Some observations

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another splendid evening of music has come and gone. The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, University Choir, Choral Union and student and faculty soloists performed beautifully Tuesday night.

Each year, as Christmas approaches, you can find special performances airing on PBS stations from colleges around the country with fine choral and orchestral traditions.

When are we going to see the many talented performers from Southeast Missouri on TV?

If you happen to be sitting in Row F of the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the university's River Campus, you are exactly at eye level with the knees of orchestra members. And you have a clear view of the shoes the performers wear.

The men and women of the orchestra, and the singers too, look so professional in tuxedos, black gowns or pants suits. Someone has instructed all the performers to wear black shoes.

Perhaps it's a quirk of performing artists, but it is clear the definition of "black shoes" is entirely left up to the wearer.

So, in addition to polished leather and other well-tended shoe surfaces, there was some interesting footwear on display.

One cello player's shoes may have been, once upon a time, black. But for Tuesday's performance they were coated in what appeared to be a film of chalk dust. Some of the women, taking into consideration the freezing outdoor temperatures, wore high-heeled boots. Black, of course.

One of the best footwear choices was that of the concertmaster, whose spiffy cowboy boots added a flair not often seen during a high-caliber musical performance.

I wouldn't change a thing about what the wonderful musicians chose to put on their feet -- although a damp cloth would do wonders for that chalk dust.

You may remember some time back I told you about my Aunt Dobby, who was in a nursing home at the time.

Dobby's the one whose doctor told her he was trying to make her better, and Dobby told the doctor, "Try harder, dammit."

Dobby also told us when we were leaving after a visit, "Don't forget me."

Another chapter has come to a close. Dobby died last week. Her funeral was on Monday, a cold, cold day.

"Dobby" was a nickname she received as a girl. She preferred it over her given name, which she did not like at all. Nor did she like anyone who used it.

And Dobby was fiercely secretive about her age. The only time she really got angry at my mother -- they had a wonderful relationship in their last years -- was the time my mother asked, during a telephone visit, how old one of Dobby's daughters was. "You're just trying to figure out how old I am," Dobby said as she slammed down the phone.

Both Dobby's real name and her age were readily available at her funeral.

But I wouldn't dare tell you either of them. First of all, as Dobby would say, it's none of your business. Second of all, I figure Dobby has connections now that are far more powerful than the glare she gave to anyone who messed around with her name or age.

Rest in peace, Dobby. We won't forget.

Joe Sullivan is the former editor of the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: