Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Way You Do The Things You Do

Here is to hoping that my guy Lonnie Quinn is right. The forecast for those of us who reside in the State of Concrete Gardens today calls for temperatures in the low 60s and bright, sun-soaked skies. Not too shabby a way to celebrate the first day of extended daylight. My running buddy Gidg and I shall spend at least a portion of our morning participating in the first-ever Miles for Music 20K. While the distance those of us who are running shall cover is fairly long (20K = 12.4 miles) the distance those of us coming to the race from 'NTSG is considerably less so. This event is being run in Johnson Park, which is slightly more than a 5K and slightly less than a 10K from my home.

The champion of today's race is Anne McCarthy. McCarthy is both a runner and a music teacher. As an adult who works with children she appreciates the importance of kids being physically fit. As a teacher whose area of expertise is music education she appreciates the fact that - whether fair or not - in tough economic times the programs that tend to get the hardest when school districts pare down their budgets are "non-essential" programs such as music. She is a woman on a mission:

Our mission is to get kids and their families engaged – in physical activity, music and learning the important lesson of contributing to their community. The goal is for children to develop a love and habit of running, music and community engagement.

Admittedly, I am a man of decidedly limited musical skills. Granted, I play a mean kazoo and can whistle a bit but other than that not so much. The world of musical theatre did survive my stint as Oliver Twist in W-H's 1981 production of "Oliver!" but once 8th grade ended so did my career as a leading man. That being said, I like music a great deal and I have no difficulty accepting the notion that it plays an important part in shaping our children, which seems to me to support the notion that is is an essential part of every school's curriculum.

That fact, coupled with my own love of running and my need to stay on schedule in my training for the New Jersey Marathon, which is only eight Sundays away now, is what shall lead me to Johnson Park this morning. I am very much looking forward to it.

And speaking of music - and to a lesser degree running - it was nice to see/hear Mr. Springsteen and his band of merry men and women get the "Wrecking Ball" tour off to such a rollicking start on Friday night. Springteen and the E Street Band played a show at Harlem's Apollo Theatre in celebration of the 10th anniversary of SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

I do not have SiriusXM radio so I did not listen to the show as it unfurled live on Friday night. I have enjoyed the video clips that I have seen on-line. "Death To My Hometown" is one of my favorite tracks from the new record and is something that I expect will be a staple of each concert on this tour. But it was while watching this video that I was struck by two things.

First, should I live to see age 62 I hope that I am half as physically fit then as he is now. Second, on Friday night there were more Caucasians in Harlem than have been there on any single Friday night since the repeal of Prohibition. And it certainly appeared as if they all had one hell of a good time.

The power of music. That Anne McCarthy is one smart cookie.


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