God Bless America

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This weekend I had an opportunity to remove one of those barriers. I attended a concert by Kim Perlak at the Elisabet Ney Museum.

It was a great performance, but not as expected. Sure, there was the 17th century classical piece, but also modern classical, new-agey instrumental, and even a set of traditional American songs. I probably should have expected something was afoot when I walked into a classical guitar concert and saw instrument amps on stage.

Kim seems to have an eclectic range of tastes, and she had numerous friends helping her out. The show started with several solo guitar pieces, and ended up with seven performers on stage (Kim playing classical guitar, Bret Boyer fingerpicking a six-string hollowbody electric, Kirby Kelley playing some fine slide on a 12-string acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric bass, flute, and violin.) There was not a single Strat or Martin on stage, which I'm sure violated some Austin ordinance.

When I saw the program, I was prepared for a disappointing ending, but I was wrong. The performance ended with three American pieces, and the one I feared most was God Bless America. I've never heard anything but blustering and overbearing arrangements of the song. Kim's version, instead, was very tentative and sweet and moving. It was more of a plea, than a demand or assertion. It may have been the most patriotic thing I've experienced in many months. If you don't have a chance to hear her live, you may be interested in a recording of her arrangement.

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re: God Bless America

Dear Anonymous,
Glad you enjoyed the Perlak and Friends Concert. Two of the musicians performing with her were her classmares from Yale--Mariana on Flute and myself on violin--Jeanine Wynton

re: God Bless America

Oops! Sorry about them speller mistakes!