Anthony Newman plays the Spreckels Organ.

People arrive early to get good seats for tonight's organ concert.
People arrive very early to get good seats for tonight’s organ concert.

Mere pictures and words are inadequate to describe the fantastic concert I enjoyed this evening in Balboa Park. Tonight was the first Monday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion of the Summer International Organ Festival.

The special guest organist was Anthony Newman, widely considered one of the foremost Baroque musicians in the United States. He’s made countless recordings, won numerous awards, performed at New York City’s prestigious Lincoln Center more than 60 times, and was described by Wynton Marsalis as “The High Priest of Bach.” Tonight’s concert, I’m glad to say, was jam packed with Johann Sebastian Bach–my absolute favorite composer!

Anthony Newman seemed superhuman at times. He played difficult pieces with ease, crispness and energy.  It was flawless poetry and simply amazing.  The concert was over much too soon!

Here are a few pics!

Spreckels Organ Society membership table and a smile.
Spreckels Organ Society membership table and a smile.
Anticipating first concert of Summer International Organ Festival.
Anticipating first concert of the Summer International Organ Festival.
Big banner on Organ Pavilion's colonnade announces the event.
Big banner on Organ Pavilion’s colonnade announces the free event.
Rolling out the red carpet for great organist Anthony Newman.
Rolling out the red carpet for great American organist Anthony Newman.
Flag and a bronze plaque of the historic pavilion.
Flag and a bronze plaque of the historic pavilion.
Beautiful pavilion is a treat for the eye in changing light.
Beautiful building is a treat for the eye in changing light.
Elegant peek by organ assistant at the growing crowd.
Elegant peek by organ assistant at the growing crowd.
Dr. Carol Williams, civic organist, announces guest musician.
Dr. Carol Williams, San Diego’s Civic Organist, announces guest artist.
Famed Baroque organist Anthony Newman greets audience.
Famed Baroque organist Anthony Newman greets audience.
A masterful performance on the Spreckels Organ begins.
A masterful performance on the Spreckels Organ begins.

Those pipes you see on the left side of the stage form the new Centennial Tuba rank, soon to be added to the Spreckels Organ for its one hundredth anniversary on New Year’s Eve!

Anthony Newman acknowledges enthusiastic applause.
Anthony Newman acknowledges long, enthusiastic applause.
KUSI television cameraman records a portion of the event.
KUSI television cameraman records a portion of the event.
The lights come on in the twilight and the pavilion becomes magical.
The lights come on in the twilight and the pavilion becomes magical.
There are 1400 embedded lights in the main structure and colonnades.
There are 1400 embedded lights in the main structure and colonnades.

The Spreckels Organ Pavilion was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. You can observe similar plaster ornamentation on the Spanish Colonial Revival style buildings that line El Prado, in the center of Balboa Park.

Night descends and people stretch their legs during intermission.
Night descends and people stretch their legs during intermission.

My camera is worthless at night, so I recorded only half of the evening.  But the music throughout was amazing!  What a brilliant start to the 2014 International Organ Festival!

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House of Scotland Pipe Band in Balboa Park.

House of Scotland Pipe Band performs at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
House of Scotland Pipe Band performs at Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Today’s free Sunday organ concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion featured the amazing House of Scotland Pipe Band! The House of Scotland makes its home in the International Cottages just steps away from the pavilion.

I’ve always loved bagpipe music. It’s even better, if that’s possible, when accompanied by Dr. Carol Williams, San Diego’s famous Civic Organist, on the majestic Spreckels Organ. The large-lunged instruments combine their resonance, and with the addition of a booming drum, the melodies that are produced really stir the blood. I wish the concert had gone on all afternoon!

Songs included Highland Cathedral, Flower of Scotland, Blue Bells, Amazing Grace, Scotland the Brave, and The Ballad of Glencoe.

Raising and twirling the baton in time with great bagpipe music.
Raising and twirling the baton in time with great bagpipe music.
Dr. Carol Williams accompanies bagpipes with Spreckels Organ.
Dr. Carol Williams accompanies bagpipes on the Spreckels Organ.
The big booming drum of the House of Scotland!
The big booming drum of the House of Scotland!
Balboa Park visitors mingle with musicians after the stirring concert.
Balboa Park visitors mingle with musicians after the stirring concert.

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Drama and music in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden.

Actors rehearse A Nation of Pain in Balboa Park's small Zoro Garden.
Actors rehearse A Nation of Pain in Balboa Park’s small Zoro Garden.

Today during my walk through Balboa Park, I noticed that the small Zoro Garden has become a venue for summer weekend entertainment. Usually the shady, sinuous, amphitheatre-like garden is left to the butterflies, who flutter here and there in sunbeams above ragged beds of colorful flowers.

As I walked down, actors were rehearsing for a comedic play on the bare dirt center of the garden. At two o’clock a musical performance began, and I listened while chowing down on a polish sausage. I love Balboa Park!

Garden Theatre Festival takes place during the summer in Balboa Park.
Garden Theatre Festival takes place during the summer in Balboa Park.
People enter the seldom-used, charming Zoro Garden.
People enter the seldom-used, charming Zoro Garden.
This was a nudist colony during the 1935 California-Pacific Exposition!
This was a nudist colony during the 1935 California-Pacific Exposition!
Butterfly among flowers in the small Zoro Garden.
Butterfly among flowers in the small Zoro Garden.
Zoro Garden dedicated to butterflies in 2007.
Zoro Garden dedicated to butterflies in 2007.
Jennie Buss' Band plays warm-hearted music for onlookers.
Jennie Buss’ Band plays warm-hearted music for onlookers.
Folks enjoy a musical performance in Balboa Park.
Folks enjoy an intimate musical performance in Balboa Park.

