Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Orff Tourist

Los Angeles. Portland. Las Vegas. Kansas City. Boston. Chicago. Detroit. Atlanta. Denver. San Diego. Minneapolis. Indiannopolis. Philadelphia. Dallas. Memphis. Seattle. Tampa. Phoenix. Rochester. Cincinnatti. Las Vegas. Louisville. Long Beach. Birmingham. Omaha. San Jose. Charlottesville. Milwaukee. Spokane. Pittsburgh. St. Louis. Denver. Nashville. San Diego. Atlantic City. Dallas/Ft. Worth. Cincinnatti. Salt Lake City. 

These the sites of the Orff National Conferences I have attended over the years. The first in L.A. was 1976, the second in Portland was 1982 and it was the third in Las Vegas in 1984 where I first presented a workshop at the conference and continued to attend—and present and perform—for the next 35 years without missing a single one. Not only do I remember each conference in order and by year—and ritually invoke them with friends at the beginning of each conference— but I remember key moments from each. This year I again both present and perform with the SF School kids (our 7thgroup we’ve taken) and get to go freely to the workshops without pre-signing up in my new status as a Distinguished Service Lifetime Member (conferred upon me last year at this time). I always enjoy hanging out with the California crew in a new place and likewise, meeting the folks from around the country—and the world—some of whom I’ve gotten to know mostly because of these Conferences. 

Truth be told, most of the drama takes place indoors in a generic hotel or convention center, but there have been some memorable tastes of American cities—blues clubs on Memphis’ Beale St. and a trip to Graceland, Niagara Falls near Rochester, a Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas, the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham, an art museum in Milwaukee, the arch in St. Louis and so on. These 3-day affairs truly are a condensed version of life, with weddings, memorial services, betrayals, awards, meetings with notable musicians (Jean Ritchie. The Georgia Sea Island Singers. Paul Winter. Glen Velez), great dancing at the Saturday banquet, late night convivial comradery at the hotel bar and just plain fun. 

Three classes at school today and then off I go. Wheeee!

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