Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Pink Martini's New Year Eve in Portland, Oregon

Pink Martini's
Hey Eugene

I am one lucky woman! For Christmas I received ticket to the Pink Martini Concert in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Oh my goodness was I ever in for a treat.

(The Schnitz as the locals call it is located in downtown Portland, Oregon on Broadway. It sits next to the Heathman Hotel and housed performing guest Jane Powell.)

Pink Martini is a Local group gone international. Led by the eclectic concert/jazz pianist and composer/art director Thomas M. Lauderdale, Pink Martini continues to surprise and entertain it's audiences with their blend of original compositions, international flavor and classical music made unique by their style.

Last night we heard the extraordinary clarinet of Norman Leyden, former directer of the Pops program for the Oregon Symphony. If the angels had been singing it could not have been any more beautiful. About Leyden:

  • A very successful Pops program was established with Norman Leyden in 1970; Leyden was appointed Associate Conductor in 1974. He was named Laureate Associate Conductor in 2003.
But that was not enough. Then we were treated to a guest appearance by none other than Portland's Jane Powell. Miss Powell, age 79 did a narrative of Peter and the Wolf accompanied by a Pink Martini and the Grant High School chorus, ended with the wolf living in the zoo and the duck being burped up by the wolf! It could not have gotten much more Oregon/politically correct than that.

They concluded the concert with Lauderdale playing Malagena concert style on that beautiful grand piano! It was a true show stopper.

For the very first time I visited the Salmon Street entrance/stage door of the Schnitzer Concert Hall. I ran into, literally, Mayor Tom Potter, spoke to Thomas' Lauderdale's piano teacher and left a message for Norman Leyden. It took a lot of courage on my part plus the company of my daughter to do this. But standing next to Thomas Lauderdale for just a moment and basking in the wonder of my Christmas gift was simply "glorious" (a term Jane Powell used when she made a few comments to the audience.)

Incidentally the note to Leyden said simply, "Thank you".

A special thanks to Higgins Restaurant for a wonderful meal and a waiter that kept saying we were "good" when he saw us walk in the room. I had the tuna with a Meyer lemon sauce. It was the best seared tuna I have ever eaten. You can never go wrong at Higgins

So there you have it...the perfect Christmas gift and a "glorious" New Year's Eve. Thomas Lauderdale with his many home town connections and unique style has done it again.


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