Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pachelbel Rant

I just came across this video. It cracked me up the whole time. I do understand where he is coming from, though, as the trombones sometimes get the same treatment. And for sure the french horns do when it comes to marches. This is a great video, hope you enjoy! I know I did! I couldn't stop laughing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Secretary of the Arts?

Here is an interesting article I came across earlier today. I find it an interesting idea, and there are many valid points made throughout the article. I think that many of you would like to read it as well.

A Secretary of the Arts ... it's music to his ears

Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 9:50 a.m.

We all get asked to sign petitions from time to time, for everything from politicians trying to get their names on a ballot to proposals to fix roads, support baseball, go green or some crazier, half-baked ideas.

In our newsroom, employees are discouraged from signing petitions because we don't want to seem biased for or against a candidate or an issue that we may end up having to cover at some point in the future.

Today's seemingly simple petition drive can turn into tomorrow's controversy.

Then I got an e-mail petition forwarded to me last week designed to encourage Barack Obama to create a new Secretary of the Arts soon after he takes the oath of office on Tuesday. The petition drive was supposedly triggered by a comment that musician and producer Quincy Jones made in an interview after the election. Jones is quoted as saying that the "next conversation I have with President Obama is to beg for a Secretary of Arts."

In a time of financial upheaval, I don't see this happening in the near future. The pessimist in me doesn't see it happening in my lifetime.

But forget reality for a moment, like the cost of creating a new agency for which the government has no money.

It is a wonderful idea on a number of levels.

Don't dwell on the thought of more bureaucracy, but consider the possibilities of having someone with some real authority to speak up in support of the arts that enrich all our lives.

Yes, we have a National Endowment for the Arts and a National Endowment for the Humanities, but these woefully underfunded agencies have been slashed to shells of their once glorious selves in the last decade.

The two agencies have been a lifeblood to artists and arts organizations bringing culture to communities large and small outside the urban centers.

This nation needs more.

Yes, we have some major problems that need fixing, from unemployment to health care to deteriorating roadways and concerns about schools.

But creating such a new position could be a start to building our appreciation and awareness of what the arts do for our souls and intelligence, and how we look at the world around us.

We also can't forget the financial contribution arts organizations make to their communities by getting people out of their homes and into restaurants and other businesses. Arts organizations create jobs for artists, designers, actors, musicians, dancers and others, and they spend money for supplies that help support other businesses before each opening of a show or event.

More importantly, at least in my mind, a Secretary of the Arts could be some sort of national cheerleader for the arts, to make sure that communities and school districts around the country realize how important arts are to our lives and our education system. I shudder to think of the number of children who haven't been exposed to any kind of music because their schools can't afford the teachers or the instruments, and what they lose out on in the future. Studies have frequently shown that students learn better if their studies include the arts.

President-elect Obama actually had a strongly worded platform about the arts, which said, in part: "To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children's creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education."

That's music to my ears.

But it requires a change in attitude among millions who have never had that kind of exposure or realized the value the arts can have their lives and therefore have not supported the use of tax monies to help strengthen our education system and our communities.

Will this ever happen? Well, where would the arts be without the dreamers who see things that could happen?

I don't know if the petition drive will lead to anything, but you can find it at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back To School

After a month off from anything academic, I am now back at LSU and classes have started again. It was nice relaxing while it lasted, though I did miss being here with all my friends down here and everything (oh, and the warmer weather...highs have been in the mid-upper 50's and we're forecast to be in the low 60's next week).

Over the break, I had to travel back down here and then over to Atlanta for the Chick Fil'A bowl. It was a great game, a great win for our football team 38-3 over Georgia Tech after a very disappointing 7-5 regular season. In the final polls we did not end up being ranked, but we did receive a fair number of votes.

Here are two pictures from the game. The second one is the Georgia Tech band in the stands and what fans remained towards the end of the 3rd quarter across the stadium from the LSU section (which ended up being only like maybe 15-20% AT MOST) and the first is the LSU section on the bottom level.