I have been presented with a set of tickets. A little celebration, I guess you'd say. Even though this is my "school band"; even though they've performed in the area dozens of times, even though one of the members lives only about thirty miles away from me... I have never seen America perform live. Sunday night, I finally get to do just that. The real kicker is that I'm scheduled to work a twelve-hour shift beginning 2:30 Monday morning-- I forsee a more-or-less useless Laurie that day. Photos may have to wait a day or so. This sure beats getting a dollar for every "A" in school!! Here they are, in performance with my *other* great Seventies musical love, doing one of my favorite songs:
"Only the Beginning"
But this is how I remember them from back in the olden days of the Seventies... I think I may have even seen this particular performance on the Midnight Special back then. I probably even clapped.
Sister Golden Hair
It's official. The LCHS 2009 Grand Reunion is set for Aug 21-23, 2009 in San Diego, CA.San Diego? Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. :-D
***BREAKING NEWS*** Due to an unforeseen medical emergency, we have been forced to cancel the following shows: May 18, 2007 / Malibu, CA May 19, 2007 / Coachella, CA May 21, 2007 / Scottsdale, AZ May 23, 2007 / Milwaukee, WISigh..... at least there's this to console me, I guess.
The Today Show Chicago and America to perform on NBC's "The Today Show" Summer Concert Series on June 22, 2007. Please join us on June 22 for a very special performance on NBC's "Toyota Concert Series on TODAY" in New York City. America will be joining touring partners Chicago for the Today Show's annual concert series on the Plaza.
My best bud from school forwarded this link to me, the report on the closing ceremony at my alma mater in England. Reading it, I sat and cried like a baby. Silly, huh? I can't even write about it right now. Those two years I spent there were among the best in my life. I would have given just about anything to have gone back to visit one last time. Just to see. Stars and Stripes: London Central closes its doors for final time
London Central closes its doors for final time By Bryan Mitchell, Stars and Stripes European edition, Wednesday, May 16, 2007 RAF DAWS HILL, England — The brass wore their sharp dress uniforms. The educators were clad in finely pressed dress shirts, skirts and blazers. And the local British mayor wore her traditional decorative necklace. But Marine Corps Maj. Duff Kelly felt he had to honor the class of 1982 the best way he knew how. “I really wanted to dress up for the whole ceremony, but then I thought I would dress just like I did in high school: jeans, T-shirt and my letterman’s jacket,” a beaming Kelly said as he stood outside the London Central High School gymnasium, his faded jacket one size too small but still Bobcat proud. “I had to represent what is widely considered to be the best class in the history of London Central.” Kelly was one of the several hundred people who jammed into the school’s gym Tuesday afternoon for the official London Central Elementary and High School closing ceremony. Students and educators past and present joined military leaders from across the United Kingdom and Europe as well as local British dignitaries in marking the closure of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools’ only boarding school. The closure will displace more than 200 students who come from all over the country and whose parents are stationed across the globe. The gym was strewn with blue and white balloons and streamers, while the band and chorus performed stirring renditions of the alma mater and fight song one last time before the June 7 graduation. American ambassador to England Robert H. Tuttle was scheduled to be the keynote speaker, but sent U.S. Embassy in London deputy chief of mission, David T. Johnson, in his place at the last minute. Dev Parker, a parent of a London Central student, read a May 11 letter from President Bush. But it was the words of past educators and present students that reflected the spirit of the ceremony and the closure. Polly DeYoung, who taught at London Central from 1997 through 2005 and was described by a fellow teacher as the “Queen mother of London Central,” reminded students that — despite the challenges that might lie ahead in new schools and new countries — London Central has prepared them well. “We’ve been through a lot together: problems and protests, drawbacks and shutdowns,” she said. “We’ve been through peace, and we’ve been through war. And, like always, we’ll get through with it and move on.” Another fellow educator urged those on hand to honor the school’s history and tradition rather than rue its demise. Yet, it was a member of the final graduating class, senior Darius Pruss, who found just the right words — short, sweet and to the point — that best captured the feelings of London Central students from 1951 through today. “The legacy is us and the memories we share,” he said. “We are the legacy that is LCHS.”Duff Kelly was wrong about one thing, though. The class of '82 was NOT the greatest class. His older brother Sean, class of '78, should have corrected this. Everybody knows the class of '78 was the best there ever was. Thirty years later, I still think about all you guys. We *are* the great legacy of that wonderful place and time.
America trivia: * The cover artwork on the album History: America's Greatest Hits was the work of Phil Hartmann, who later became famous as a comedian on Saturday Night Live. Hartmann later dropped an "n" off his last name prior to achieving fame. His brother John was America's manager for many years. After listening to the show last night, I had to go buy the new album today. (I heart ITunes). Three little words for America fans, or anyone who remembers the good old days. Buy. This. Album. Shawn, you and Paul will hate it, but I love it. They sound better on the new music than on the live performances from the XM show last night. Found an interesting interview/review at : Music Review: America - Here and Now @ Blogcritics.org and this is one of two "new favorite songs". I love new music that feels like an old friend.
