Saturday, February 27, 2016

A great choral music tradition in Niagara

I have written in this space previously about my unabashed love of great choral singing.  Be it a local choir or a recording of a well-known international choir, I just find myself wrapped up in the music in no time.

Fortunately this week I have the pleasure of enjoying both:  two local choirs will be performing and recordings of a great international choir well worth listening to.

Let's begin with the recordings.

Prior to Christmas I promoted to subscribers in my monthly Fine Music Newsletter the release of a new box set to commemorate the passing last year of the great Sir David Willcocks, who many will remember as the genial and inspirational conductor of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge from 1954 to 1973.  Entitled "The Complete Argo Recordings", the 29-CD box set make for absolutely sublime listening, as I have discovered while sampling the box set this week.  Of the 29 CDs in the box, I am as of this writing listening to disc 28, and each and every one of the discs has been a revelation.

From masses of William Byrd to Bach's St. John Passion to several classic recordings of the holiday Festival of Lessons and Carols, this box set has it all, with lovely sound, copious notes and the type of singing you just don't hear much anymore.

Willcocks, whom I enjoyed watching conduct our own Chorus Niagara back about 15 years ago, is a master of extracting exquisite sound from the voices under his watch, and this new set celebrates not only his genius, but the genius of so many great composers who wrote for the human voice.  The unity of sound is incredible, making you long to be in a stately English cathedral as an exceptional choir allows their collective voices to wash over you.

The closest I have found on this side of the ocean is the Elora Festival Singers while singing in their home church, St. John's in Elora, conducted by Noel Edison.  Rarely a year goes by when I don't hear that wonderful choir in their home church, as the sound is full, rich and full of colour.

But the Choir of King's College, Cambridge?  For many, they are the gold standard for choirs, at least during the long tenure of Sir David.  These discs will be enjoyed and treasured by many for years to come.

Willcocks conducts most of the discs, of course, but there are a few earlier discs conducted by his predecessor, Boris Ord, and they have been rarely heard for many years now.  In fact, the Christmas Eve 1954 recording of the Festival of Lessons and Carols conducted by Boris Ord is receiving its first-ever release on CD in this lavish package.

It is not an inexpensive set, to be sure, but clearly it is of value to any lover of fine choral music.  I have enjoyed every disc already as I have listened whenever time would allow this past week.  I suspect you will become wrapped up in the music should you have a chance to hear it too.

You can, of course, by ordering the box set through my website,  Or you can just email me your request directly at  I will be happy to introduce you to a world of great choral music all wrapped up in one box set!

On the local scene, our own Chorus Niagara performs next weekend in Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.  Entitled Eternity, the concert will feature as its centre-piece the great B-Minor Mass by J.S. Bach, performed by the 100-voice choir joined with the Orpheus Choir of Toronto and the Talisker Baroque Players.  Programmed alongside the Bach B-Minor Mass will be the Canadian premiere of Bastian Cleve's "The Sound of Eternity", 27 short dialogue-free films created to mirror the 27-part musical structure of Bach's great vocal work.

Robert Cooper will be conducting the concert next Saturday evening, March 5th at 7:30 pm, and tickets should still be available by calling the box office at the PAC at 905-688-0722.

In the more immediate future, Niagara's other great choral tradition, Choralis Camerata, presents their  popular concert celebrating Black History Month, entitled "Beyond the North Star."  This concert has been performed at various locations around Niagara in the past, although I don't believe it has been for the last couple of years at least.

Tomorrow afternoon at 2:30, Choralis Camerata will be joined by guest vocalists Teresa Holierhoek and Justin Bacchus, alongside musicians Nick Braun and Rob McBride in a performance of music telling the story of how many African-Americans escaped slavery in the southern United States by travelling the so-called Underground Railroad to the promised land of Canada.  The history of this struggle has roots right here in Niagara, of course, as Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most daring and famous conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Harriet Tubman lived for many years in St. Catharines, of course, and attended services at the historic BME Church on Geneva Street.  A statue of the great conductor can now be seen at the new school that bears her name on Henry Street in central St. Catharines.

