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Music Notes

Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio 
Summer 2002


Barone Cited For Longevity



      On Saturday, February 16, 2002 at the AMPPR Board of Directors Meeting held during the Music Personnel Conference in Savannah, Georgia, the following ‘resolution’ was passed:

 
“Whereas, PIPEDREAMS began more than 20 years ago, with recordings made in the summer of 1980 during a national convention of the American Guild of Organists held in the Twin Cities…

“Whereas PIPEDREAMS has provided a national audience with premieres of works by such noted composers as Robert Ward, Alberto Ginastera and Calvin Hampton…

“Whereas through his unfailing dedication to providing the highest quality programming, Michael Barone has sustained a twenty-year relationship with program sponsors Mr. & Mrs. Wesley C. Dudley…

“Whereas PIPEDREAMS’ national reach has grown from 64 stations in its first year to 180 stations today…

“Whereas Michael Barone has produced nearly 800 PIPEDREAMS programs providing more hours of organ music to a national radio audience than any other American program, past or present…

“Whereas PIPEDREAMS and Michael Barone have been recognized by the American Guild of Organists (1996 President’s Award), the Organ Historical Society (1997 Distinguished Service Award), and ASCAP/American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (2001 Deems Taylor Broadcast Award for Excellence)…

“Whereas Michael Barone has a ten-year backlog of great material waiting to get into the PIPEDREAMS pipeline (!)…

“Now therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Directors of The Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio expresses its profound appreciation to Michael Barone for his inestimable service to the institution of classical music on public radio, and for his manifest contributions to the service public radio provides to audiences nationwide.”

      To which Michael Barone has responded in thanks:

      Your celebratory resolution pleased me inordinately. I feel particularly humbled by it because I’ve not been much of a participant in recent AMPPR activities, and also because I know that there are many others (all of us?) in this business who put in the long hours with dogged determination to provide ‘good news to all people’ (actually, “good music”). In reality, many others deserve salutations, too. Even so, I thank you, sincerely.
      Reflecting upon my nearly thirty-five years in public radio, I am astonished by the overall progress which has been made as the system has grown and attracted listeners, and also daunted by the challenges we face in keeping our particular part of the public radio banquet fresh and available. Recent realignments by stations and national distributors have caused more than a few tremors of concern.
      But even in the face of change, after all these years I still am motivated by the power of music…this marvelous energy source with which, and for which, we live. My family liked classical music. I’m not quite sure why I became so involved with it at such an early age (literally before I could reason). Driving from the Savannah luncheon to my return flight (from Atlanta...don’t ask), I listened to the (oft maligned) Met Opera broadcast of La Boheme, happy to find it available on my rental car radio, entertained by the Opera Quiz and Peter Allen’s solemn introductions, moved to tears (inevitably?) during the final moments.
      Since then, I have had some further revelations. I led a mixed crew of “Pipedreams” enthusiasts (a waiter, a stock broker, two lawyers, two retired ministers with wives, a dairy farmer, librarian, school teacher, four engineers…hydraulic, mechanical, electrical, electronic) on a tour of historic organs in “Bach Country” in eastern Germany. I was moved by their eagerness, innocence, and delight as they listened to instruments two-, three-, and four-hundred years old. 
      I’ve also done some “Pipedreams Live!” events…in Madison, central and rural-northwestern Minnesota, and our Twin Cities…where I was moved by hands-on interaction with the “organ crowd,” eager, friendly folks who were all over the map, demographically: a three-year-old and two eight-year olds (who listen every week), middle-school kids, high-school kids, twenty-somethings, folks younger and older than I am….people involved in music, or involved WITH music, people with ears who hear.
      I also attended (yes, and produced) a nine-hour marathon performance of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen (!) played by Paul Jacobs, an incredibly talented and focused 25-year-old Yale grad student (who did the complete Bach organ works on July 28, 2000, in an eighteen-hour marathon…this kid has stamina, and is GOOD!). We broadcast three hours live. More marvelous than the crowd that showed up at the Basilica was the response of listeners to the broadcast portions, which they found fascinating.
      Also totally unscientific but interesting, my brother (an architectural photographer working in eastern Pennsylvania and New York) has been amazed by the unaccountable diversity of the non-musicians with whom he has come in contact through various projects who, upon discovering his “Barone” connection, reveal that they listen regularly to “Pipedreams.” 
      Does this all mean anything? Perhaps no more than what we knew at the start, that classical music (and organ music, too) is emotionally compelling, spiritually affirming, attractive to many who might not even know it yet, and undeniably necessary for others for whom Public Radio broadcasts provide cogent connection. These folks are “out there,” of wide-ranging ages and backgrounds, waiting for more moments of enchantment, and not just the same-old-same-old. It’s up to us, still…and the performers and composers from times past and present who provide us with the “meat”…to keep the banquet table full, and fresh and inviting. After that, there is no turning back. Thank you…for listening.

       Michael Barone
       Minnesota Public Radio