Vol. 17, No. 34, February 21, 2005


This Reveille Home Page | The Friday Program: An Upbeat Downbeat with Fusao Kajima | Mercer Island Rotary Goes On the Run | Friday Potpourri | Classification Talk: Mike Ralph | The Rotary Foundation | Student of the Month: Daniel Souza | Three New Members Proposed: Hendershott, Wood & Kippen | Five lessons to make you think about the way we treat people | Web Fun


Betty Tisdale is founder and president of HALO. This organization is dedicated to bettering the lives of orphans and at-risk children around the world, especially in developing countries, such as Vietnam, Columbia and Afghanistan. She was featured in a recent PBS documentary about the “babylift” from An Loc at the end of the Vietnam War. She is known as the “Angel of Vietnam.” Don’t miss this special program. Bring a guest/potential member. Glendale Country Club at 7:00 a.m. Friday!


This Friday, Tom Smith takes over the editor’s chair to publish next week’s Reveille. Tom will be ably assisted by Photographer Jim Kindsvater and Master Designer and Web Grunt Robin Stark.

For those members who are in need of a photo for their directory page, we’ll be taking another round of pictures in mid-April. Look for the time, date and place.

We’re into the final month of Rotary’s 3rd Quarter. Boy, does time fly! The Treasurer would like to inform those members who have yet to fulfill their billing obligations to kindly enclose payment as soon as possible. Your cooperation is gratefully accepted.

The Friday Program:
An Upbeat Downbeat with Fusao Kajima

x0221KajimaThe Third Annual Visit of Fusao Kajima took place Friday with an appreciative audience chuckling at the antics of the Maestro of the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra. From his very first visit, Fusao has entertained the less musically inclined with candid glimpses of the ins and outs of conducting.

With an impish smile, Fusao elevated his professorial status by bringing “Conducting 201” to the BBRC, counting that his students had remembered the other two pre-requisite courses, "Conducting 101 and 102.” The Musical Director and Conductor of Bellevue’s premiere music group, announced that “the Philharmonic has been able to turn itself around and has received critical acclaim for its concert work (See recent PI column on the Philharmonic’s latest concert in the Meydenbauer Center).”

The Maestro described the educational program that reaches 5000 fourth and fifth graders in seven Eastside school districts. Members of the orchestra visit area schools in the form of chamber ensembles to whet the student’s appetite for classical music. This is a very important mission for the orchestra.

Kajima commented about labor strife having affected performances of several orchestras in several cities in recent years. “The St. Louis Symphony orchestra is now on strike in a wage dispute. This encourages us to think about getting an endowment going so we can prevent that from happening here. At least we’re not the National Hockey League!”

The conductor gave a quick review for those who may have tuned in late, or were snoozing during the first two courses. He answered the question “Does size matter?” when pondering the energy of the conductor’s directing techniques.

He showed a video clip of George Szell, conducting the Cleveland Orchestra. Kajima called him the “Bonsai of Conductors,” where his motions were so miniscule, you wondered how the orchestra could follow his direction. “You must ask yourself, ‘How can you make your directing mean something?’” It’s a matter of projection ... how you present yourself does make a difference ... "like the Jedi Masters!” (It shouldn’t be long now that the musical direction class of the BBRC will move to the rehearsal hall to try out the individual “projections” of the membership.).

Fusao said you must study and see different conductors. “One way to watch what they do is to find them conducting the same piece. Watch what conductors do and how the orchestra reacts. The different styles of managing go back to their own personality. One thing for sure, if you go against the grain, it’s not as effective.”

He showed another clip of a conductor with the Chicago Symphony. “This fellow was very un-athletic, but that didn’t distract the orchestra. Another clip featured the Berlin Philharmonic. In this case, the conducting was like Italian wine, since the conductor was Italian. “They were like a family that has a castle (which he did) ... like good salami.”

Klaus Klyber was the “Michael Jordan of conducting ... watch now as he goes berserk. He would be the ‘Ultimate conductor.’”

Thanks to some work by Bellevue TV, with a class at BCC producing a tape, there is a video in the making of Fusao conducting the Philharmonic. Mid-level corporate leaders are invited to attend to watch how conductors work. The video tool is "behind the scenes" at the Bellevue Philharmonic.

Fusao was asked whether rehearsals are open. The answer was, “Yes, some may be. You should call ahead to see if it is possible.”

Is it difficult for an orchestra to get new conductor? And why are there no women conductors? The answer: Making a change in some places wouldn’t change how the orchestra performs, no matter who conducts. There are quite a few women coming into the profession.

SheeranThe Maestro was asked about his physical condition: “I’m in pretty good shape but you do wear yourself out conducting a rehearsal or a concert. I’m sweating right now. I used to play soccer, so I’m in shape!”

The class quote of the morning: “The beat is not conducting: it’s how it is beaten.” Don’t miss next year’s Conducting with Fusao, when he explores the principal works of P.D. Q. Bach.

A certificate noting that the BBRC has donated 1,220 pounds of fresh produce from Rotary First Harvest to area food banks was presented to Fusao Kajima for his Friday presentation. Thanks to John Sheeran for his introduction.






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