New issue of KCMetropolis.org today, and I have one review: Yo-Yo Ma, cello and Kathryn Stott, piano on the Harriman-Jewell Series. The recital was on my wedding anniversary, October 16, but my husband was out of town! So this was a nice treat that evening, even though Nick wasn’t with me—we’ll find another time to celebrate. Anyway, the recital was brilliant, masterful, so amazing. Yo-Yo Ma exceeded all my expectations—he is really a wonderful musician to witness live, he plays with such joy and passion. He even shouted “Go Royals!” on his way off stage after the performance! (For those who don’t know, our Kansas City Royals are in the World Series this week… the last time they were in the World Series was 1985, 29 years ago! So we’re all pretty excited here in the City of Fountains.)
On Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of heading to Overland Park to hear fellow Madisonian Ben Sidran speak at the Jewish Community Center’s White Theatre about his latest book, There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream. A decade in the making, There Was a Fire is currently the only book exclusively covering the history of Jews in American popular music, and especially their influence on it in the first half of the twentieth century. His research goes beyond just historical facts, though, deep into existential questions of “What is Jewish about American music? Who is a Jew in America?,” the uniquely American experience of secular Jews related to the rest of the world, and what the future may hold for Jews and Judaism in America. I learned so much! And of course, I have heard Sidran play gigs back home in Madison before—he’s a gifted jazz pianist and improvisor.