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‘Tis The Season For Giving

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Tell me it’s not the Holiday Season again. Tell me the calendar’s wrong and a whole month has been omitted. Tell me that, if I just close my eyes and click my heels together, it will be March or April. Does someone expect ME to bring toys, casseroles, pies or whatever to a gathering? Me? Have you ever tasted my home-cooked meals? And decorations: I have to haul everything down from the attic and try to figure out how to put it all together again. As for gifts, I know I’ll spend a fortune on stupid, useless things that no one really wants.

Do I sound like the Grinch? Well, I’m sorry, but it is what it is. I’ll bet some of you agree, although you might not admit it. 

Do I sound like the Grinch?  Well, I’m sorry, but it is what it is. I’ll bet some of you agree, although you might not admit it. Are you still caught up in the idea of carolers trekking through the snow in their Victorian apparel to sing at your front door in glorious harmony? C’mon! It doesn’t snow in San Antonio, and if you see someone walking down Houston Street in top hats and satin dresses, they probably just recovered from a Halloween party.

And the little kids with their rosy cheeks and wide eyes? Sorry. They’re busy with their electronics and can’t be bothered with toy trains and dolls. Are you actually roasting a turkey this year? Well, I tried that, and, believe me, it goes a lot better if you remember to take the plastic bag full of gizzards out of the turkey first… As for pies, I can give you the name of some really good bakeries.

Before you go absolutely around the bend, please put a CD in your player. Not Christmas music, pul-eeze:  there’s enough of that in elevators! No, something like the Ariel String Quartet playing Mozart. 

So there.  I’ve said all I can about the wonders of the holiday season – except for one small item.  Before you go absolutely around the bend, please put a CD in your player.  Not Christmas music, pul-eeze:  there’s enough of that in elevators!  No, something like the Ariel String Quartet playing Mozart.  Find a comfortable spot, close your eyes and just enjoy. You’ll feel so much calmer, I guarantee. Oh, and when the music ends and you’re ready to face the over-cooked turkey, the lumpy potatoes, the pie that fell apart and that string of lights that only lit every other one – before you’re ready to do the Happy Holidays Shuffle again, remember:  someone appreciates and needs you.  Yes, you.

We, the San Antonio Chamber Music Society, we appreciate your faithful attendance at our concerts, we love your generosity that keeps those concerts coming each season for all these years and we look forward to seeing you (or whatever’s left) at our January 26th concert.  By then, you should be sufficiently recovered from the holidays to enjoy the Akropolis Reed Quintet, right?  Help us keep the Sunday afternoon concerts coming and – oh, yes: Happy Holidays!

– E Doyle


The holidays have come and gone, and they do so faster each year.  Have you noticed, too?  Seems like I just got the Christmas tree decorated, the wreath up on the door and the cards posted hither and yon (I don’t have nearly as many “hither and yons” as I used to, I noticed).  Now it’s time to pick up the paper and the ribbons, dividing up that which can be re-used and that which goes into the recycler; it’s time to take down the jaunty little tree with its fruit of  precious ornaments, its icicles of foil and my favorite crocheted angles, its chandelier crystals that sparkled in the tiny lights.  And with it all packed away, so goes that very special feeling one has at Christmas time.  It’s the same sense of joyful possibilities I’ve felt since childhood, I confess.  By the first week in January, I’ve settle back into my old habits, the optimism I felt for the old world and its woes has settled into grey reality as I wonder if the furnace will make it through just one more winter. 

…But in hopes that I can capture again some of the fun of seasons past, I offer a re-gifted gift of wasted thyme and other strange and well-seasoned thoughts…

Among the leftovers, though, I found some craziness I had not been able to cram into the blog posts of the old year, and – waste not, want not (or whatnot as the case may be), I’ve made the brave decision not to pack them away, rather to try to find a place for them.  So what follows is a bit like saving a New Year’s champagne cork, trying to work it back into the bottle and hope that the champagne will keep its bubble.  I apologize in advance; I know the champagne’s probably flat and the Christmas turkey should have been made into soup by now.  But in hopes that I can capture again some of the fun of seasons past, I offer a re-gifted gift of wasted thyme and other strange and well-seasoned thoughts:

1)   Have you ever thought about the sound of a spider playing castanets?  Now, add to that a flamingo dancing – of course – flamenco.  If you’re thinking of Berlioz, you’re just cheating!

