The Jazzcat

LeRoy Downs experiences Classical music at the Hollywood Bowl!

by on Sep.11, 2004, under News


What?  LeRoy Downs attended a

classical performance? Well, yes, in fact I have attended a few concerts this

season at the Hollywood Bowl but, tonight’s performance at the Bowl was

especially lovely. As you may or may not know, the Hollywood Bowl has been

revamped with a new shell and a new more sophisticated sound system. The stage

has been enlarged to accommodate more performers and the musicians are not as

crowded as they have been in years past.


The ambiance, the colors and the

night sky were the ultimate enhancers of the performance. The weather was a perfect

78 degrees and such a needed transition from the 90 plus degree afternoon that

we all experienced here in LA. I wish that you were here tonight or that I

could at least have taken a picture for you that would have captured the night

sky. If you tilted your head all the way back and looked up, you would have seen

a backdrop of the most beautiful blue with clouds in the shapes of your

imagination perfectly spaced apart like a painting directly from the creator.

The clouds were so close it was almost like we were inside of one of those little

globe toys filled with water, that we all were so enamored with as

children. A natural spherical finite dome of beauty!


The compositions in tonight’s

performance were short suites. The program consisted of Samuel Barber's “Overture to The

School for Scandal”, “Dance of Vengeance” and “Violin Concerto” and Aaron Copland's

“Appalachian Spring” featuring the Martha Graham Dance Company.  Delectable to the pallet

and as rich as fine chocolate from Holland.

The violins were especially harmoniously sweet and remarkable in Barber's Violin Concerto. 

From the dramatic to the light and lovely sound of the bow upon strings,

this piece was quite extraordinary.  Each selection was a tremendous

success!  Christopher Wilkins was on the bill to conduct the orchestra this evening, however,

another gentleman conducted tonight and this was the grand debut for him at the



Maybe you don’t think of it often or

perhaps feel that you do not know enough about classical music but I,


hardcore straight ahead jazz lover am here, and I will say that the

music is the perfect anecdote to traffic, hot cars with no air

conditioning, and the sticky feeling of doing business in a shirt and

tie on a

hot summer day and all of the other mayhem that we have to encounter on

a daily


Of course you can always do your own more upscale version but here are my recommendations for a

great time at the Bowl.


On a warm summer night,

do not bring bags, purses, keys, cell phones, jackets or anything cumbersome.

Rid yourself of all the unnecessary extras and detach yourself from the rest of

the world for a few hours.

2)   Buy or prepare food

ahead of time. Make sure that all containers are perishable. Carry it in a

paper or plastic bag with plastic utensils.


Park at the Hollywood and Highland

complex and take the shuttle for $3.


Buy something to drink at the complex so you can get your parking ticket stamped. This way, when you take the

shuttle back, you will only pay $2 for parking.


Go early and enjoy your

meal. When finished, toss all the perishables and you will feel free with no extras

to carry or be responsible for.


You can bring friends

but, I suggest going by yourself. It is a peaceful experience, especially when

the only conversation is between you and the music.


If you do travel with

someone, don’t bring a talker. If you are a talker, this is an opportunity to spend

some time just being quiet. It is nice to let your mind breathe and contemplate

the possibilities in life.

8)   And after all, the most inexpensive ticket price is only $1.00!!!!


As a human being, I implore you to

toss your inhibitions aside and just do it. Go and experience classical music

at the Bowl. It is like a massage for your mind. The audience is so respectful of

the music and so quiet it feels like you are one with the music. As your chest

expands, you can literally hear yourself breathe in a sea of people. You will

come away with new thoughts and possibilities about your life and the music will

feed your soul!


LeRoy Downs



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