We 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!”
“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!!”
“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.”
“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!”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
“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!”
“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.
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“This week, I’ve had two [driveway moments] already… one was Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings; the other was Grieg’s Piano Concerto.”
3 thoughts on “Classical Driveway Moments: Our Fall Membership Campaign Highlight”
I listen to WDAV for hours at a time, four or five days a week. Recently, I heard Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade. The recurring violin part, the crescendoing power of the ensemble moved me so much that. . .I had (not a driveway moment, but a) writing moment.
I put Scheherezade on my laptop and listened as the Vienna Philharmonic inspired me to describe an orchestral moment in the novel I am presently writing. Here’s an excerpt from my scene. Can you guess who the conductor is?
As if by clockwork, the great concert hall came to an absolute silence when Conductor Jeno Ormand turned his back on the audience. An almost imperceptible smile flashed as maestro established eye contact with his musicians. Then his face turned suddenly intense, with a darty side-to-side movement of his pupils that must have been a signal his players knew well, immediately followed by an instant upward glance toward heaven and a passing nod of the head as if to affirm for them that yes now we are all here and now is the time to do what we have prepared and here it is.
Suddenly his two arms were flung high in the air and immediately into a blurring descent to both sides in two long, quick arcs. The trombones announced, with urgent chordal brilliance, a boldly solemn procession of long notes in minor key. Cellos answered deliberately their last two notes; woodwinds caressed the dirgeful tones into the beginnings of a slow, harmonic theme.
Now out of the mists of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s trained imagination, a lone violin emerged, with soulful wailing, long and vibrating, then descending in quick staccato triplets, like a caged bird would sing, and lighting gently upon the full orchestra’s introduction: a captured woman’s tuneful telling of some ancient oriental tale, now arranged for twentieth-century symphony.
In the audience imagination, if they had read the program notes, the exotic woman Scheherazade would be spinning, through her lyrical telling of it, a nighttime yarn, a story retrieved from her memory, and designed to forestall her death.
in Carey Rowland’s novel being written, King of Soul
Although it wasn’t in my driveway, I had another “stop the world I want to listen” moment, while listening to Mike McKay one morning, this last week. The ever-allegro Euro-centered world of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart was suddenly expanded with an andante visitation from Yoyo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble. Perhaps my rapt attention to the piece, which I think was entitled “Distant Green Valley”, was enhanced because I live in a green valley, although it is not distant but rather near and dear to me, up here near Boone.
Whatever it was I heard on 89.9 from Yoyo and his crew that morning, it seems I have turned a corner in the world of music appreciation. Perhaps WDAV has turned a corner as well, but it wasn’t into a driveway– more likely into a whole new realm of classical expression on our radio horizon. Thank you.
It’s wonderful to hear that you were so struck and enraptured by the piece you heard on WDAV…I’m grateful that you were listening, and especially so that you took time to let us know what Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble meant to you that morning. “Distant Green Valley” really is beautiful, and I hope that as you continue to listen you’ll hear many more works that have a similar “Aha!” effect.
All the best, and I hope things are terrific in your personal “distant green valley”…