The occasion was a visit from my dear friend Kadi Kool who lives now in Raleigh N.C. , but is a friend from my St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, MA days (1986-2000). There I knew Kadi, her wonderful mother the late Juta Kool, and her father Boris.
Juta was Estonians who fled that country by foot when the Red Army advanced on Estonia at the end of WWII. She got to what were then called "Displaced Persons Camps" and in due course was admitted to the U.S.A. Kadi loves and respects her Estonian heritage, and is fluent in the language.
I (with an Estonian Lutheran Pastor) officiated at Kadi's marriage to Jorge Vasquez (from Peru).
So Kadi and I go back a long way. Over the years we had lost contact, but we re-connected about six years ago. During those years I have twice been in the Raleigh/Durham area. Each time I went to Church with Kadi and enjoyed her company at lunch, as well as meeting her grown sons Kristofer and Mikael (who hardly knew me) and her (now former) husband Jorge.
The Sarasota Orchestra has been enriched for six years under the baton of the fabulous Estonian conductor Anu Tali. When I learned that she would be leaving us I contacted Kadi, and said "you must come down to Sarasota for Anu Tali's final concert".
Come down from Raleigh Kadi did!
I met her on Saturday at SRQ airport. I gave her a whistle stop tour of New College and the Ringling Complex; and then of some of Sarasota's neighbourhoods: Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores, Newtown, Laurel Park, and the South Osprey/Hillview area where we had coffee at PERQ.
Then we walked (with Zion in tow) at Arlington Park.
On Saturday evening we dined out with my friends Muriel and Donna. (Muriel and I respected our English heritage by having Liver, Bacon, and Onions. YUM)
Sunday saw us at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota (exquisite liturgy and fine preaching). After Church we had breakfast at one of Sarasota's finest breakfast and lunch eateries: The Oasis on South Osprey (fresh ingredients, everything cooked from scratch).
Then came the highlight, Anu Tali's last concert.
She came to the stage to be greeted by rapturous applause by the audience, (with many a wet eye).
Ms. Tali got down to business and led the orchestra and chorus in a rendition of Arnold Schoenberg's "Peace on Earth".
This was a bit like having a new and unfamiliar hors d'oeuvre: interesting in its own way, but unlikely to become a favourite. We were there for the main course Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
What can I say? It was a Tour De Force.
My eyes misted at the beautiful beginning of the Third Movement.
Then came the Fourth Movement - Beethoven on Steroids!
(In years to come many will ask "were you there for Anu Tali's last Concert!"). Kadi and I were! I rejoiced in her company and was overjoyed to see her deep pride in her Estonian heritage.
Kadi's wonderful visit ended on Monday, but not before she and I had walked with Zion at Bayfront Park.
Oh Such Joy.
Here are some photo's (in random order)
|Before the Concert|
|Church of the Redeemer|
|Oasis Cafe (to be recommended)|
|Liver, Bacon and Onions.|