Fireworks were Sunday night, at a snazzy community north of San Diego called Santaluz. Invited by our friend Jessica, I presumed we would be setting off sparklers and hanging out at her parents’ place while she was in town. Instead, we sat on the back porch mere hundreds of feet from the most spetacular fireworks show I have ever seen. There was zero sound delay and we had a better view than the throng of people celebrating on the grassy lawn down the road. Exploding colors and deafening bangs encompassed my field of view… fireworks sprung forth from the ground, fireworks appeared at my zenith. It was awesome.
The pipe organ was Monday night, at the outdoor organ pavilion in Balboa Park. The organist was Hector Olivera. He is a world-renowned organist with a stuffed frog named Harry who likes to play the low C. The concert ran for a full two hours plus intermission, featured some seriously awesome pieces of music, and ended with “Improvisation on Selected Themes.” Not knowing what to expect, we watched as Hector opened a red envelope containing three musical themes: a French tune I was not familiar with, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and In the Hall of the Mountain King. A moment later, he was improvising what sounded like a meticulously rehearsed symphony containing three movements – each clearly but subtley based on one of the themes. You have to remember that playing the organ is difficult enough when you have to use two hands and two feet plus change manuals (keyboards) and stops (sets of pipes) mid-music. He was making it all up as he went and it sounded absolutely amazing. It all ended in a standing ovation and an encore piece containing more notes in less time than I thought humanly possible.
Who says you can’t have a splendid time for free?!
(Pictures courtesy of Jessica over at AYearInACar)