Ukrainian beauty and young talent at Spreckels Organ!

A special concert was held today at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez was joined by Ukrainian born soprano Anna Belaya, who sang the Ukrainian National Anthem and, afterward, a very beautiful, uplifting piece of Ukrainian music. Her voice soared. We were reminded that there is yet hope in our world.

Then three student organists, winners of American Guild of Organists San Diego Chapter scholarships, took to the stage to make beautiful music!

You should have been there, in the sunshine, listening.

Sunshine means warm! Lots of colorful umbrellas provide shade for those sitting on the Spreckels Organ Pavilion benches.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez introduces soprano Anna Belaya. She was born in Ukraine.
Extraordinary, triumphant singing accompanies the great Spreckels Organ.
Introducing Sarah Amos, Education Coordinator for the American Guild of Organists San Diego Chapter.
Sarah explains how scholarships are awarded to outstanding student organists, such as the three who performed today.
The first young organist, Lily Bodor, in the Novice Division, takes the stage!
Lily Bodor plays This Is My Father’s World from Sonatina on Themes of Creation, by Larry Visser. Her future is very bright!
Jonah Molina, from the Advanced Division, is introduced.
Jonah Molina plays Trumpet Tune, by Douglas Wagner. Another great performance!
Finally, Jesse Puglia is introduced. He’s from the Advanced Division, too.
Jesse Puglia plays Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 549, by J. S. Bach. The difficult piece is delivered brilliantly!

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’s elegant Maritime Museum Dancers!

The Maritime Museum Dancers performed today. They graced the dance floor of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s historic steam ferry Berkeley!

In addition to elegant, spritely dancing, the performers sang both together and individually, and one even read poetry!

These particular costumes and entertainments would have been enjoyed over two hundred years ago in England, in the early 19th century, around the time of the Regency Period.

The Maritime Museum Dancers often perform on another museum ship, HMS Surprise, the replica British Royal Navy ship used in the filming of Master and Commander.

Lucky museum visitors were enraptured by today’s performance, which included line dancing, a quadrille, and a duet. Near the conclusion of their performance, the group sang a gently stirring rendition of Greensleeves.

Alas my love you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously;
And I have loved you oh so long
Delighting in your company…

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!

John Denver honored on Encinitas plaque.

Head west through Encinitas along J Street. When you reach the end, climb the stairs to the J Street Viewpoint.

You’ll discover beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, unexpected works of public art . . . and a small plaque.

John Denver

December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997

John Denver, songwriter, singer, actor, humanitarian and an activist for world peace and the environment was a founder of The Hunger Project and Plant-It 2000 which sponsored tree plantings in Encinitas.

“Though the singer is silent, there still is the truth of the song.”

Your friends will always remember you.

“If peace is our vision, let us begin.”

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 Long-Ago Christmas memory — Spreckels Organ Society

In the 1920s and early 30s — before the Christmas music of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, or Vince Guaraldi — it was a holiday tradition for world-famous mezzo-soprano Ernestine Schumann-Heink to sing Silent Night on the radio. Click the photo for the recording. She recorded Stille Nacht for Victor Records in 1908 at their Camden, New…

A Long-Ago Christmas memory — Spreckels Organ Society

I seldom reblog articles published elsewhere, but the above bit from the Spreckels Organ Society’s blog might appeal to some readers! It contains interesting San Diego history!

Have you ever wondered about that monument “In loving Memory of Mme. Ernestine Schumann-Heink. A Gold Star Mother. A Star of the World” located at the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park? The world-famous singer lived for many years in La Mesa!

Click the above link for the full article and a link to an historical recording!

And while you’re at it, give the Spreckels Organ Society’s blog a follow! Especially if you love Balboa Park and love organ music!

Here’s a pic I took of the monument…

Statue of Frankie Laine in Little Italy.

Statue of Frankie Laine, legendary singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer, on India Street in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.
Statue of Frankie Laine, legendary singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer, on India Street in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

A life-size bronze statue of legendary entertainer Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio) was dedicated this summer in Little Italy. It now stands in front of Nonna, an Italian restaurant owned by Frankie’s long-time friend Joe Busalacchi. You can learn a little more about this statue at the Team Frankie Laine blog here.

Frankie Lane lived the latter part of his life in San Diego’s Point Loma community and frequently visited Little Italy.

The popular singer scored many big hits in the United States and internationally. Some of his best known songs include That’s My Desire, That Lucky Old Sun, Mule Train, Jezebel, High Noon, Save Your Sorrow, I Believe, Cool Water and Rawhide. Western movie theme songs he recorded include 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and Blazing Saddles. His rock, jazz, folk and blues recordings made him one of the most popular entertainers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His hits continued right into the 1970’s.

A small plaque can be found on the outside wall of Nonna next to the bronze sculpture. A larger plaque, depicting Frankie Laine with uplifted arms, is also nearby.

I took a photo of the larger plaque six years ago, when it was located elsewhere on India Street, and I transcribed the words written on it 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!

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!

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.

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!

The triumphant return of the Spreckels Organ!

The amazing Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor musical instrument in the world and the joyful lungs of Balboa Park, made its triumphant return today!

After six weeks of silence because of a broken motor on the main blower, the Spreckels Organ is once again producing fantastic music, with a little help from San Diego’s world-famous Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

Raul began today’s concert with Johann Sebastian Bach’s powerful Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The talented San Diego Children’s Choir then took the stage to perform a variety of classical songs, including Franz Schubert’s moving Ave Maria.

To honor Veterans Day, Raul concluded the program by playing three John Philip Sousa compositions: Semper Fidelis, In Memoriam, and Stars and Stripes Forever.

In a troubled world where the flag often flies at half-staff, this Sunday we were reminded that human good can prevail. With a little dedication any broken instrument in this world–even the mighty Spreckels Organ–can be repaired.

I saw many smiles in the sunshine.

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!

Fun photos of the Sea Chantey Festival!

Today I enjoyed an extraordinary event. I boarded the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and experienced the annual Sea Chantey Festival!

Here come fun photos!

You’ll see two musical groups performing in these photographs: first Raggle Taggle, then Kick up the Dust. Others groups who had the audience clapping their hands and dancing on the ship’s deck were the Jackstraws, Gemini Junction, Sportive Tricks, and The Chanteymen.

I saw many people in costume. I found myself in the company of pirates and sea captains and ladies in Victorian dress. Members of the Maritime Museum’s sail crews hauled ropes and climbed the rigging while traditional sea chanteys were sung.

Everyone jumped when two cannon shots rang out across San Diego Bay. Heads turned. Like a vision from the past, the official tall ship of the State of California, Californian, which is also one of the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s beautiful vessels, sailed on past.

It was pure magic. Every moment.

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!

A smile and music brightens a San Diego day!

Gary Reid performs bluesy songs on San Diego's Embarcadero. He always greets me with a big smile when I pass by.
Gary Reid performs bluesy songs on San Diego’s Embarcadero. He always greets me with a big smile when I pass by.

Meet a guy who always makes me smile. His name is Gary Reid. I often pass him performing bluesy songs with his guitar as I walk along the Embarcadero near the USS Midway.

I didn’t realize until today that he has a CD, YouTube videos and other great stuff available online. He tells me he is available for gigs–just contact him by visiting his website here. His Facebook page is here.

His heart can be heard in his music. Give it a listen.

Gary Reid is a fine guitarist, singer and songwriter. Check out his website for some samples!
Gary Reid is a fine guitarist, singer and songwriter. Check out his website for some samples!

Gary Reid spreads gratitude and a love of life through music!
Gary Reid spreads gratitude and a love of life with his music!