Jimbo’s car reaches the end of the Fort Pitt tunnel and wham! There’s the Golden Triangle. I’ve been away from Pittsburgh for almost forty years, but the dazzling, jagged skyline reminds me that this peculiar city still feels like home.
I arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, on a balmy February evening after a fifteen-hour travel extravaganza that has led me from Frankfurt, Germany, through Detroit, and into the cushioned arms of Low Country hospitality. I’m here to play a couple of solo piano concerts. My host, a southern gentleman who works as a church organist, concert promoter, and hotel pianist, greets me at the airport. His name is Tom Bailey. I know from emails and phone calls he is neither an ax murderer nor a Trump supporter, but still, I worry. I’m tired enough that most of my trust issues evaporate into the salty night without a second thought as Tom, a dapper guy in a gorgeous suit, grabs my suitcase. We hop in his Nissan, and away we go.
Hope swoops into our lives—a random, fluttering presence we grab when our heavy hearts need a back-up plan. Hope tilts the navy sky and pierces dark corners with jagged spikes of radiance; it frees imaginations, builds footbridges, and boosts our bruised and broken spirits with a gentle quiver of its powerful wings.
You’re in Boston, Chicago, on the Jersey Shore. I’m in Hamburg, or Paris; last week was Singapore. I’m missing you, the world feels blue tonight.
November 9th. One day post election. I live in Germany and, because of the time difference, have stayed awake all night watching the USA empty its bulging veins into a roiling river of fear and hatred. I’m scheduled to perform my concert program tomorrow night for a large group of American women in Berlin. I arrive at Tegel Airport, an out-dated structure with low ceilings and fluorescent lighting that illuminates every crack in my tired face. Laugh lines? Not exactly. I wait for my ride. Do I stand here in the greenish glow or go outside and freeze? I opt for fresh air.
Master Sergeant Grace Elizabeth Wilson balances her eleven-month-old daughter on one hip while she runs through a series of warm-up exercises on her bugle. Arpeggio up. Arpeggio down. Grace’s lip feels good—supple and stretched and strong—and she’s positive today’s ceremony will proceed as planned, despite the early spring chill.
“Why do they call it a fake book anyway? Is it for fake piano players?” says Michael the waiter. “That would be good for me.” “You play the piano?” I say. It is five minutes to five and I’m standing in the kitchen of the Omni Park Central, eating spicy corn chips and drinking a […]
This is Robin Goldsby’s essay from 2016. Watch for her new book, Piano Girl Playbook: Notes on a Musical Life, scheduled for publication on May 1, 2012 (Backbeat/Rowman Littlefield) *** My hair is big. My dress is too tight. It’s 1986. I’m sitting at a Steinway on a Saturday night in Manhattan. The name of the cocktail […]
What would Mister Rogers say?
I watch the news at six o’clock. Terror, death, chaos, stupidity, racism, extremism, more terror. I hardly recognize the world. I certainly do not recognize my home country. America seems to be swallowing itself whole. It’s depressing. But still, we stay tuned, gorging on enormous bites of hate speech, punch drunk and nauseated by reports of blood and guts and grit and gore, hanging onto the prophesies of ego-bloated politicians and chest-thumping pundits.
As the US television audience gets ready to watch Eurovision 2016, Robin Meloy Goldsby revisits the 2010 competition to prepare American viewers for a highly entertaining evening. “With a bigger audience than the Super Bowl, Eurovision is the only television event where a tenor can attract a larger crowd than a quarterback. It’s music as sport, even though music has little to do with the outcome.”