoon!

After the Spreckels Organ concert ended, I hurried over to the lawn between the International Cottages to see if anything was going on. And I found myself enjoying the last few minutes of a small festival!

Four costumed dancers and six accordion players were entertaining the gathered audience with folk music and dance.

The lively dancers belong to the Performing Folk Dancers of Balboa Park. Look for their information on this page.

The half dozen musicians are members of the Accordion Lover’s Society International! Learn more about them here!

The cottages have been closed to the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s my understanding that all of the cottages will fully open next weekend for the Fourth of July celebration.

Hooray!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

What does it feel like to play the Spreckels Organ?

What does it feel like to play the Spreckels Organ, the world’s largest musical instrument located in the heart of Balboa Park?

Raul Prieto Ramírez, internationally renowned San Diego Civic Organist, played Johann Sebastian Bach’s masterpiece Toccata and Fugue in D minor to start today’s free Sunday concert.

Perhaps this series of photos can transmit a bit of the feeling…

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!