2)   Do black holes really exist, or are they products of the fevered imagination of some astrophysicist trying to scare us all half to death with the prospect of an enormous vacuum cleaner pulling us ever closer? Bless you, Stephen Hawking.  I wish you could come back and tell us just what a black hole is.  Does it make a terrible sucking sound?  Would it terrify house cats?  Maybe there are millions of little black holes and we live with them not even knowing.  Might explain missing socks and keys….

3)   Does anyone really know how to use Microsoft 10?

4)   Do window washers working on the windows of multi-story buildings ever look down?  I suppose the very brave who have confidence in the scaffolding and the straps might, but why would anyone be up there, squeegee-ing windows?  Perhaps the feeling that they are doing something no one else would dare to try – like playing a Paganini sonata on a borrowed violin, maybe.  Perhaps they fool their minds into believing that the clouds are their friends, or that the people on the street really are just ants.  And you know the old saying that maybe they keep in mind:  it’s not the fall, it’s the landing.

5)   What was the last really good movie you saw?  Was it in color or black and white?

6)   Consider the tango, please.  Of course, we know it’s an institution in Argentina, but how did people imagine that distinctive rhythm and even begin to think they could dance to it let alone write so many variations?   Living in Buenos Aires, I recognized the tango as the music of the latest revolution; it was played, in its many iterations, over and over again when the news was too inflammatory to broadcast, so my association with tango may not be as pleasant as yours.  You enjoy the compositions of Piazzolla and Gardel as sensual, beautiful music.  I grit my teeth and wait for the sound of shattering windows.  It’s all in the associations.

Fear not for we do have some truly exciting, non-re-gifted presents for you.

Well, it’s definitely time to re-cork the champagne.  It may be a bit flat, but mix it with some orange juice and call it mimosa.  Cheers!  Here’s to 2019 and wonderful music to enjoy just as much as flamingos dancing – no, I’m not going there again.  Fear not for we do have some truly exciting, non-re-gifted presents for you. January 27, we present the Cavatina Duo, doing what no one’s ever done before with just a guitar and a flute played by two masters of their instruments.  Furthermore, we bring you the world premiere of “Three Artisans,” a composition by San Antonio’s own master of the guitar, Matthew Dunne.  Shake off the cobwebs and leftovers of 2018 and begin a bright, sparkling season of musical joy.

Best wishes for your own new year!

– E Doyle

Green Toenails and Chamber Music

Today I painted my toenails green – a bright, cheerful, Christmas-y green.  No one will see them but me, since the season for sandals has passed, but as I clomp around in my heavy winter shoes, I’ll know that my toenails are brilliant green and I will smile a secret smile.

And chamber music?  Well, it will be the last week in January, January 24th to be precise, before I can enjoy the most excellent Gryphon Trio, a piano trio that is known for what the LA Times calls a “bravura spirit.”  I’m not sure what that means, but I plan to find out.  I wonder if it’s anything like bright green toenails….

So, not having anything better to enjoy, I thought I’d paint my toenails green – and while the effect is not quite the same as celebrating the joy of gorgeous music, painting my toenails green does provide a glimmer of seasonal joy.  And by the time the Gryphon Trio comes to San Antonio Chamber Music Society and brings the joy of harmonies and performance excellence, I will be on my third or fourth rendering of green toenails.  I wonder if anyone will notice.

– E Doyle

We are thankful

For music – the wonderful harmonies of the old masters that color our thoughts like an Impressionist painting; the modern music whose atonalities speak to a new level of awareness and makes us question our sensibilities.

For our audiences – who for 75 years have encouraged us to continue, who have offered opinions, criticisms, gratitude and attention to our efforts.

For the many superb musicians who have brought the world’s music to us, sharing their virtuosity and vision, bringing their understanding and interpretations and their willingness to teach our youngsters the meaning of classical music artistry.


For the generations of our Board members who have worked unceasingly, year in and year out, to produce concerts of value to our city.

Join us in thanks-giving.

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