Organs, Elvis, tubas and roses

Dan Rodricks

April 24, 1992|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use . . .

All right, already. I got the message: People hate organ music at ballparks. Some 1,439 readers -- one of the biggest responses ever -- called The Evening Sun's "It's Your Call" line the other night to vote on the question raised in Wednesday's column: Would live organ music at Oriole Park help or hinder your enjoyment of the game? And 848 respondents said it would help them -- NOT!! Five hundred and ninety-three much smarter people agreed with me that organ music suited the new old-fashioned ballpark perfectly. So, I lost. So, all right, already. I got the message. I said I would back off if the vote went this way, so I'm backing off, you bunch of petty, narrow-minded philistines! (I'm taking defeat well, don't you think?) These are probably the same people who, given the opportunity, would have voted against state funding of Oriole Park. But did the powers-that-be listen to you? Nooooooooo! That's why we have a new, state-funded ballpark in Camden Yards! So I hope the Orioles look at these results, see that organ music is something the people don't want and go for it anyway! As for me, my little crusade is finished. As Daniel Boone said: "When you can hear their dulcimers, it's time to move on."

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Organizers of the 1992 Sowebohemian Festival in Hollins Square plan a "major Elvis revelation" over the Memorial Day weekend, including a medieval-style procession culminating in the "beatification" of America's most famous dead recording star, an Elvis shrine near Hollins Market, and another peek at The World's Largest Elvis-Painted-On-Black-Velvet. Mark your calendar, folks.

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A while back, someone passed the word that I should "cut out that stuff about Oriole Park being a rich man's ballpark." With that admonition in mind, I relate the story Rodney Phillips, assistant manager of a Wilkens Avenue liquor store, tells about buying tickets for last Monday night's game between the Orioles and the Tigers: "I went up to the ticket window with my five-year-old boy, Brandon, about 7 o'clock and asked for two tickets together. The guy says the only thing he has left is in the club level, $18 each. I said, 'Eighteen dollars?' and I started to walk away. But my son, he got a little upset, he wanted to see the game. So I turned around and said, 'I'll take 'em.' And the guy said, 'That'll be $50.' And I said, 'When I was in school, 18 plus 18 was 36.' And he said, 'There's a $7-a-ticket club fee to have a waitress.' Well, I thought that was ridiculous -- $50 for a father and son to see a baseball game. But I took the tickets, went to the seats, never did see a waitress. I didn't say anything to my son about the price. He's only five, he doesn't understand."

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Ed Goldstein, tuba-playing impresario of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, gets to "do Carnegie Hall" with the New York Pops, under the direction of Skitch Henderson, next month. On May 18th, Goldstein will accompany Baltimore native Buddy Wachter, the pop-classic banjoist who makes some serious music with fingers and strings. Presently, Wachter is on his 26th European concert tour. His banjo has a wide range, from Liszt to Lerner and Loewe. I heard Wachter's sample CD the other night, and loved it. Hope he plays Baltimore soon.

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Twenty-nine red roses were placed at the altar of the Basilica of the Assumption last night -- one flower for each person who died while homeless in Baltimore during the past year. Recalling a lesson of the Holocaust told by Nobel-winner Elie Wiesel, its most eloquent survivor, Bishop John H. Ricard explained the importance of remembering. He said a society that forgets its tragedies, large and small, sentences those who died in them to a second death that renders their lives meaningless. Men and women, many of them workers and volunteers at soup kitchens and shelters, placed the roses on the altar as the names were called out -- Iris Hepburn, Isaac Hancock, Frazier Kieser, Louis Braddix, William Petty, Ricky Harris, Martha White, John Begley, Joseph Surette, "Karen," David Wilhelm, Sam Bailey, Robert Smallwood, Theodore Cotton, Robert Frazier, Samuel Davis, Lester Mack, Robert Abare, Darrell Dowles, Albert Smith, Glen P. Colston, Stanley Braxton, Kenneth Smith, "Quincey," David Hazelton, William Schaeffer, John Nevel, Laura Laupus and Patricia Foster. Rest in peace.

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