WDAV

Classical Driveway Moments: Our Fall Membership Campaign Highlight

campaign-celebrationWe did it! As of 7:41 last night, we met our goal: by raising $216, 635 and welcoming 209 new members to WDAV, we had another successful membership campaign. It was a group effort — our supporters, our volunteers, our staff — and one that makes all of us at WDAV incredibly thankful to be a part of this wonderful family of Classical Public Radio.

One of our favorite parts of this campaign was hearing Classical Driveway Moments from our listeners. During the campaign, they shared stories of classical music pieces that stirred them so much that they’d prefer to sit in a parked car rather than turn off the music prematurely. The stories reminded us of the power of classical public radio — of how classical public radio allows the music of a symphony, perhaps in Berlin or Prague or New York, to stop us in our tracks as we go about our errands in Charlotte, Boone, or Winston-Salem.

We’d like to share some of these stories with you, stories when classical music stopped us in our tracks. Some are literally driveway moments; some are treadmill, desk, or kitchen moments. You’ll read stories of three-year-old twins who conduct Tchaikovsky from the back seat; of a driveway moment that inspired a walking-down-the aisle moment; and — perhaps my favorite — of a man who blows his leaves to the tune of Wagner, transforming the mundane into magnificence.

“My moment was in the car but wasn’t limited to the driveway. I was driving a 5-speed sports car on a winding mountain road in a driving rain and listening to Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. The music added to the exhilaration of the drive in a way I’ve never forgotten. Whenever I hear the Ride of the Valkyries on WDAV, I think of that memorable drive.”
Frank Dominguez, General Manager and Content Director of WDAV

“Last year, my three-year-old twins made me stop in the driveway and wait while they finished listening to and conducting the 1812 Overture finale. They loved it and were giggling the whole time. WDAV is the only station we listen to in the car — they love ‘music without words’ and if I forget to turn on your station, they remind me!”
Nancy P.

“I was close to the driveway so I hope this counts. I had just mowed the lawn.  I was then blowing leaves.  To my delight, the Ride of the Valkyries came on. It is absolutely the perfect music to blow leaves by!!! The leaves swirled in the air in unison with this great piece of music.  That just isn’t going to happen anywhere but on WDAV!!!!!  Thanks and let’s keep this music coming!!”
Tony C.

“I’ve been working as a maid since I was fifteen, and the winter I was eighteen, I was driving to work listening to the Gadfly Suite on WDAV. I got there just as the Romance came on, and at the expense of being late, I finished it. A few months later, I walked down the church aisle to that piece, and married the love of my life.”
Leah V.

“My most recent ‘moment’ was the playing of ‘Crown Imperial’ – a wonderful reminder of a child’s seminary graduation in Princeton Chapel. I could practically feel the floorboard rumble again!  How great to relive that powerful experience sitting in my car!”
Becca C.

“It was in the parking lot of Starbucks listening to Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis-Ralph Vaughan Williams. Tears were rolling down my cheeks with the volume on high. I opened my eyes at the end to see a barista watching me. I rolled down the window to find out she was coming to work and heard the song coming out of my car and had to stop and listen along. It was her driveway moment as well!”
Allison P.

“My mother was recently in the hospital, and one afternoon as I arrived at the hospital The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was playing. I sat in the car, reclined my seat, and listened until the end. I went on to visit my mother in a happier mood.”
Amy M.

“I listen on my tablet almost every morning as I do my exercises. Warm music from North Carolina helps me face the cold weather in Saskatchewan! Thank you.”
Blake A.

“My classical driveway moment actually happened at the movie theater. The year was 1984, and the movie was Amadeus. I was so moved by Mozart’s Symphony 25 in G minor 1st Movement. Its power forever changed my appreciation and enjoyment of listening to classical music.”
Werner G.

“Anytime you play Rusalka’s Song to the Moon or Camille Saint-Saens The Swan, thank you!  Since I hear you via wdav.org on my work computer here in Charleston, my ‘drive-way moment’ is spent lingering at my desk . . . down-the-hall chores can wait! Thank you WDAV, for filling my office and my workday with a classical soundtrack.  You brighten every work day!”
Sue B.

“I have had many driveway moments for numerous pieces but my favorites are when my now six-year-old granddaughter asks to stay in the car to finish listening to a piece as she has numerous times.  She is playing the violin and likes bluegrass and classics.”
Elizabeth H.

“I am a member of the Vivaci Club and have the radio in my shop tuned to WDAV all the time. One morning the Allegretto Palladio had just come on, and I went to sit in front of the radio to listen to it when a customer pulled into my parking lot. I thought ‘Darn, I won’t get to hear all of it.’ Well he just sat out in his car and didn’t come in, and I was beginning to think something was wrong. When the music ended on my radio, he finally came in, listened to my radio and said, ‘If I had known you were listening to WDAV I would have come in, but wanted to hear the end of the Palladio!’ So I guess you could say we both had a driveway moment!”
Tricia H.