Her exploits, as well as the courageous and heroic efforts of everyone involved with the Underground Railroad are presented with words and music in the Beyond the North Star concert Sunday afternoon.  The music will be presented by Choralis Camerata and musical friends; the words will be presented by your humble scribe, once again pleased and honoured to be a part of this great concert.  I love this music and the tremendously brave people who are part of the stories inspiring the music.

Tickets should be available at the door for tomorrow afternoon's concert at St. Andrew's United Church on Morrison Street in Niagara Falls.  It begins at 2:30.

I hope to see a nice turnout for tomorrow's concert, not only to enjoy the words and music, but also to learn more about the significant contributions we made right here in Niagara to liberating many African-Americans from their difficult lives down south.

Enjoy your weekend!

February 27th, 2016.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A dolphin, selfies, walking for the homeless and Essential Collective Theatre

Riddle me this, Batman:  what do selfies, an Argentinian baby dolphin, walkers in St. Catharines and Essential Collective Theatre all have in common?  Other than the fact they will all be subject matter for this week's column, they all play a part in showing the good - and the bad - of the human condition.

It's been quite a week.

It was a week when I wanted to throw up at the heartless people thinking only of themselves, yet find solace in the thousands of Canadians who came out to make a statement across this country about those less fortunate than ourselves, and a week when though-provoking and edgy theatre made us question the motives of the so-called 1% of society.

Let's begin on a beach in Argentina, where tourists were apparently caught taking selfies with a young Franciscana dolphin snatched from the water recently.  At first I thought it can't be; this must be a joke.  But apparently not.

For some unknown reason other than perhaps people were thinking of themselves rather than the welfare of others, these tourists couldn't figure out for themselves this was not a good idea.  A dolphin is not supposed to be out of the water for any period of time, and being passed around from person to person while each took a selfie with the hapless dolphin in the blazing hot Argentinian sun ended with predictable results.

The dolphin died.

It died because these unthinking clods were too self-absorbed to notice, or to even care.  Now, after the fact it has been reported by one of the participants the dolphin was dead before being removed from the water, but from the pictures I've seen that doesn't appear to be the case.

In any event, a young dolphin - part of a vulnerable species, the Franciscana, no less - died rather than receive proper care if indeed it was in distress.  If it was fine while in the water, the death is even more difficult to accept.

So what do we take from this?  Once again, we see the ugly side of this new digital - Me Only - age.  People are more concerned with getting a great picture to post on social media than with helping those in need.  It has happened before with traffic accidents as well - people take the picture first and maybe they will act...later.  If at all.

When did we become as a society so self-centred and out of touch with humanity?  Is it just something we can blame on the digital age or is it rooted in something deeper than that?  I don't have the answer, but I do have lots of questions after this latest incident on the beach in Argentina.

I want to believe there is good in people, and I still do.  But after that story, I had my doubts.

That brings us to this weekend's annual Coldest Night of the Year walk, held across the country in about 100 communities including several here in Niagara.  In St. Catharines, for example, about 400 walkers took part in a 2, 5 or ten-kilometre walk through the centre of the city to raise funds for those living in poverty.

In this city alone, about $80,000 was raised for the Start Me Up Niagara Outreach Centre.  Across the country since 2011, a total of $7.9 million has been raised for the homeless.

That's a lot of caring.

It didn't take a lot of effort, really, and the irony of course is that in Niagara at least, it was anything but the coldest night of the year last evening with temperatures near 10 celsius.  But the intent was there no matter the temperature, and the walkers I encountered as they made their way along Welland Avenue seemed genuinely committed to the cause and happy to be so.

Isn't that a better optic than taking selfies with a helpless dolphin?

Yes, Virginia, there is still good in people all around us, and I for one am thankful for those who walk the walk as well as talk the talk.  The participants in yesterday's Coldest Night of the Year walk deserve our gratitude as well as our donations.

So in this week of extremes as we saw the good and not so good in people, we also saw the opening of an edgy, though-provoking stage presentation at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.  The second production by St. Catharines-based Essential Collective Theatre at the PAC's Robertson Theatre opened Thursday evening and continues until the end of the month.

The play is Poor, written by Suzanne Ristic, which was first produced at the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival and workshopped both in Vancouver and here at Essential Collective Theatre over the past year prior to this production opening this week.