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Folks enjoy House of Austria lawn program.

Dancers from House of Austria in Balboa Park.
Dancers from House of Austria in Balboa Park.

I got a few pics of another Sunday afternoon lawn program at Balboa Park’s International Cottages. This weekend it was Austria’s turn!

Dancing, singing and food were abundant for the entertainment of anyone interested in Austrian culture.  Many in the crowd wore traditional folk costumes.  There was a beauty queen and opera performances and it all concluded with many participants singing the popular favorite Edelweiss.

Austrian beauty queen smiles for my camera!
Austrian beauty queen smiles for my camera!
Folks watch lawn program of House of Austria.
Folks watch lawn program of House of Austria.
Food tent has sausage and other tasty Austrian food.
Food tent has sausage and other tasty Austrian food.
Everyone applauds a fantastic operatic duet.
Everyone applauds a fantastic operatic duet.

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San Diego’s annual Sicilian Festival in Little Italy.

Sicilian Festival dignitaries parade flags down India Street.
Sicilian Festival dignitaries parade flags down India Street.

I took an enjoyable walk today. San Diego’s heat wave has ended and this weekend was perfect. The best part of my walk was just wandering randomly through Little Italy’s annual Sicilian Festival. India Street was streaming with crowds enjoying Italian food, romantic music, art, history and several blocks jammed with colorful sights. I devoured some yummy pizza and spoke with a few interesting people.

Here are a few cool pics!

Tuscany Italian tablecloths line a vendor's tent.
Tuscany Italian tablecloths line a vendor’s tent.
Italian food up and down India Street smelled great!
Italian and other food up and down India Street smelled great!
Wagon painted with colorful scenes of Medieval chivalry.
Wagon painted with colorful scenes of Medieval chivalry.
Sharing his Sicilian legacy from past generations.
Sharing his Sicilian legacy from past generations.

One block was devoted to Sicilian culture and the history of San Diego’s Little Italy. Several interesting people were sharing their own stories.

Local novelist Corey Lynn Fayman sold some books!
Local novelist Corey Lynn Fayman sold some books!

Local author Corey Lynn Fayman sold me his novel Border Field Blues. It’s a detective story set at the Mexican border. I’ve read a few pages and so far it’s great!

Jim Bregante shares his childhood experience of the waterfront.
Jim Bregante shares his childhood memories of the waterfront.

I caught the last few minutes of Jim Bregante’s historical presentation, called San Diego’s Waterfront through the Eyes of a Child. He was remembering the colorful nicknames of the local Italians that he knew when he was young. I wish I’d heard his entire talk! What a great treasure trove of historical memories. Other people in other places should follow his example!

What Italian fishermen used to catch off San Diego.
What Italian fishermen used to catch off San Diego.
Many old photos of tuna fishermen from Little Italy.
Many old photos of tuna fishermen from Little Italy.
Crushing grapes was part of the Sicilian Festival!
Crushing grapes was part of the Sicilian Festival!
Various musicians played the accordion.
Various musicians played the accordion.
Banner shows Italian Padres player Chris Denorfia.
Banner shows Padres player Chris Denorfia.
Some kids had an awesome bungee experience!
Some kids had an awesome bungee experience!
The frantic pasta eating contest is underway.
The frantic pasta eating contest is underway.
The sauce-faced winner raises his arms in triumph!
The sauce-faced winner raises his arms in triumph!

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People dance as Catillacs rock Seaport Village.

People dance as the Catillacs rock Seaport Village.
People dance as the Catillacs rock Seaport Village.

Whenever I take a weekend walk through Seaport Village, I always hope the Catillacs are playing their vintage rock and roll at the East Plaza Gazebo. Because nobody can resist dancing to those classic tunes!

There’s just something magical about the sunshiny, laid-back atmosphere. Everyone loses their inhibitions. Young and old alike are moved by the music, and twirl about like delighted maniacs!

People let loose and just enjoy the weekend.
People let loose and just enjoy the weekend.
Everyone is jamming to vintage rock and roll music.
Everyone is jamming to vintage rock and roll music.
Dancing to a live band near the East Plaza Gazebo.
Dancing to a live band near the East Plaza Gazebo.
Catillacs guitarist in Seaport Village gazebo.
Catillacs guitarist in Seaport Village gazebo.

Joshua Randle, a great musician in San Diego.

Joshua Randle and friend play music on San Diego's embarcadero.
Joshua Randle and friend play music on San Diego’s embarcadero.

I was surprised during my walk today to hear some exceptionally good music from two young performers near Seaport Village. Joshua Randle and his friend were playing extremely polished music with outstanding vocals and providing great, energetic entertainment for everyone passing by. I have no doubt that these guys will become superstars!

Please check out Joshua’s website!

Joshua Randle is a talented up-and-coming singer and musician.
Joshua Randle is a talented up-and-coming singer and musician.
A beautiful day and some great positive, stirring music.
A beautiful San Diego day and some great positive, stirring music.