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A stellar Opening Night at Pops

Posted on May 10, 2013 by Leave a comment

Opening Night at Pops is a sure sign of spring in Boston, an evening of world-class music, conviviality and celebrations of friendship and life.

It’s been so for 128 years and was so again on Wednesday night — a fitting symbol of Boston’s strength, resilience and community spirit despite the tragic events that took place a few blocks away on April 15.

My grandson Jack joined me at Opening Night this year. He’s nine, a great kid, who’s interested in country music and the framed Night at Pops poster his parents have hung in their living room.

I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. He took in the glories of Symphony Hall, checking out the gold gilt and statuary in the upper balconies as I pointed them out.  I told him that Symphony Hall is one of the world’s most perfect concert halls acoustically and explained he would “get it” once the orchestra began playing.

We’d “prepped” for the concert, listening to Pops CDs in the car on our ride in. Jack sat with me at our table seat in row M and marveled at the people walking by. “It’s a great place to people watch,” I told him. And he agreed.

Our amiable usher told us she plays flute and studies music at Tufts and is looking forward to hearing all the concerts this year, a perk when you work that gig.

Conductor Keith Lockhart bounded on-stage, leading the Pops in its spirited opener, “Hooray for Hollywood,” a stellar start to Lights! Camera! Action! – this season’s theme.

The lively rendition featured a well-edited video backdrop with quick shots from dozens of Hollywood classics from Gone With the Wind and The Little Tramp to contemporary fare like Argo and Shrek.

Other Hollywood music followed including well-orchestrated versions of the title theme from Gone with the Wind, The Days of Wine and Roses and “The Flying Theme”  from E.T. and “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, which Jack immediately recognized.

There were two tunes from Disney’s “Fantasia,” which the Pops will feature in its complete version in concerts later this season.

The second act featured country-super star Vince Gill, an amiable guy who marveled at the thrill he felt when he heard his tunes played by the venerable Boston Pops.

Gill’s wife, Amy Grant, was a classmate of Lockhart’s at Furman University in South Carolina. “I bet Keith wished I’d brought Amy along,” quipped Gill. Lockhart gamely gave a thumbs-up in agreement.

In tribute to the heroes who helped on Marathon Monday, the Pops invited a Mass General Hospital surgeon to conduct its signature finale “Stars and Stripes Forever.” This doc — a music major in college — had run the marathon, then immediately went to work helping to save lives.

All in all, it was a perfect way to end a stellar Opening Night at Pops — one that Jack and I will never forget.

Too much stuff

Posted on April 26, 2013 by Leave a comment

Too much stuff

Posted by Nancye Tuttle on April 26th, 2013 | Edit

Hundreds of National Geographic magazines, trash bags and boxes of newspapers, scores of Christmas ornaments, a Department 56 village to make a holiday knick-knack fanatic smile. Canceled checks from the 1970s, dilapidated toys, stained baby clothes, never used dishes, forgotten scrapbooks, unopened bed linens, too-tight ski clothes, moth-eaten winter caps.

The list goes on, it resembled a scene from Hoarders, and it was in my attic.

That is until recently, when we hired a strapping young man to haul it down to the garage as we began the process of downsizing after 37 years. It was the best $20 an hour we’d ever spent. And Shaun was amazingly speedy bringing down all this stuff.

Sorting through it took time. Some went to consignment, more went to recycling, most went to the dump. And there were sentimental moments and occasional outbursts and arguments when one of us wanted to throw something away  and the other cried, “No!”

But, for the most part, it’s gone now.

We’re cleaned out, aside from the huge collection of G-scale outdoor trains that used to chug around the deck out back and brought joy indoors each Christmas. They go to their new home on Sunday, a train consignment shop in New Jersey, where some new owners will find them soon, buy  them and set up a display to amuse and amaze their family and friends.

Do I feel any tinges of regret following this major purge? Not really. Most of the “good” stuff was saved. And pictures and journals will preserve memories and spur me to write about them as time goes by.

The best part? Now that 30-plus years worth of junk is gone, I’ve got room to start collecting again for the next 30-some years.

Just kidding, really.




Theater news

Posted on September 4, 2012 by Leave a comment

Enjoyed a lively chat today with actress Kathy St. George, a favorite of mine. She’ll be playing Roz in a production of 9 to 5 The Musical at North Shore Music Theater, opening later this month.
Also enjoyed reconnecting with nationally-known director Kate Whoriskey, a young woman who grew up in our neighborhood with my girls Wendy and Heather. Kate is directing a new play at the Huntington and is excited to be back in the old neighborhood, so to speak – Boston where she attended grad school at the ART.
Despite the name she’s made for herself, Kate remains refreshingly unaffected and thrilled to be doing what she’s doing.
Watch for interviews with both of these theatrical women in coming weeks in the Sun’s new whatdoUwannado section that launches next Thursday, Sept. 13.
Also check out the newly refurbished MRT that opens officially this Thursday with a dedication and ribbon cutting, then in previews for its 33rd season opener Homestead Crossing..can’t wait to enjoy those cushy new seats and the new lobby and box office…great theater for all in Lowell…
Stay tuned for more posts on my blog.
‘Til then, check out a show…..


Of baseball, astronauts and decisions we make

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Leave a comment

Opening Day at Fenway. It has a certain ring to it, I think, and always has ever since I moved to Massachusetts 36 years ago and became a faithful member of Red Sox Nation.

I’ve never been there on Opening Day. But my grandson Jack will be there today, heading in to the iconic ball park with his cousins Cooper and Camden and their dad, Jack’s Uncle Bobby.

He was more than excited when he got the news yesterday. But there was a little concern, at first at least, about dismissing the boys from school early for the big event.

Do it, I encouraged. They’ll never forget it, and it’s the last day of school before April vacation. How much work will they really miss?

The discussion carried me back a half century ago to a cold spring day in 1962. I was a senior in high school. I’d been accepted to college. All was right with the world, especially since the astronauts were coming to New York City for a ticker tape parade.

These were the original Mercury Seven space men – John Glenn, who’d just orbited the Earth, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Deke Slayton and the rest.

It was a no-brainer to my friends and me. We were going in to the city to watch our national heroes in person being deluged in ticker tape, one of the most iconic events that New York City throws to honor heroes and celebrities.

So we cut school —  but it wasn’t a sneaky cut. We told our parents and they gave us the OK. Go on, have fun, enjoy yourselves, it’s a day to remember and celebrate, they said.

So we did. We took the ferry into the city, bought steaming cups of coffee to warm us from the biting cold and joined thousands in a cheering throng that lined the streets. I bought a pennant with the astronauts’ names and a newspaper with Glenn’s and the others’ pictures filling the entire front page, items I still have in my high school yearbook.

It was a day to remember, for sure, and we got to cheer our heroes and see them up close as they rode by in open air convertibles, waving to the crowds.

It was history in the making and we were awash in the thrill of the moment.

But Mr. Samsel didn’t see it that way. The next day he called us to his office, and, as the assistant principal responsible for discipline told us we would be given zeroes for the day and have to serve detention for a week.

My father would have none of it and that night wrote a letter in our defense, pointing out that we’d had permission, the event was historic, and surely in the years to come, we would remember seeing the astronauts much more than any algebra problem or French lesson we had missed in school that day.

I don’t recall the outcome. Mr. Samsel may have erased the zeroes from our records and dismissed us from detention hall duty. Or he may have not. But it doesn’t matter. I graduated, went to college, did well, and, as Dad pointed out, still remember that special day when I saw the astronauts in person far more than a single day’s lessons in the classrooms.

That will be true for Jack and his cousins today, too, I am sure – even if the Red Sox lose.

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