Guitar player on bridge by reflecting pool.

guitar player on bridge by reflecting pool

This friendly guy was playing the guitar while sitting on the bridge that crosses Balboa Park’s reflecting pool. (If you can call it a bridge–it’s just a walkway, really.)

Same guitar player seen on another beautiful day.
Same guitar player seen on another beautiful day.

Spreckels Organ Scholarship recipients play!

spreckels organ society volunteer at concert

This Sunday afternoon’s free concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion featured two of this year’s Spreckels Organ Scholarship winners! The scholarship is provided by the Spreckels Organ Society to promising young organists. Both young ladies who played were terrific!

This photo was taken as I entered the pavilion. Lots of folks were out and about on this beautiful sunny day, and a fair number of people were enjoying the music on the benches.

trinity schulz speaks at spreckels organ concert

Here’s a pic of Trinity Schulz speaking to the crowd. She then went on to play “How Firm a Foundation”.

suzy webster plays at spreckels organ pavilion

This pic shows Suzy Webster. She played a fun “Chopsticks for Organ”, and then Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, by J.S. Bach.

Steve Jobs crazy quote on House of Blues.

steve jobs crazy quote on house of blues

This cool graphic appears on the front of downtown San Diego’s popular restaurant and concert venue House of Blues, not far from the ticket window. It consists of a famous quote made by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The quote reads:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

House of Turkey fiddler in Balboa Park.

house of turkey fiddler in balboa park

Last Sunday in Balboa Park, after checking out the free organ concert, I ventured across the street to the International Cottages. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages were built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition and represent 32 member countries. The little houses, situated in a picturesque cluster, are decorated and furnished in a way that recreates the unique culture of each nation.

Every Sunday (except during winter) one of the member nations features food and entertainment in the central grassy area. Last weekend it was the House of Turkey.

As I arrived, a Turkish fiddler was on stage fiddling away a merry tune while the audience clapped in rhythm. Here he is!

Turkey is one of several nations waiting to build their own cottage in Balboa Park. Here’s a pic of the nearby United Nations Building…

The United Nations Building among the International Cottages.
The United Nations Building among the International Cottages.

Robert Plimpton plays the Spreckels Organ.

Robert Plimpton at the Spreckels Organ.
Robert Plimpton at the Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park.

Who’s that person at the microphone in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion? It looks like Robert Plimpton, San Diego’s Civic Organist Emeritus! Most of the time he uses his amazing musical talent as resident Organist of the First United Methodist Church.

Robert Plimpton was San Diego’s official Civic Organist from 1984 to 2000, when Dr. Carol Williams (first woman in the United States to be appointed Civic Organist) took his place. She happened to be out of town, so he returned for last Sunday’s free public concert in Balboa Park . . . and played magnificently, of course!

I tried to get a good photo of the organ’s enormous pipes, but the images turned out too shadowy. I’ll try again at some future time!

One plaque at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Dedicated to the people of San Diego and all the world, by the philanthropist Spreckels brothers in 1915.
A plaque at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Dedicated to the people of San Diego and all the world, by the philanthropist Spreckels brothers in 1915.
View of Spreckels Organ Pavilion from Japanese Friendship Garden.
View of Spreckels Organ Pavilion from a spot near the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Bust of John D. Spreckels watches organ concerts behind benches.
Bust of John D. Spreckels watches organ concerts behind benches.

Here’s a photo I took in late 2015, during Balboa Park’s yearlong centennial celebration.

Patricia McAfee, mezzo soprano, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, perform during A Tribute to Kate Sessions, "The Mother of Balboa Park" concert on November 8, 2015.
Patricia McAfee, mezzo soprano, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, entertain a Sunday afternoon audience during “A Tribute to Kate Sessions, The Mother of Balboa Park” concert on November 8, 2015.

Umbrellas add color to Sunday organ concert.

colorful umbrellas at sunday organ concert

It must be around two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. Time for the weekly free concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Crowds gather in the sun under colorful umbrellas to listen to the majestic sound of the Spreckels Organ, one of the largest outdoor organs in the world. The city of San Diego employs an official Civic Organist, none other than Dr. Carol Williams, one of the top performing organists in the world! Each Sunday she plays classical music, jazz, marches . . . and occasionally one of her excellent original compositions. The Spreckels Organ Society helps to raise funds to keep the tradition of free public concerts alive. It’s a tradition that has lasted a hundred years!

The beautiful Spreckels Organ Pavilion is used for various concerts and events throughout the year, including the yearly December Nights festival around Christmas. It’s also a favorite venue for wedding photography. The ornate, elegant architecture makes it interesting to visit even when the stage and benches are empty.

Organ lovers enjoy shade under the San Diego sun.
Organ lovers enjoy shade under the San Diego sun.

Kid musician street performers by USS Midway.

kid musician street performers by midway

Just walking along yesterday, I had to pause for a few moments to enjoy these kids playing string instruments by the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum for the passing Labor Day crowd. San Diego’s Embarcadero usually has a number of fun street performers, especially down by Seaport Village, but they were out in full force for the holiday weekend!

These three kids are talented musicians!

UPDATE!!!

Walking past Seaport Village on a fine Sunday afternoon in March, I happened to see this amazing musical family again! And I learned their official name: the De la Motte Strings! Here’s their Facebook page!

De la Motte family playing string music.
De la Motte family playing string music.
De la Motte Strings performs by Seaport Village.
De la Motte Strings performs by Seaport Village.

ANOTHER SIGHTING!

The musical family plays one Saturday at the Little Italy farmers market.
The musical family plays one Saturday at the Little Italy farmers market.

AGAIN!

I spotted this growing musical group in Balboa Park in late 2018!

De la Motte Strings musicians perform in Balboa Park.
De la Motte Strings musicians perform in Balboa Park.
Youthful musicians of the De la Motte Strings add life to San Diego.
Youthful musicians of the De la Motte Strings add life to San Diego.