Archive for August 2011

Save the Date!   Leave a comment

I wanted to let you know that I’ll be doing another recital at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown LA on Wednesday, September 21. That’s about a week before Rosh Hashana, so I’ll be including a good portion of Jewish organ music! These Wednesday programs start around 12:45 (after the noon Mass), and are about half an hour long.

Hope to see you there!

Posted August 29, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

Jack Russell Terriers and Philip Leakey   Leave a comment

When we were training our first Jack, my wife made a telling comment, “All of life is interesting for a Jack Russell Terrier!” So true!

For those of you who, like me, didn’t really know dog breeds, these dogs were first bred in the 19th century by an English minister named John Russell (a great  fox hunter – somewhat less of a parson perhaps, as his bishop censured him for riding to hounds instead of caring for his flock!), and are  super-energetic and somewhat stubborn. The cute little dog on the old “Frasier” TV show was a JRT. Someone said a JRT will make you laugh at least once a day – also true!

Curiosity – we are all born with it, but JRTs retain it, while most humans seem not to. NYTimes columnist David Brooks, who has been in East Africa recently, has a wonderful story about one human who has stayed curious.

          He concludes:

“Some people specialize, and certainly the modern economy encourages that. But there are still people, even if only out in the African wilderness, with a wandering curiosity, alighting on every interesting part of their environment.

“… the essential piece of advice for a question-driven life: Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.”

The whole piece (as with most of Brooks’ columns) is well worth a minute or two of your time! Check it out:

P.S. If you’re thinking about getting a Jack Russell Terrier, think twice, and be sure to check out for their advice and an online profiler. We’re devoted Jack owners, and now on our second one, but they do take special attention!

Posted August 22, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

Please refrain from talking during the performance…   1 comment

We heard a wonderful performance last week at the Hollywood Bowl, featuring some of the best jazz musicians in the world, headed by the great pianist Herbie Hancock. As with every performance at the Bowl, the auto-voice concluded with the title of this post. A good friend next to me commented, “Oh come on, it’s jazz!” She did have a point there! But most performers I know (whether in classical music or any other live-performance art form) are, to put it politely, ‘bothered’ by people talking during their performance, often so insensitive (both to the performers and the other audience members) as to continue talking – sometimes quite loudly – when others have quieted to listen. Sometimes, when this has happened in the instrumental part of a church service I have simply stopped playing in mid-piece, and the farther from a cadence the better!

Anyway, here’s a link to a funny video showing some other musicians’ live reaction to one of these talkers. But it didn’t look to me like the guy got the point…

Posted August 17, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

How true!   Leave a comment

True, it is always exhilarating, but most of the time very unpopular, often painful – and altogether dangerous – to insist upon excellence.” Antal Dorati, Conductor

But sometimes I do it anyway!

Posted August 4, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

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