A Grand Day Out


Oregonians, rejoice!
The holidays have found their voice!
It’s Dr. Kevin Helppie’s, true,
But, Saturday, he’ll share with you
His baritone so rich and fine
It’s like your ears are filled with wine
Fermented from Willamette fruit.
Come hear the Salem Pops peeps toot
And thrum, and bow, and all like that
While (sometimes) wearing Santa’s hat!
Orchestral tunes from Salem’s Pops
Will fill the Grand as winter drops
Its cloak of snow across the land.
What’s that? You’ve got your evening planned?
You’re so concerned with snow you doubt
Your safety if you venture out
To High Street NE (one nine one)
Until the winter weather’s done
At least not after sundown, so
You can’t attend the nighttime show?
Huzzah! We’ve got a treat for you:
We’ll play a matinee at two!
That’s right, we’ve shows at two and seven!
It’s a music-lover’s heaven,
If by “heaven” you refer
To downtown Salem; meanings blur
And fine distinctions pass unseen
When snowfall coats the evergreen
And Christmas classics fill the air
Near Court and High Streets. See you there!


A Night In Old Vienna

Of course, we’ll begin
With Johann Strauss’
Blue Danube, and then
Die Fledermaus.
Schatz-Walzer comes next
(That’s “Treasure Waltz”
In case you’re perplexed),
Then social faults
Like gossip and drink
We’ll celebrate
With Tritsch-Tratsch…I think
It’s getting late,
So Emporer, then
We will end
With Strauss Sr.’s
Radetzky March,
And go home.

Farewell To The Maestro

Salem, Oregon, Two Thousand Two:
An orchestra of willing volunteers
Was in the market for a leader who
Could help them grow for, oh, let’s say ten years.
Before the Maestro took up the baton
A fertile field, unplanted, was the Pops.
He tilled, sowed, fertilized, and plowed straight on
While Salem reaped the joy of forty crops.
I’ve heard it said, musicians who can’t play
Are given sticks and taught to beat a drum
And, failing that, they take one stick away
And make him a conductor. That’s just dumb,
‘Cause Larry’s gift for music is sublime
(Unless the piece is played in 5/4 time).

No, Really

I just played a concert whose highlight was an orchestral piece
Composed in honor of a guest musician who likes chasing fleece.
The 19-year-old pianist was very good, as was her dad,
But when you’ve played a waltz sung by a dog, you know good times were had.
Sadie, like my Sydney, is a 10-year-old sheepherding breed,
But on Australian (Shepherd) Idol, Sadie’d be the higher seed.
Sydney barks at postal workers and at dreamcats in her sleep,
But Sadie barks orchestrally, with 60 grown-up human sheep.
Sydney’s still my favorite, but Sadie’s song was pretty sweet,
And she’s the first guest arftist we’ve rewarded with a doggie treat!

Check out Sadie’s family at MikeStrickland.com.