Directed by theatre veteran Karen Wood and starring ECT's Artistic Director Monica Dufault, Poor is a one-woman show exploring the feelings of one of the so-called "one-percenters".  Filthy rich Shelly Cormorant is feeling a void in her comfortable world, and she sets about doing something about it.

Cormorant decides to "play poor" in order to see how those less fortunate actually live.  What she finds is enlightening to both her and I dare say, to us, too.

The play describes - in sometimes excruciating detail - the plight of the less fortunate in society today:  the homeless, the women trapped in abusive relationships, the souls with mental health issues with no place to turn and so on.

It isn't a pretty picture.  And it is a picture described in oftentimes crude language in the play by Dufault, who takes on several roles in the play besides the pivotal character of well-to-do Shelly.

Now I know this is supposed to be entertaining theatre rather than just a dour testament to the plight of the less-fortunate amongst us, so Poor has to strike a delicate balance here.  For the most part, it hits the mark in entertaining fashion.  It makes you laugh, and it makes you think, as well it should.

The conversation should not end when the house lights come up, though.  We need to show we can learn from the play, as well as from the negligence of those tourists in Argentina and the dedicated walkers across the country supporting Coldest Night of the Year.  We need to open the dialogue on the subject of caring for others rather than just being casual observers without actually doing anything about it.

We are a caring community, and I believe we genuinely want to take our cue from Mayor Walter Sendzik's State of the City address last month when he challenged each and every one of us to be part of just that:  a caring community.

We can help achieve that by doing one small thing for the less fortunate amongst us.  That's the thrust of a symposium on poverty in Niagara sponsored by the Niagara Community Foundation coming up this Tuesday, February 23rd at Silver Spire United Church in downtown St. Catharines.  The free community event runs from 1:30 to 5 pm and is a perfect opportunity for the community to show they care, and not just offer lip-service regarding the plight of the less-fortunate.

Let's get the dialogue going this Tuesday afternoon, and show the dedication displayed by the walkers this weekend for the Coldest Night of the Year as well as the artistic team at ECT.

Poor, incidentally,  has a short run at the PAC, running only to the end of the month from Wednesday to Sunday.  You can call the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office for tickets at 905-688-0722.

Catch the show if at all possible before it closes.  It will make you think.  And hopefully, act on those thoughts.

Have a great week!

February 21st, 2016.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Some creative suggestions for your Valentine from the arts sector

I noticed while doing my errands this afternoon, the final shopping day before that over-commercialized non-event known as Valentine's Day arrives, scores of people were scanning the card racks in the greeting card aisle as well as the candy and flower departments at several major stores in Niagara.

Now, I love chocolate as much as the next person, and knowing my significant other is thinking about me at least one day of the year is nice, but is all that commercialized hype really necessary?  What about the rest of the year?  Are we to forget about showing our appreciation the rest of the time?

Of course not.  Or at least, I hope not.

I got to thinking of other, more clever ways of showing your appreciation that might make that special person in your life notice you really went out of your way to create the "wow" factor on that special day, and it came to me the local performing arts scene might be a good place to start.

Just think about this for a moment:  rather than buy another box of chocolates or spring for a dozen roses that will be half the price next week when the hype is done with, why not get a nice card and enclose a pair of tickets to an upcoming performance your special someone might enjoy?

Herewith, some suggestions from your humble scribe...

This first is an easy one, as it happens tomorrow, February 14th.  Gallery Players of Niagara will make their debut at the Cairns Recital Hall at the new FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Sunday afternoon at 2 pm with a performance featuring the Eybler Quartet.

The concert is appropriately entitled From the Heart and features a new transcription of Schumann's Liederkreis Op. 39, as well as Beethoven's very personal String Quartet Op. 18 # 6, subtitled "Melancholy", and several other works.  The Liederkreis performance will highlight the talents of special guest artist, Niagara's own baritone Brett Polegato.

So just include a note inside the card to make yourself available in the afternoon and head to the PAC for a romantic afternoon performance.  You could even sweeten the deal with brunch beforehand or dinner afterwards at one of several downtown restaurants close by.  It might be wise to make a reservation first, though, just in case.

For tickets to the Gallery Players concert tomorrow, call 905-468-1525 or call the PAC box office at 905-688-0722.

