FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - 2010 ASTA (string teachers' association, not travel agents) convention
Old Mar 3, 10, 1:26 pm
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,200
UA5974 DEN SJC 1506 1643 CR7 2A

A semi-genial, slightly hyper FA.

The snack box:

Kettle Classics potato chips - the usual;

Oloves tasty Mediterranean pitted green olives with basil
and garlic - mild but surprisingly good-tasting, not too

Torino grissini (good);

Pepperidge Farm butter crackers (ok);

Rondele peppercorn Parmesan pasteurized cheese spread (ok
if you want to be reminded of the United breakfast omelet);

Chocobilly's chocolate chunk cookies from the Immaculate
Baking Co., which clearly was not the Immaculate Packaging
and Storage Co., as there was a bit of a stale taste to
the hard little things.

No Courvoisier, so I passed and took a substance-unassisted
little nap.

United now uses Terminal A instead of the wretched old
Terminal C, which is scheduled for demolition by the end of
this year. It's an improvement, though shabby in its own
way. I guess that the new B is going to be the place to be.

Deplaning and getting out into the cloudiness was a relative
snap, but finding the VTA 10 bus to the light rail was not.
I followed what I thought were the appropriate signs and
ended up across the highway from where I almost immediately
sighted the thing. So, being borderline disabled and a
borderline senior citizen, I ran across the many lanes of
road, flapping my briefcase (the strap tore) and dragging my
rollaboard behind me. Caught the bus, too.

The light rail came about a second after I'd got my ticket
from the friendly machine, and it was a very quick and
painless ride to Great America.

The Hilton Santa Clara is next door to this stop, directly
across the street from the Hyatt and the convention center.
Great location for the purpose but kind of a wasteland as
far as the real world goes. I do so prefer convention sites
in real cities. Be that as it may, it's a decent place, and
the food and drink it puts out are more acceptable than the
captives might expect or fear.

After dropping my traps, I went back in the vain hope that
someone might be manning the registration booth - there was
a couple seated there, but it turned out to be exhibitors
cooling their jets. I wandered into the exhibit hall and
checked out the neighborhood. The instruments, sheet music,
students, and even most of the teachers were too young for
me. Had some fun interacting with all of these, though,
except the students. I am a creepy old man, but not that

The evening concert was by I Palpiti, directed by the
quite famous teacher and performer Eduard Schmieder, with
featured cellist Jeffrey Solow, who just happens to be the
president of the string teachers' association.

I pled my case to the ticket people and was admitted to
the concert on my parole.

The first (obviously a warmup) piece was the first movement
of Karl Jenkins's concerto Palladio. I thought it a huge
waste of time (there have been musical ideas since the 18th
century, you know) and colored my estimation of the same
composer's famous L'Homme Armé, about which I've been on
the fence having performed it several times over these many
years. The group did a good job; but then your high-school
orchestra could have, too.

After which, a Haydn divertimento (arranged by Piatigorsky),
with Solow playing an appropriate role.

Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, which is available
in several versions, was the last programmed work. It's kind
of cool but no more contentful than either of the other


A sort of cool if stripped-down rendition of October from
Tchaikovsky's misnomered Seasons and then an amusing set of
variations on Happy Birthday in styles from the 17th to the
20th century, composer not announced.

Though it bills itself as an ensemble of international
laureates each of soloist quality, almost all the violin
riffs were taken by the concertmaster (quite good in a
smooth and uninflected sort of way), but one might have
liked the rest of the group to have a little more work.
Schmieder obviously is very high on this guy, whose name
was not listed on the program (lip service, I guess, to
the egalitarian aspect). And of course Solow's prominent
solo performance (sorry) was understandable, but I wanted
to see I Palpiti's own cellists not have so low a profile
(sorry, I think).

Afterward I scanned the audience for friends and relations
but found none, so back it was to the hotel bar for a
Guinness and then bed.
violist is offline