“Every Thursday my neighbor drives me to Harris Teeter.  Her car radio is always tuned to WDAV, and we try to identify the music playing at that time. The same thing happens on the way home. We’re seldom in the car at the time somebody announces either the upcoming selection or the one that has just been played. So after she has brought me home and gone on to unload her own groceries, we each turn to WDAV.org, and check the playlist.  This is usually followed by an e-mail message (from her to me, or vice versa) that goes something like, ‘Aha!  I was right!’ or ‘You were right (again).’ Thanks for keeping us on our toes.
Mary T.

“About a year ago, I was driving home one evening when the andante doloroso from Kreisler’s Violin Concerto in the Style of Vivaldi came on. It was the saddest music I had ever heard. Had I not been near home, I would have had to pull over and stop, as the music was that arresting. I let the piece end and came inside with tears in my eyes, in a hurry to go online to learn what it was. Now the entire concerto is one of my favorite pieces. An added joy was to find that the violinist was Gil Shaham, whom I had enjoyed seeing play at the Aspen Music Festival just a few months before. Thanks again for a wonderful experience, WDAV!”
George B.

“I lived in Fort Worth then. I was driving home from Dallas late one night. I heard a violin playing a melody that seemed unable to be contained. It rose and coalesced and wouldn’t end. Well, it did finally, and I learned I was hearing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. That was the first time I experienced Messian’s glimpse of the ecstatic.”
Jai J.

“What stops me from getting out of the car is The Lark Ascending.  I have to wait until the lark has flown away!  It is perhaps one of the most beautiful tone poems.  I remember attending a Charlotte Symphony concert with Hilary Hahn playing it. Her interpretation and bow skill relative to the lark appearing and then its final ascent made me hold my breath.”
John K.

“We lived in Denver and had taken a road trip to Wyoming.  A CD changer was on “random” in the trunk, so we were listening to whatever came on.  As we rounded the curve into the valley facing the Grand Tetons, Beethoven’s Ninth started to play.  Every time we hear any part of the Ninth, we remember that spectacular coincidence of accompaniment to the scenery.”
Kris M.

“The radio in my kitchen is tuned into WDAV 24/7… it is never turned off… ever. I can honestly say that it is part of and as important as the air that I breathe. If I don’t get enough oxygen, I feel blah, and if I don’t get enough of WDAV, I feel blah! Keep up the great work and know that you are very appreciated and loved by many!”
Holly F.

“This week, I’ve had two [driveway moments] already… one was Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings; the other was Grieg’s Piano Concerto.”
Joan T.

Debussy Turns 150 Years Old!

“Music is the silence between the notes.”

“I love music passionately. And because I love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.”

“Art is the most beautiful of all lies.”

Claude Debussy was a man of powerful words, daring music, and poignant nuances. The father of musical Impressionism – although Debussy loathed the title – this French pianist turned the very foundations of composition on its head. According to a recent article by The New York Times, however, Debussy is not receiving the honor he is due as he approaches his 150th birthday:

“Perhaps Debussy is not considered enough of an audience draw, but I suspect that the real reason may be more complicated. We like to think we know and admire Debussy. Ah, Debussy the great Impressionist! … “La Mer,” how gorgeous. … Yet the alluring surfaces of Debussy’s works can mask the utter daring of the music. … I think we take Debussy for granted, and this may explain the lack of celebration this year.”

Conversely, here at WDAV, you should expect to hear an extra helping of Debussy for his sesquicentennial on August 22.

But what about the man himself?

***

Achille-Claude Debussy, the son of a china shop owner and a seamstress, was born in 1862 to a poor French family. When he showed a natural talent for music, Debussy’s aunt began paying for piano lessons when he was just seven years old. By eleven, he was studying piano and composition at the Paris Conservatory. His time at the conservatory foreshadowed the direction he would go with his composing; while his peers acknowledged that he was gifted, they found his compositional experiments strange.

In 1880, Debussy fell under the patronage of Nadezhda von Meck, a Russian woman who was also a large sponsor of Tchaikovsky’s. Meck hired Debussy as a piano teacher for her children, and he spent years traveling around Europe with them. His time at Meck’s estate also allowed him to become familiar with Russia’s musical greats, specifically Modest Mussorgsky and Alexander Borodin. These exposures would later greatly influence his works.

At age twenty-two, Debussy won the “Prix de Rome,” a composition competition, and was awarded a scholarship for two-years of musical study in Rome. While at school, he studied the opera Tristan and Isolde and came to greatly respect the show’s composer Wagner – Debussy loved his ambition but not his flashy approach. He would later model his one and only opera Pelleas et Melisande after Wagner’s work.