Speaking of events at the PAC, this coming week Essential Collective Theatre opens their second show at the Robertson Theatre, Suzanne Ristic's play Poor, described as an edgy, dark comedy about an ultra-rich woman whose wealthy lifestyle crumbles when she pretends to be homeless in order to better understand the plight of the other 99%.  It's a timely piece not without its fair share of humour, along with a very important message.

This mature content performance should make you think, and feeding the mind is just important as feeding the body, right?  Poor plays Wednesday night of this week and continues until the 28th of the month, with performances Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm.

For tickets, call the PAC box office at 905-688-0722.

For something a little different, why not catch the next Avanti Chamber Singers performance at Covenant Christian Reformed Church in north-east St. Catharines?  This great local choir directed by  Harris Loewen, performs as part of the annual Viva Voce! choral series hosted by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts at Brock University.

The next concert is Saturday, February 20th at 7:30 pm, and is entitled Animalia:  The Lighter Side of the Animal Kingdom and features the classic Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals, of course, alongside Whitacre's Animal Crackers, as well as madrigals and part-songs by a host of composers.

Tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the performance, so just write a note saying where you're going next Saturday night and enclose it in the card and you're done.  Easy!

The next Niagara Symphony Orchestra Pops! concert comes up next weekend in the wonderful Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.  Performances are Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm.

Bradley Thachuk conducts the NSO in a concert he's billed as "Oscar's Score Book" and features a host of Academy Award winning scores by composers ranging from John Williams and Henry Mancini to Erich Korngold and Howard Shore.  Most of the music will be quite familiar, but some rather obscure pieces might also make it onto the programme, I'm told.

Tickets are available by calling the PAC box office at 905-688-0722.

There are lots of other great performances at the PAC as well in their popular "Hot Ticket" series, including this week alone Jamie Adkins with Circus INcognitus with a family show at 7 pm on February 17th, and Steven Wright at Partridge Hall on the 18th at 7:30 pm.  Once again, the box office is your one-stop shop for all your PAC performances.

Finally, if your special someone likes jazz, why not slip a note in the card suggesting a night out on March 6th, when the acclaimed Twilight Jazz Series returns to the Mahtay Cafe & Lounge across from the PAC.  Canadian photographer, artist, singer and newscaster Angela Scappatura, who for a while covered the local arts scene for the St. Catharines Standard a few years ago, performs with Ross MacIntyre at Mahtay at 6 pm that Sunday evening.

Angela is still heard frequently reading the news on CBC Radio, and has performed with her group at jazz clubs around the world.  It should be a great concert and is sure to win over the heart of that special someone in your life.

Tickets should be available at the door.

So there you go - just make a call for tickets, or slip a note detailing the event in the card and you are done.  It doesn't get much better than that, and you enjoy our local arts scene as well as making someone happy.

Isn't that what Valentine's Day should be about?

Have a great weekend!

February 13th, 2016.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My new life after radio

It has been awhile since I provided an update on my job search and where life has taken me, and in fact it has taken me quite far over the past several months.  So this weekend I'll take a break from covering the arts as I usually do in this space to update you on my career status.

Several months ago I posted on Twitter and Facebook I had a choice of several job offers all in the same day, and I chose carefully and with both my heart and head to make what for me seemed to be the best choice.  I decided to hold off writing about my choice until now for a very simple reason.

I worried I wouldn't make it.

You see, the second career path I chose turned out to be the hardest job I have ever done, both physically and mentally.  After about a year in banking, over 20 in the retail music business and over 40 years in radio, I was ready for a new challenge, and I found it in something I do pretty much every day.


Not just any walking, but walking a mail route, delivering the mail for Canada Post.  It is physically demanding work that has resulted in my losing at this writing over 17 pounds since early November, and at last count, at least one large toenail from all the wear and tear on my feet.

Such is the life of a postal worker.  It is not an easy job, and this week I'll explain why.

First, let me explain the hiring process is long and not particularly easy.  Not everyone is cut out for this kind of work, and the hiring criteria is in place to determine those who can and those who can't.
If you make it through the online assessment, in-person interview and physical abilities testing, you have only just begun.

