Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chopin Heard and Woven in South Pasadena

On April 11, 2010, at South Pasadena Library's historic Community Room, poets and pianists gathered to celebrate Chopin's birthday and share the treasures of Chopin with Cherries. The terrible tragedy of a Presidential plane crash near Smolensk, Russia, with the death of 95 victims on the previous day, April 10, darkened the mood. The tragic accident was acknowledged with a minute of silence.

Fifteen poets read their works in person: Millicent Borges Accardi, Peggy Castro, Helen Graziano, Laura Mays Hoopes, Lois P. Jones, Rick Lupert, Radomir Luza, Mira Mataric, Susan Rogers, Marylin N. Robertson, Russell Salamon, Kathi Stafford, Maja Trochimczyk, Erika Wilk, and Kath Abela Wilson. In addition, we heard poetry by: Lia Brooks, Victor Contoski, Emily Fragos, John Z. Guzlowski, Lola Haskins, Elizabeth Hiscox, Marlene Hitt, R. Romea Luminarias, Ruth Nolan, Dean Pasch, and Nils Petersen.

Chopin’s music was played by special guest artist, pianist Dr. Neil Galanter in the first half and students of Prof. Roza Yoder from Pacific Azusa University: Kristi Chiou, Staci Chiou, Sue Zhou, and Anna Nizhegorodtseva. An additional treat during the intermission was the unveiling of a new Chopin tapestry by Monique Lehman, created for an exhibition in Poland.

One of the guests, writer Frank Zajaczkowski, author of Passage to England among other books, described this event in his blog, My So-Called Paradise (April 12, 2010). Frank divides his life between the Caribbean islands and Los Angeles and many of his notes are about his island adventures, sailing and fishing. This is how he describes his adventure with Chopin:

Sunday at twilight. South Pasadena. The Library. Set in the middle of a small, verdant park.

The skies are cloudy; wind churns the dense trees. It is perfect stagecraft for the early evening poetry reading and piano recital inside the community room of this graceful building.

It is, of course, the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth this year, and tonight poetry will be read from a collected edition of tribute poems, Chopin with Cherries, edited by Maja Trochimczyk.

Mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, études, impromptus and préludes fill the small chamber at the hands of students and master pianists alike, with poetical interludes that link the voice and timbre of human longing and laughter through the evening and the centuries.

When at last we leave, Netty and I, the rain begins in earnest, determined to play its part.

Rain on, dark clouds. Blow strong, you winds. Ring out the stars in their elegant appreciation.

Some of the musicians and poets (L-R): Kristi Chiou, Stacy Chiou, Anna Nizghorodtseva, Russell Salamon, Neil Galanter, Sue Zhou, Mira Mataric, Erika Wilk, Lois P. Jones, Kathabela Wilson, Marilyn N. Robertson, Rick Lupert, Radomir Luza. Seated: Maja Trochimczyk, Susan Rogers, Monique Lehman, and Peggy Castro.

More photos from the event are in its Picasa Web Album.

(c) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk

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