Monday, June 24, 2013

Fête de la Musique

            Every June 21st the Fête de la Musique, the Music Festival, goes on all over France. It's an anything goes, amateur/professional celebration of music where anyone who can play an instrument is encouraged to play in the streets and everyone else is invited to the party.  This all got started in 1982 after one of François Mitterrand's Ministers (the political not the religious kind) came up with the idea. Maurice Fleuret was a composer, music critic and in 1981 Director of Music and Dance in the Ministry of Culture (Do we have anything like that?). He read in a government report that around 5 million people in France had been taught to play a musical instrument and, being also a music festival organizer, thought a day of free music would be cool.  It's now one of the biggest events of the French summer and you can read all about it here in clumsy but at least not Google Translate English.

Friday, June 14, 2013

How I Got Jack Teagarden's Autograph

My father, George Gunia, is on the left. Damned if I know the others.
       My father's 96th birthday was the other day so I guess it's fitting to post this today. He died in 1998 and about a year later my mother moved permanently into assisted living. After my sisters and I realized Mum was never going to be able to live in the house again, we made plans to sell and it fell to me to start cleaning it out. One of the many benefits of working for Uncle Sam is the Employee Assistance Program and through this, I was temporarily reassigned from New York to Pittsburgh, near my hometown.