In late September when I got the call I had passed the hurdles and was ready to start training, I was both elated and skeptical I could even then make the cut.  Oh, I believed in myself, certainly, but I knew it would not be easy.  Turned out I was right.

Almost three weeks of classroom and on-the-job training pretty much tells you whether you will make it or not, and for me, until I got that final mark on the written test and successfully performed the mail sorting test, I always had some lingering doubts.

Now, the job I applied for is as a casual, on-call letter carrier.  That means you can work any day they need you, but not necessarily every day.  There are full time and part time staff with much more seniority than I will ever have, so the likelihood I will ever become more than a casual on-call carrier is limited, as they warn you up front.

That being said, I got my first call just two days after I completed training in mid-October, and since the first week of November I have been working steadily almost every day.  So right now, the work is plentiful and I have learned a tremendous amount about the business.

But come the spring, I'm told, the work will be less frequent as the regular carriers carry the load for the most part until the next round of vacations start up in the summer months.  I knew that going in and along with the colleagues I trained with, we knew we were gambling there would be enough work to sustain us over the winter months.

For me it certainly has, and I am so very grateful for that.

However I still need to find other work to cover the times when I won't be called in to Canada Post regularly, as the mortgage still needs to be paid.  So while this is great work and I am thankful to have it, my job search has not ended, at least not yet.

What's the life of a postal worker like?  Interesting to say the least.  I am happy to say I have found myself surrounded by a pretty dedicated and friendly bunch of colleagues who understand the difficulties encountered when first starting out, and are more than happy to offer help when you need it.  In fact, although my radio family was great and tremendously dedicated, this group I work with on a daily basis take it to a whole new level.

The sense of camaraderie amongst postal workers is more than just paying lip-service.  They really care about one another and will jump in to help at a moment's notice.  It is almost breathtaking to see how readily they will jump into the breach to fill a void because simply put, they know the mail has to be delivered.

Oh sure, as in every job there are those you meet who grumble about one thing or another, but overall they are a pretty happy bunch who know how to have fun and also get the job done.

I don't mind saying I leaned on more than just a few of these dedicated individuals while I was learning the ropes, and am grateful for the help.  I still do, in fact, as they say it takes about a year to fully understand and master the job.

That's good to know, as there are still days I wonder what I've gotten myself into.

A letter carrier's day starts about 7 or 7:30 in the morning depending on the route, as you enter the depot and begin sorting the mail for your assigned route.  Most of the regulars have their own routes but as an on call carrier, I can be on a different route every day, which brings with it a unique set of

If you do the same route day in and day out, you get to know it like the back of your hand and can sort the mail and hit the route much faster.  For someone like myself, you have to get familiar with the route, so usually the first time I am on it I take longer, as I learn where the mailboxes are and just how the route works.  The more I am on a particular route, the better it goes, so I can see where being on your own route day in and day out would make you much faster and efficient.

Most carriers are out of the depot by about 9:30, although I am usually later than that and on heavy mail days later still.  The average walking route is about 15 kilometres, and four, five or more hours is usually needed to complete the route I find, depending on how many points of call you have to make.

No wonder you don't see many portly letter carriers.  Walking 15 or more kilometres a day burns a lot of calories.  I should get a tracker to see how many steps I walk on a daily basis, actually.

This winter has been largely benign as far as bad weather is concerned, at least so far.  I've been out on some pretty cold days to be sure, but if you dress warmly and keep moving, you generally don't have a problem.  Ice presents a problem too, but so far this winter I have only slipped a few times with no apparent damage, except to my pride.

Walking that much does take a toll on your feet, though, and mine look now as if they have been through the war, bandaged as they are, discoloured toenails and all.  I just took my first pair of walking boots in to the shoemaker for new heels as they are completely worn down after only about four months.

Yes, you walk a lot in this job.  But that is usually the part I most enjoy, getting out and meeting people while trying to better your time from the day before.

Two weeks ago I passed my first milestone with Canada Post, as I completed the required 480 hours of service required for your probation period, and now I am entitled to order my full uniform, which I will wear proudly as I represent the company on a daily basis.

Some things I've learned along the way?  Well, people have a strange sense of humour when it comes to what constitutes a mail receptacle and where it is located.  That's assuming there is one at all.