Based on a play by Maurice Maeterlinck, Debussy’s opera was an immediate success, although it had a polarizing effect on its audiences – you either loved it or hated it. The show had a gloomy tone, which was periodically interrupted by surges of terror. As one writer noted, “[the opera’s] rule of understatement and deceptively simple declamation, also brought an entirely new tone to opera – but an unrepeatable one.”

Yet another influence soon followed as Debussy returned to Paris for the 1887 World Exhibition. He fell in love with the music of the Javanese gamelan, an ensemble that included bells, gongs, xylophones, and sometimes vocals. The composer incorporated these sounds into many of his mature works.

The inclusion of Javanese Gamelan music was not the only technique that made Debussy stand apart from his contemporary composers. He used Eastern traditions in his works, such as pentatonicism (only using five notes in a scale), modality (the creation of mood), parallelism (the parallel movement of two or more lines of music) and the whole tone scale (each note in the scale is separated by a whole step). Debussy also challenged how instruments were characterized in composition. He believed strings did not have to be merely lyrical and thus instructed players to pluck their strings – instead of using their bow – where written in the music. He began including more clarinet in his works to take advantage of the instrument’s rich tone. He even experimented with the use of piano in various genres.

Unfortunately, the late part of Debussy’s career was rather stagnant. His pieces became less relatable and harder to deconstruct. Other up-and-coming composers such as Igor Stravinsky began to overshadow him, using his own techniques to do so. Debussy also began a public dialogue about art and music with his alter ego Monsieur Croche.

As with many great artists, Debussy died early – at only fifty-six years of age – of colon cancer.

A Few “Debussyisms”

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun 

Clair de Lune 

Children’s Corner


 

WDAV Says Goodbye to Beloved Colleague and Friend Ruskin Cooper.

On Wednesday, July 18, Davidson lost a kindhearted and talented member of its community. Ruskin Cooper, Artist Associate for piano at Davidson College, passed away peacefully among his family after losing consciousness due to cardiac arrest.

To honor our friend, WDAV will be playing two of Ruskin’s own recordings in tribute:

Graceful Ghost Rag, by William Bolcom on Friday 7/20/12  at 4:53pm                      Rhapsody in Blue, by George Gershwin on Saturday 7/21/12 at 11am

Please join us in honoring this wonderful man. Ruskin will be greatly missed, and our condolences go out to his family.

To learn more about Ruskin’s many accomplishments and how to pay tribute to him yourself, check out this article from the Winston Salem Journal.

Students Tour the WDAV Studio

Clara H. Jones Summer Institute student

By: Kali Blevins, WDAV Fellow
kablevins@wdav.org

 On Friday, July 6, WDAV opened its doors to some special guests. Invited by board member Andrew Adair to tour the station, thirty-eight ten to fourteen-year-olds from the Clara H. Jones Summer Institute – a six-week program that focuses on improving fine arts skills as well as increasing reading, math, and science competency – filed into our conference room in matching turquois T-shirts. After a brief introduction by General Manager Scott Nolan, the group split in half – the boys starting with a presentation on radio and classical music while the girls explored the station. With most of the WDAV staff off at Brevard Music Center to record performances for our SummerStages program, this visit brought welcome activity to what would have been an oddly quiet Friday morning. And we were ready to record this excitement in every form of media possible. You can hear New Media Assistant George Marshall’s audio adventures with the kids here.

With pen and paper in hand – someone had to do some old school reporting – I tagged along with the seventh and eighth-grade girls on a tour led by WDAV staff member Sarah Demarest. Our first stop was the Music Library, which houses thousands upon thousands of CDs. “Does anyone have this many CDs at home?” Sarah asked as the group gazed at the station’s music collection. Then Sarah joked, “Does this age still know what CDs are?” She does make a good point. Even here at WDAV, we are almost entirely digitalized; our Music Library exists only for backup. Welcome to the twenty-first century.

Students look at pictures of previous WDAV special guests

Our next stop was a soundproof editing/production studio. One student tried her hand at opening the studio door, a task harder than it looks. After putting her full weight on the door (and using her foot for some extra leverage), she was able to release the airtight seal, and the door opened. We filed into the room as Sarah began to explain a bit about the audio editing process. The girls listened, wide-eyed and curious.

“This is the same kind of soundboard you would use if you were a producer making music,” added one of the Institute’s chaperones when Sarah had finished speaking. “So, if you saw Let it Shine [the latest Disney Channel original movie] and saw him working, this is the same kind of thing.” The room filled with an animated chorus of “ohhhh.” In an inspiring moment of teaching, the chaperone made a connection the girls could easily understand. Suddenly, the world of classical music no longer seemed so far removed from that of pop music.

