As we dip our feet deeper into 2018’s streaming river of time – we lick the emotional wounds inflicted by the loss of some of our dear friends in MMG. Nonetheless, we are filled with gratitude for the precious time we were privileged to spend with them. We honor their memory – even as we also welcome the new members who continue to join us. I am reminded of a verse from the Hebrew Bible. It is “you will renew your youth like the Eagle”. Although physical youth is a non-replaceable commodity, “musical” youth is probably regenerative and self-perpetuating. Tchaikovsky, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart are as young and alive today in the world’s concert halls – just as they were centuries ago. Perhaps even more so.
Not surprisingly, this led me to decide on “Soar Like the Eagle” as our concert theme for this year. Certainly, the Eagle is a symbol of our forever young nation. With that in mind, here is a rundown of the year’s planned activities.
AUGUST CONCERT. We began performing August concerts three
years ago, and they have become increasingly popular amongst our members and
also audiences. Accordingly, our August concert, on Sunday, August 12 at 4:00
pm, is at the Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, VA. Rehearsals start
Tuesday, August 7 – several of you had suggested starting these a day early.
So, we are trying that this year, for those who can make it. The concert will
celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI, and we hope to provide
lapel poppies for audience members and performers. By popular demand, Deana
Martin and Hilary Fordwich will be with us again.
HOTEL. It is one of your favorites, the Hilton Crystal
City at Washington Reagan National Airport. Reservations are now open.
Rehearsals begin Tuesday, August 7.
RESERVATIONS TELEPHONE NUMBER: 1-800-695-7551
GROUP NAME: Medical Musical Group
GROUP CODE: MMG
ONLINE RESERVATIONS LINK: http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/groups/personalized/D/DCANAHF-MMG-20180806/index.jhtml?WT.mc_id=POG
DATES FOR OUR RATE: 8/6/2018 - 8/13/2018
CUT-OFF TO MAKE RESERVATIONS: July 7, 2018. However, please make your reservations soon as the rooms fly!
RATE: $119 per night per room, single or double occupancy, plus taxes.
PARKING: $17 per day (50% of their usual rate of $34 per day).
SHUTTLE: Free shuttle to and from Reagan National Airport.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 7: 7:00 - 10:00 pm – Hilton Crystal City, 2399 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA, Tel: 703-418-6800 (http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/virginia/hilton-crystal-city-at-washington-reagan-national-airport-DCANAHF/index.html) .
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8: 7:00 - 10:00 pm – Hilton Crystal City.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9: 7:00 - 10:00 pm – Hilton Crystal City.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10: 7:00 - 10:00 pm – Hilton Crystal City.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 11: Rehearsals: 2:00 – 5:00 pm; and 7:00 - 10:00 pm (Dress Rehearsal) – Hilton Crystal City.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 12: 1:30 pm Call Time, Brief Touch Up Rehearsal. PRECONCERT 3:00 pm. CONCERT 4:00 pm. All at Schlesinger Concert Hall, 4915 East Campus Drive, Alexandria, VA (https://www.nvcc.edu/schlesingercenter/).
REPERTOIRE. Is being firmed up and I’ll share it soon.
Some highlights are the Papageno Papagena Duet from Mozart’s Magic Flute.
Also, as the audience last year loved our elegant classical dancers on the
stage, we hope to have that show stopper activity again. This, to the music of
excerpts from Waves of the Danube and the Blue Danube. Will share details
2018 REGISTRATION FORM. http://www.medicalmusical.com/forms/registration/
OVERSEAS TRIP. Main trip is to Poland from August 13 – 20. Optional Extension is to Lithuania and Latvia, August 20 - 25. Our Polish-American Friendship Concert will be held in Lidzbark Warminski on Sunday, August 19. The concert honors the 100th Anniversary of Polish Independence, and the 710th Anniversary of Lidzbark Warminski. There is also a possibility of a second concert in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Wednesday, August 22. Below is tentative trip itinerary.
1. Monday, August 13. Depart Washington, DC to Gdansk, Poland.
2. Tuesday, August 14. Arrive Gdansk. Stay in Gdansk through Wednesday, August 15.
3. Thursday, August 16. Leave for Lidzbark Warminski (by coach, 2 ½ hours from Gdansk). Lidzbark Warminski is about 30 miles from Olsztyn. Stay there through Sunday, August 19.
4. Sunday, August 19. Perform our concert at Lidzbark Warminski.
5. Monday, August 20. End of the Main Trip. People may return to USA from Gdansk OR opt to continue on the Optional Extension to Lithuania and Latvia. Stay in Vilnius until Thursday, August 23. Possible concert in Vilnius (on Wednesday, August 22), but no solid prospect yet and it may not happen.
6. Thursday, August 23. Depart Vilnius for Riga, Latvia (4 hours by bus).
7. Saturday, August 25. Depart for USA from Riga. We are currently polling our travelers for a possible 2nd optional extension to Estonia, August 25 – 27. However, this is not confirmed.
Trip details are being finalized and registration will open up soon. I encourage you all to travel with us. These fabulous trips are always great fun and, who knows, how many more years and countries we will be yet able to visit in the future. Tempus Fugit! So; Carpe Diem – and decide on traveling!
BILLY GRAHAM – AND ME. As the nation bid farewell last week to Billy Graham, I felt I might take the liberty to share a few personal thoughts with you about this great man. In fact, “great” can scarce describe him. He was, in the utmost and also uttermost sense of the word, larger than life. I met Graham for the first time in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1974. We met again in Cairo, Egypt in 1975, and then in December 1976 in Urbana, IL. Long stories, with which I won’t bore you. In Urbana, I was somewhat involved in providing him medical care. Later, I used to say to him that I now believe that miracles still happen, because he survived my care. We and our mutual families met many times since then. Amazingly, Dr. Graham recalled this Urbana encounter 30 years later, when he wrote his autobiography “Just As I Am”.
Through Dr. Graham, I was privileged to provide care to some of his famous friends – particularly during my years at the Mayo Clinic. I reported about Corie Ten Boom of “The Hiding Place” in an earlier correspondence. Another man who, with Graham, had a profound impact on my own spiritual journey, was the late philosopher-theologian, Dr. Francis Schaeffer. I was a resident when I first met Dr. Schaeffer, and diagnosed him with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1977. Schaeffer lived for 7 wonderful years after that. My friend, Dr. Mary Marienau, one of MMG founders who was and still is on the staff at Mayo – helped Schaeffer’s family relocate to Rochester, Minnesota, to be close to the Clinic for follow up.
Billy Graham, with all his mega fame, was so humble and thoughtful – a real and true man of God. And at that, a prince of a man. I dare not quote William Shakespeare in saying “Good night, sweet prince” to Billy. For Billy’s passing was more like the Spiritual: “One glad morning, I’ll fly away”. So, I’ll say: Good, glad, and glorious morning, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing you – dear friend – to your rest.
With Warm Personal Regards to All,