Love & Leaving Written by Gerry Beckley and Bill Mumy, ©2006 Found on Horizontal Fall and Here & Now. Hey Slim how long's it been Five minutes maybe 10 Can't wait to see you again and again First taste of this romance Hell baby I almost danced Caught myself close to believing But every time is a brand new feeling Lay me down in cool clear water For a moment I've forgot her Still I know where this is leading Win, lose, which we choose Won once and once refused Already burning down the fuse Don't wanna be building walls Cause everything rising falls It's darkness here the light's concealing Love it seems is too revealing Hidden in some secret place Etched in lines around my face The ghosts in here are all competing Over one more song about love and leaving Ummmmm Down, down we all fall down Down, down we all fall down We all fall down, yeah we all fall down Let's toast to new love blooming It's all around and all consuming It's a dream you're bound to follow Til you find it's only hollow I can hear the angels grieving Over one more song about love and leaving Ummmmm
Looking forward to an XM broadcast of a show by my old "school band" tomorrow evening:
America's "Here & Now" Airs Tuesday, 1/16 at 10PM on The '70s - XM 7 America is a band that helped define the Seventies. In 2005, America recorded their 'History’ CD before a live audience at XM as part of our "Then...Again...Live!" music series. In 2006, they came to XM to discuss every song from the album. And in 2007 'Here and Now'is released to the public. XM celebrates this historic release with new music from America and a one-on-one discussion about the album!It's pretty neat--a live broadcast of their greatest hits album. I'm recording it on my little receiver, but there's no way to get it off the handheld and onto mp3 that I know of. Too bad because I would enjoy keeping this one. Why don't these stations start selling these shows, I wonder? *I* would pay. Anyway. "History" came out in 1975, so my personal favorite America song isn't on the album and won't be played on the show. :-( I did find a Youtube performance of it, although you have to wait through a couple of minutes of introduction before the song begins. Watch for the photo 2:15 into the video-- and check out the London Central jockjacket Dewey (fellow Cheesehead!!) is wearing. I know, I know....it's sort of a wussy song. Sometimes ya just gotta set yer inner wuss free.
ALL MY LIFE All my life, without a doubt I give you All my life, now and forever till the Day I die, you and I will share All the things this changing world can offer So I sing, I'd be happy just to Stay this way, spend each day, with you There was a time, that I just thought That I would lose my mind You came along and then the sun did shine We started on our way I do recall that every moment spent Was wasted time but then I chose to lay it on the line I put the past away I put the past away I put the past away All my life, I will carry you through All my life, between each hour of the passing days I will stay with you There was a time, that I just thought That I would lose my mind You came along and then the sun did shine We started on our way I do recall that every moment spent Was wasted time then I chose to lay it on the line I want this all my life I want this all my life I want this all my life I want this all my life I want this all my life I wanted this all my life
Uh, oh. The three scariest words in the world for somebody who can no longer run since knee surgery are "Tag. You're it". Old buddy Bill from InstaPinch surely picked a [insert favorite naval aviator terminology for extremely slow moving target here] when he sent this one my way. [Update: I have been informed that the correct "naval aviator terminology for extremely slow moving target" is "Zeppelin". Which is appropriate, since I am a huge Jimmy Page fan] 1. I am without a doubt the most gullible person in this entire world. I will believe anything, anytime, anywhere, anyhow that anybody tells me. I am one of four people in the entire country who has spent an evening in the woods shining a flashlight into a paper sack, chanting "heeeeere, snipe, snipe, snipe". Hey, I was eleven, what can I say? But if you have a practical joke you need to try out? Call me. Anytime. Really. 2. Karl, knowing your profession, you may not want to read this one. When I was 16, I was talked into trying to sneak out of the bill at an Indian restaurant in London by two classmates. ( It's that gullibility thing again.) We all three made it out the door, but the traffic light changed and the slowest of us ( guess who that would be- I wasn't very speedy even before the knee surgery! ) was dragged back into the restaurant by the collar, face burning and terrified, until my two classmates came back and paid their share of the bill. It remains to this day the most embarrassing and never-ever-to-be-repeated experience of my life. By the way, those two classmates? One is now a college professor, and the other is a Judge. I will leave it at that. 3. Going to take a cue from Pinch on this next one. If he can 'fess up to his weight, so can I. Sorta. I am six feet tall. I spent my most of my thirties and began my forties as an extremely large person. I am not going to give you exact numbers, but when I reach the number I consider a good and reasonable and achievable goal, I will have lost very nearly one hundred pounds. I'm almost there now, but this last bit is a lot harder than the rest. I have discovered a new diet recently however. All it takes is thinking of somebody eating mayonnaise right out of the jar, and your appetite evaporates instantly. 4. I passed my motorcycle endorsement test on the first try. The other adult member of my immediate family at the time very nearly got a speeding ticket. During the test. Think I might have rubbed it in just a teensy bit? Yew betcha. 5. Nobody has seen my natural hair color since about 1985. I'm not even sure what color it might be under the L'oreal, but I'm guessing it ain't reddish-blondish-brownish anymore. Hmmm, 1985. Isn't that the same year my number one daughter was born? Coincidence? I think not. Now, the tough part. None of the people I want to tag are active bloggers!! :-(( So, I'm going to issue a challenge. I want to hear from family members, whether you want to do it in comments or whether you want me to set you up your own blog (hint, hint, Kidbrudder) or even just a post from here or InstaPinch or Chef Mojo. I'm sure we would help out our family members right, guys?? I want all of you to join in this one! (I'm still a little :-& over the idea of somebody eating mayonnaise with a spoon right from the jar.)