Michael Muchane performing for the students

Moments later, my tour group met the fifth and sixth-grade girls – they had been doing the same tour backwards – in front of the performance studio. Patiently waiting at the studio’s piano was rising tenth-grader Michael Muchane. Michael has been playing the piano since age seven. He has competed in local and state competitions, performed large scale recitals, won several awards, and has volunteered his time to play in churches and nursing homes. And luckily for us, he was prepared to give a quick concert. Hear Michael play his three pieces by clicking the links below.

Sonata in D Major by Joseph Haydn
Scotch Poem by Edward MacDowell
The Harp Prelude by Sergei Prokofiev
 

We had one more stop left on our tour of the radio station: the broadcast studio. Unfortunately, we had no live announcers around – meaning no opportunity to see the red “on air” sign light up – but the discussion of how the automation system runs the station sparked some discussion. One student asked a question that has likely been on every radio listener’s mind: “What if someone messes up? Can they stop it or redo it?” The short answer is no. Live announcers don’t get a second go-around. Despite the five-second delay in the radio transmission, as Sarah put it, “what [the announcers] say is for everyone to hear.”

Student examines the sound board in the broadcast studio

With the tour complete, I followed the girls into the conference room from which the boys had just emerged. Once all twenty-some girls had settled into their chairs, Peter Browne, a WDAV board member, began his presentation, which was complete with props and a PowerPoint. Peter started by ringing a hotel desk-sized bell.

.  The group then climbed back on to their bus, collected their complimentary bags of WDAV goodies, and drove back home to Charlotte.

My tour group with Michael in the Clark Performance Studio at WDAV

*Interested in having your students tour the WDAV studio?                                        Give us a call at (877)333-8990.

Follow Our Weekend Program Changes!

UPDATED September 9, 2011 — We’re shaking up the weekends on WDAV, starting September 1st! New hosts, new times, new days — update your listening calendar here!

Fridays
7-9 p.m. Carolina Live – Our popular co-production with South Carolina Public Radio moves to Friday nights!

Saturdays
12 mid.-5 a.m. The Early Shift with Lauren Rico
5-7 a.m. The Morning Air with Lauren Rico – we add two more hours of Lauren Rico on Saturdays and Sundays!
7 a.m. -12 noon Classical Music with Mike McKay
8:06 a.m. – Classics for Kids
12 noon-3 p.m. Classical Music with Sam Van Hallgren
3-6 p.m. Classical Music with Candice Agree – New York City radio veteran Candice Agree takes on a WDAV slot of her own.
6-10 p.m. NPR World of Opera
10 p.m. – 12 mid. Concierto

Sundays
12 mid.-5 a.m. The Early Shift with Lauren Rico
5-7 a.m. The Morning Air with Lauren Rico – we add two more hours of Lauren Rico on Saturdays and Sundays!
7-11 a.m. Biscuits and Bach
11 a.m. – Noon  Davidson College Presbyterian Church Service
Noon-3 p.m. Classical Music with Myelita Melton – Long-time WDAV staffer Myelita Melton takes over Sunday afternoon music hosting duties.
3-5 p.m.  Classical Music with Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr – Jeffrey’s Sunday afternoon spot now shifts from 3 to 5 PM.
5-6 p.m. From the Top – It’s a new day and time for this NPR show that celebrates the energy of America’s kids and the power of classical music!
6-7 p.m. Choral Showcase – same day and time, new personnel! Former WDAV Program Director (and Davidson musician) Theresa Woody takes over as producer and host of Choral Showcase.
7-8 p.m. Pipedreams – same start time but one hour now instead of two.
8 p.m. – 12 mid. Sunday Evening with Tom Burge – CSO trombonist Tom Burge picks up another hour on Sunday evenings, sharing his musical favorites with trademark Aussie charm.

Thank You For Your Support!

On Thursday, March 10th, WDAV wrapped up its Spring 2011 Membership Campaign – 9 hours earlier than expected and more than $11,000 over goal! Thank you to all the volunteers who answered phones. To all the restaurants who donated meals. To all the guests who joined us on-the-air. And to the 1,403 people who are investing more than $196,000 to lend their support to WDAV and classical public radio in this region.

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WDAV to Broadcast Christ Church Cathedral Choir Concert Mar 29

Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Oxford, England, begins its 2011 USA/Canada concert tour with first-ever appearances in the Carolinas. On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, the choir performs at Charlotte’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, and WDAV Classical Public Radio will be on-hand to present a live broadcast, beginning at 7 p.m. The next evening, Christ Church Cathedral Choir performs at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, NC. From recordings of these two Charlotte-area concerts, WDAV will produce an Eastertide choral program, to be made available to public radio stations across the country. You can find out more about it at our Eastertide with Christ Church Cathedral Choir page.

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Your First Classical Love

What was your first classical love – that first piece of music that “lit your fire” for classical music? Several WDAV staffers share their funny-wacky-touching classical love stories below. Take a listen, and then let us know YOUR first classical love using this form – or by posting your story on the WDAV Facebook page!

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