Christmas carol performance at Waterfront Park.

Early this afternoon people converged upon Waterfront Park to listen to Christmas music, including many favorite carols.

I walked up a few minutes after the performance began. The festive Christmas Carol Sing concert was put on by the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, with joyful music provided by their Westminster Orchestra.

I walked around the group taking these photos, often capturing the County Administration Building and tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the background. I then settled in to listen for a while.

Many of the adults I saw were smiling. Many of the children were dancing.

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!

Making music one Sunday in Balboa Park.

As I walked about Balboa Park this Sunday afternoon, it seemed a lot of people were outdoors making music. Not just the usual street performers.

I heard a flute playing beyond some trees. I heard mysterious bagpipes somewhere in the distance.

When I arrived at the courtyard of the Casa del Prado, some socially distanced musicians were spread about engaged in what appeared to be a jam session. I don’t know. All I can say is their fine music lifted the spirits of those passing by.

Walking through the park today was a sort of living impromptu concert, performed by many musicians.

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!

Violinist learns San Diego, the Beautiful.

This afternoon, a street performer in Balboa Park who plays violin learned how to play San Diego, the Beautiful. I stood and watched with wonder as he deliberately worked out the notes.

San Diego, the Beautiful is engraved on a black marble tablet near the entrance to the Japanese Friendship Garden. The song is well known in Yokohama, Japan, but less known in San Diego, its sister city.

If you’d like to hear San Diego, the Beautiful, click here!

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 beautiful October day in Balboa Park!

Enjoy these photographs taken this afternoon in Balboa Park.

It’s a Wednesday in early October. The summer tourists are gone. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 goes on. Not surprisingly, few people were about.

As always, the park was very beautiful.

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!

Music education fund honors past Civic Organist.

The Spreckels Organ Society has announced that their increasingly important music education fund is now named after beloved past Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen.

According to the Spreckels Organ Society website’s page concerning this news, the Jared Jacobsen Educational Fund: “…underwrites the visits made by elementary school class groups to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for mini-concerts and a peek backstage…” In addition, new financial support offered up in honor of Jared has allowed the Spreckels Organ Society to produce “a foundation on which to plan more ‘distance learning’ options for educational programs, identifying projects that can introduce the organ to students everywhere…”

There are certain things I especially love in San Diego that I blog about repeatedly. The Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park is near the top of that list. I can’t tell you how much enjoyment and inspiration I’ve received while attending free Sunday organ concerts over the years.

Indeed, thousands of music lovers in San Diego and around the world are inspired by the great Spreckels Organ. And by San Diego’s extraordinary Civic Organists, too!

So, during this period in time when we’re all trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was excited to learn the Spreckels Organ Society is planning to implement more distance learning. Music in our schools, and in the life of young people, should thrive no matter the present circumstances! Don’t you think?

Imagine. Kids have the amazing opportunity to learn from Raúl Prieto Ramírez, one of the world’s recognized top concert organists! That’s pretty special.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Jared Jacobsen Educational Fund, click here then scroll down for more detailed information.

Street art celebrates legendary musicians!

Talk to me so you can see what's going on.
Talk to me so you can see what’s going on.

Check out this extraordinary street art in East Village! All four sides of an electrical box have been colorfully painted with the images of legendary musicians. And the accompanying messages are inspirational.

The artwork includes legends of Motown, jazz, blues, pop music, hip-hop, reggae, and rock and roll. You can see them at the corner of Park Boulevard and Market Street.

How many of these famous musicians can you identify?

Legendary musicians are celebrated with inspirational street art in San Diego's East Village.
Legendary musicians are celebrated with inspirational street art in San Diego’s East Village.

Music can change the world.
Music can change the world.

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.
Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.

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Mysterious musicians painted downtown!

Is a new live music venue, nightclub or restaurant coming to 640 C Street in downtown San Diego? It sure looks that way!

In the past few days musicians have been painted on the windows of the 1928 Hamilton Fine Foods Building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and C Street. I noticed today that the stylish artwork is nearly finished. There are images of musicians that seem be be performing jazz, blues and even some country.