The mail box is one of the most visible aspects of your house as people approach, and it would not take a lot of money to invest in one that looks like it has not been in use since the turn of the last century. There are several companies that specialize in some pretty snazzy boxes that would help make your house look great and make the letter carrier's life a little easier.

House numbers are always a challenge, and you would be surprised how many people don't have one on their house.  Or if they do, it is not easily visible from the street.  Think about it.  You may know where you live and even your friends and family members know, but what if an ambulance is called to your house and they waste valuable seconds trying to determine which house is which?

I cannot stress the importance of a highly visible house number, especially at night.  It could someday save your life.

Apartment dwellers present other challenges, as I discovered over the holiday season.  You might think that wreath or holiday decoration on the apartment door is nice, but for a letter carrier looking for the apartment number, it can be a frustrating exercise.  Once again, keep the number visible if at all possible.

I've also learned the public perception of just what goes in to delivering the mail is not quite accurate.  There is a tremendous amount of respect for letter carriers on the whole, I find, but most people have no idea how much work goes into delivering the mail every day.  If they did, they would realize the $1 charge for a stamp is not that outrageous after all.

So that is where I am at right now.  I am busy, I am working, and I am happy most days with my performance.  There is always room for improvement on my part, of course, and I am still learning.  But I don't for a moment regret my decision.

Now, I have to build on this momentum and find more challenges to cover the slower periods of the year when I won't be called in quite that often.

In the meantime, smile at your letter carrier the next time you see him or her.  And if it is a gentleman you have not seen on your route before, it might just be me.

Have a great weekend!

February 6th, 2016.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Introducing new technology into the concert hall

I read last week where the deep-thinkers at the Boston

Symphony have decided the way to bring in younger

audience members is to introduce iPads loaded with

content specific to each performance.

This is an area of some concern to me as well as many others

as we watch to see how Boston Symphony patrons react to the


In a sense, it is a logical progression, since the audience they –

and many other performing arts organizations are chasing –

are very familiar with the technology at play here.

So far the iPads are only being used for the “Casual Friday”

concerts along with reduced prices, and only to people

sitting in the rear orchestra secton.   And the iPads themselves

can’t be used to surf the internet during the concert, either.

The fear, of course, is allowing such touch-screen technology

into North American concert halls.  After all, look at how

attached people have become to their beloved smart-phones

even once the lights go down.  The number of times I can spot

someone texting or surfing the net when they should be paying

attention to what’s going on up on stage – be it a concert or live

theatre event – quite frankly worries me.

Now I know, I know, we have nothing to fear here, they say.  

After all, wasn't it the Canadian Opera Company many years ago

that pioneered Surtitles at opera performances so the audience

members can follow along with the opera in their seats.  Once

dismissed as a new-fangled and unnecessary technological advance,

the idea has now travelled the globe and is standard practice in one

form or another in just about any opera house now.

Okay, they help us to understand the opera we're watching.  I get that.

But I think that process is a little less annoying than having one of those

ubiquitous lighted screens in many laps while the house lights are down.

Other orchestras appear to be following the BSO down that new

technology road, too.  The Philadelphia Orchestra, for example, has

developed a new app to let audience members follow along with

program notes, such as translations of vocal parts, in real time from

their personal devices.

Again, using a personal device during the concert.  So who is going

to ensure the thing doesn't ring during the performance, or the

audience member doesn't decided to follow a game instead while

their spouse is enjoying the concert?  One wonders...

We’ve become a nation addicted to technology and try as we

might, we can’t seem to put it down, even to enjoy a

performance we have presumably paid good money to attend.

Introducing more technology into the concert hall might seem

like fighting fire with fire, if you will, but what if it backfires?

Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned here, but I like the idea of

shutting off the world for a couple of hours or so and just

escaping into the music or theatre performance.  And that

means shutting off the electronic world, too.

If you need another reason to perhaps shun the use of this

shared technology at performances, think about how many

others have used the device, and have they been properly

cleaned between performances? 

Do TV remotes in hotel rooms get cleaned routinely?  Not

all that often, I’m afraid.  If nothing else makes you sit up and

take notice of the performance, that just might.

It might even keep you up at night.

Pleasant dreams... 

February 1st, 2016.