Austin Stories B. C. – A Quartet … Well, Not Quite

My attempt to share stories for each letter of the alphabet featuring our life in Austin B.C. (Before Children) 1975-1985. The 70s were a long time ago. 26 stories might be a stretch for my brain, but I have made it to Q. Computer issues and other things have delayed writing and posting for a couple of weeks and now I am behind the Sepia Saturday prompts. Oh well.

Perhaps you have heard of the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1962. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Take Five?

This video takes seven, but who’s counting?

My husband and I were fortunate to see Dave Brubeck in person at First United Methodist Church in Austin in 1983.

When I chose this topic for the letter Q, I assumed quartet was accurate, but it was a trio. Dave Brubeck and his two sons.

When Dave Brubeck died in 2012, I linked an article on Facebook and noted that I had seen him perform at church. A few of my friends chimed in.

Nancy said: It came about because Lanier Bayliss was our choir director and she wanted to do the La Pasada piece that Brubeck had written. I’m thinking we performed it several times (thus no date on the program) over a weekend with the last performance on a Sunday afternoon. After that performance a group of us went to see “A Tuna Christmas” at the Paramount and I slept through the whole performance!

Mary Faye said: That was a thrilling performance. I was in the choir, too. I remember just one performance, but many, many rehearsals. After we sang the Posada piece Mr. Brubeck played a concert including his hits Take Five and Brandenburg Gate. While we performed and during his performance afterward I was about six feet from him. I was telling a colleague about this the other day and he was incredulous.

Randy: We had both a Saturday and a Sunday concert, along with having Mr. Brubeck accompany us during the Sunday church service. His birthday occurred during the week of our concert, so we had a cake for him, his wife and his sons (the sons accompanied him in concert as well). I remember the whole family being very down to earth and a lot of fun.

I wish I had taken photographs or could have gathered some from friends to add here, but I did not and I have not. So I am left with newspapers to document the event.

A part of the program details the sequence of the performance. Carole Fitzpatrick was the featured soloist in the part of Mary.

I searched for Carole Fitzpatrick to see where she is now and found her teaching voice at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music and I also found a few recordings. The featured solos of the Posada were in good hands, or should I say in good voice?

The article above mentions that the church put on summer musicals at the time. The choir loft, alter – everything at the front of the church was covered/removed/transformed into a set for several weeks each summer. The musicals were always fun and entertaining! And I know of at least one couple who met on the set of one of the musicals and have had a long and happy marriage.

While Mr. Brubeck was in town, he made appearances on local TV.
 

Once again, I wish I had a better memory or that I had kept journals all my life. Actually, I’m not feeling so bad about about my memory after reading the comments of my friends who sang during these performances. Randy got it right – two performances and presence during church Sunday morning.

My snippet of memory is of my husband and I sitting in the north balcony of the church. I remember being so moved by the music – feeling the divine, not just in the “religious” music (the Posada), but in the secular jazz as well. I turned to my husband and asked if he didn’t feel it. Although he enjoyed the music very much, he did not find it a spiritual moment. Well, that’s me for you.

I couldn’t decide between the two videos below. They are long, but I thought you might like an introduction to Fiesta de la Posada if it is unfamiliar to you. The first is a 1983 concert at the Wright Center Concert Hall, including “Fiesta de la Posada” and movements from “The Light in the Wilderness,” featuring the Dave Brubeck Quartet and choral and instrumental performers. This occurred about a month before the performance at FUMC.

This second video is a performance in 1975, I think. I haven’t been able to figure out the details of the when and where, but it gives an idea of costuming and set arrangement and children performing. Of course, in our church, there was not a full orchestra, and certainly no pit under the stage.

One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born – or before you’re born – and it’s the last thing you hear. – Dave Brubeck

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday, featuring the letter Q.

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

I encourage you to visit other Sepia Saturday participants here.

10 thoughts on “Austin Stories B. C. – A Quartet … Well, Not Quite

  1. Congrats on reaching the letter Q with this fascinating post. I’ve always loved “Take Five” by the Brubeck Quartet, so it is interesting to learn of his sacred composing as well — and his plan to discuss the sacred and the secular on the local radio program, which is mentioned at the end of the news article. Kudos to the church for reaching out with innovative musical presentations — you are so fortunate to have been at this one!

  2. My husband gave me an LP of Dave Brubeck hits for Christmas before we were married and I still play it (yes, I have a turntable!) every once in a while! I am a Brubeck fan for sure, but I had no idea he also created things like the Fiesta de la Posada. Wow! What a variety of rhythms, harmonies, and musical moods. And what a grand experience to have him at your church to direct the cantata himself.

    • I also thought about mentioning another work he wrote addressing racism, but decided not to. Recorded with Louis Armstrong. The album/work is titled The Real Ambassadors.

  3. For most of my life whenever I’m at a reception or party and I’ve introduced myself to someone and mentioned I’m a musician, inevitably without fail, they will ask if I’m related to Dave Brubeck. I’ve never been able to figure out if this is either because they’ve misheard my name or can’t remember how to pronounce Brubeck. But it’s happened more times than I can count. And the worst is that frequently I’ll meet an acquaintance a second time and they will call me Dave. It’s nutty. I just wish that maybe one time someone met Dave and asked if he was related to Mike Brubaker!

    Just the same, I grew up with his recordings as my dad collected ALL the Brubeck Quartet’s first albums and I love his music. The sound of Paul Desmond’s saxophone still captivates me and when I was in 4th grade choosing an instrument to learn I came really close to picking the alto sax. Instead I chose the French horn because it looked easier. Ha! What did I know?

    Brubeck’s cool jazz remains a big influence for me and I think I learned to love music in part because of his brilliant mixed meter ideas. That last quote was beautiful and so true. Thanks for sharing this concert memory. It’s what music is all about.

    • Mike, I have intended to reply to your comment for a couple of weeks, but have neglected to. It made me chuckle to think of people asking if you are related to Dave Brubeck.

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