(All I know about the Hamilton Building is that when I first moved downtown it was the home of the San Diego Computer Museum, which displayed some of the earliest computers and had a Computer Hall of Fame. I visited that museum once and it was awesome–but that was years before I started Cool San Diego Sights. The San Diego Computer Museum closed their doors in 2006.)

These painted musicians are a mystery to me!

UPDATE!

It occurred to me after I published this blog that I didn’t take photos of the historic building, with its striking “columns” and classical friezes.

I walked by at a later time with my old camera, and got a few quick shots.

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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!

Concert celebrates organist Jared Jacobsen.

This evening there was a special concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Former Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen was celebrated.

Jared Jacobsen was the fifth official San Diego Civic Organist, serving from 1978 to 1985. In more recent years, I was fortunate to hear him extract magic from the great Spreckels Organ on those memorable Sundays when he was a substitute organist.

This summer he tragically passed away.

Thinking back, I recall that whenever I attended one of his concerts, his easy smile, wit, and his sparkling music always made me feel joy.

The concert this evening, performed by Civic Organist Emeritus Robert Plimpton and current Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, featured the exact same selections that were performed during Jared Jacobsen’s final concert on the Spreckels Organ, on January 1, 2019.

During the concert many words were spoken of Jared Jacobsen’s character, and of how he touched those around him. There were heartfelt tributes by Jean Samuels, President of the Spreckels Organ Society; Lyle Blackington, Spreckels Organ Curator Emeritus; Jeremy Kaercher, of the First Lutheran Church of San Diego where Jared was Director of Music; and a very moving recollection of Jared’s humanity and generous spirit by Christine Micu, of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla where Jared taught.

I jotted down some words that were spoken.

“…he was gifted, charming, and he showed us all how to be a great human being…he was a superstar…his vitality was infectious…contagious zest for life…he was never a self-promoter…his verbal skills were equal to his musical skills…a living encyclopedia…elegant simplicity…the kindest and most caring person…to put it simply, he made people happy…his capacity to sparkle and spread light wherever he went…”

The popularity and success of the great Spreckels Organ today owes much to the tireless efforts and optimism of Jared Jacobsen.

More importantly, thousands of lives have been enriched by the spirit of one beloved man.

His music plays on.

Moved by music at the San Diego Symphony.

A new era of music has begun under the leadership of San Diego Symphony music director and conductor Rafael Payare.
A new era of music has begun at the San Diego Symphony.

Music was potent last evening. It swirled like a wind in Copley Symphony Hall.

As I sat in the mezzanine listening to the San Diego Symphony, I could see the music rising. More powerful than the waves of an ocean, music lifted the body of conductor Rafael Payare. It flowed through the arms and shoulders of the gathered musicians.

Music swayed the enraptured head of famed young pianist Vikingur Ólafsson as it danced through his fingers.

Where the music came from, I don’t know.

It moved the artists that sat upon the stage as if they were the instruments.

The music swelled inside me, too, then the concert ended and I had to walk up a steep hill to go home.

My legs worked in rhythm.

Perhaps the music is always within us. And when those who listen come together, it multiplies into a whirlwind.

A travelling poet and a bagpiper in Balboa Park.

Today I met two cool people during my walk around Balboa Park. One is a travelling poet, the other a Scottish bagpiper.

The poet’s name is DJ Leary. You can find him online @wordsbydj.

Danny was perched in front of an old manual typewriter by the entrance to the Casa Del Prado Theater. Inspired words were pouring (pounding?) out from his fingertips for curious passersby. I peered over his shoulder at sudden lines of truth. We talked just a little. We shared some experiences. I could tell in an instant that Danny loves writing and life’s endless mystery.

I urge you to go here and read some of his poems.

The bagpiper is Frank Hunter. He’s a member of the House of Scotland Pipe Band. I met him while I was walking across the grass at the International Cottages.

Frank kindly introduced me to the bagpipes: their ancient origin, evolution and important role in history. He brought out his instrument, assembled it, tuned it, and performed. He told me about his own heritage and how the Highland Light Infantry is his family regiment. He had much to say, and all of it was immensely fascinating.

I’ve heard Frank playing bagpipes around Balboa Park before, and I urge visitors to the park to listen for their unmistakable voice. You will not be disappointed.

Balboa Park is full of amazing people.

Simply smile and say hello.

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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!