I want...no, that's not true... I NEED to go back again. Just once. I want to see it again.
Stars & Stripes London Central school to be shut down at end of academic year By Ben Murray, Stars and Stripes European edition, Wednesday, September 6, 2006 Just eight days after the London Central Elementary School/High School opened its doors for classes, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe officials announced Tuesday it will close for good at the end of the school year. Citing declining enrollment numbers, military officials signed paperwork Tuesday to authorize the closure of the newly merged K-through-12 school at the end of the 2006-2007 academic year, said Linda Curtis, DODDS-Europe deputy director. The decision came just five days after a memo was sent out, warning parents that changes at the school were likely and advising them to register with the Non-DOD Schools Program, which can enable students to receive up to about $40,000 annually to attend local private schools. The memo also laid out options for British and home-schooling options and announced the school has hired a new “transition specialist” to help parents decide where to send their kids next fall. The school plans to hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the upcoming changes, London Central principal Theresa Barba said. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the high school music building. Student numbers at U.S. schools in the London area have been in decline for years due to the drawdown of Navy forces in the United Kingdom. In the spring, officials closed the West Ruislip Elementary School, merging it with the high school at RAF Daws Hill. Then, over the summer officials announced London Central High School would close the residential portion of the school. London Central is an irregular DODDS facility because it functions partly like a boarding school, with on-campus dorms intended for use by U.S.-sponsored students whose parents live in an area where there are no local DODDS high schools. This year, enrollment at the combined London Central Elementary School/High School fell to about 275 students, with about 55 staff members, Barba said. About 160 of those students are enrolled in grades 9-12, and about 80 of those live in the on-campus dorms, she said.
There is bright news in the world, even though I posted something like this the other day. There is hope for all of us, even self-described "curmudgeons" like my best friend from High School.
I remember Bill well from HS--he was one of the great characters from my two years in high school in London. He was a *doll* back then, with wavy brown hair and the biggest grin on campus. A year ahead of me in school, he was VP of the senior class, editor of the yearbook two years running (and I always give him hell because I had one, count 'em, ONE measly picture in the '77 yearbook!!!), football player extraordinaire, and one of the leads in the big musical production of the year for our Drama Department "Annie Get Your Gun" -- which is where I got to know him.
We didn't run in the same crowd back then for the most part, but our paths crossed often in Drama and Theater classes. I couldn't tell you what he thought of me then, or if I ever even caught his eye; but I do remember him as a friendly, popular-for-a-good-reason type of guy. He was the one you just knew was going to go on to great and wonderful things one day.
Well, he did. Although he'll tell you "he's an average guy doing an average job", I happen to disagree. A Naval Aviator, for one, zooming around in F-14 jets. How many people get to do something as cool as that?!?!
And the job he'd probably say was most important, single father to two beautiful young women.
I got to know Bill again a few years back, through our mutual interest in the London Central High alumni groups. It's a pretty loosely organized bunch of people, but we've managed to have several reunions over the years, amazing since we were all American kids living in a foreign country and have spread out around the world since high school. I spent hours scanning one of Bill's yearbooks for the school alumni website, and we spent quite a bit of email time catching up on our lives since England. We found we could talk about anything and everything over the years, and my admiration and respect for him grew. He's my great supportive, non-judgemental friend and I hope I can say that for many more years. And of course as the link down on the blogroll says, he's the one who got me hooked on blogs and interested in their design and programming.
We finally got to meet up again at a reunion in 2004, and this (I think) is the only picture of BOTH of us--we always seemed to wind up on opposite sides of the lens.
Oh wait, first, ONE more Navy pic:
Yeah. :-D Still a doll, isn't he? Sorry, but I had to get a pic of the whites in there. Richard Gere and Tom Cruise, eat your hearts out! You don't *begin* to wear that uniform right! Anyway, back to Bill. I mentioned he was a single dad, working and raising his kids for the last ten years alone. I admired his determination to do things right with them, but I also knew how hard he worked at it, and how little time it left him for a life of his own.
Well, my best buddy has some wonderful news. I am so happy for him--there's not a trace of his so-called "curmudgeonly self" in that photograph. Go read and wish him a Happy Birthday while you're there!!