6. Finding the goodness…

| May 23, 2014 | Reply
Me and Joe Don, dancing at a street dance. Only photo I could find of him.

Me and Joe Don, dancing at a street dance. Only photo I could find of him.

Lesson learned from Rod Kennedy:  The book cover doesn’t tell all the story.

In the early 1980s, I witnessed a classical music concert specifically for children. Producer Rod Kennedy, who loved and taught me to love all sorts of music, put together a plethora of music acts to show children that “Serious Music Can Be Fun.”

On stage left was young, tuxedo-clad cellist Bill DeRosa, performing on a rare and pristine cello crafted by Domenico Montagnana in 1739. On stage right was bead-wearing, shure-nuf hippy self-taught cellist Joe Don Kotrla, with his washtub bass with its one string attached to a broomstick, handcrafted only a year before.

This concert was very “Dueling Banjos” style. DeRosa would play out a kid-friendly, simple tune for the kids, and the cello kicked out the sound with such magnitude that led to ahs and ohs from

Backstage, sometime in the early 1980s.

Backstage, sometime in the early 1980s.

the young audience. Kotrla would pick out the same tune, with the sound coming through a microphone laying on the floor, which emphasized that Kotrla never missed a match. The washtub resonated and, again, the auditorium was filled with exclamations from wide-eyed children. Then, Kotrla would pick out some number, followed by DeRosa’s impromptu interpretation. Each met with excitement and excellence. It all made up a good lesson in the joy of serious music and gave both musicians an appreciate of each other’s style and talent.

The parents of those lucky children went on to hear DeRosa, backed by the Austin Symphony, in a rich classical concert later that weekend.

DeRosa went to become world acclaimed.

Kotrla went on to to doing everything else he wanted, including volunteering at the Kerrville Festivals.

I went on to understand there’s worth in every talent, every accomplishment.

Category: *- Features, - CD Reviews, MJ's Story/ Blog

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