Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Galen and David's excellent (Des Moines) adventure

"The great thing about rock and roll is that someone like me can be a star." — Elton John

YIKES! You wouldn't think in our business — branding, building websites, collateral development and exhibit design — there would be emergencies, but surprisingly, we have them — and in this case Paul was up literally all night Sunday dealing with one.

A company phoned Friday after business hours to ask us if we could create a 10-foot exhibit and have it in their hands in Las Vegas by Tuesday. Holy crap!

Paul sent a flurry of emails and made a bunch of calls to vendors to see how we could possibly pull it off. One of our vendors said he'd check; maybe they could print and ship on Monday and send it next day air. Paul finally heard back late Saturday that they could do it if they received the art by early Monday. 

Problem solved. Not hardly. 

Then we had to wait to hear back from the client to see if the management had given the project the green light! Finally Paul got a call Sunday night at 6:30 PM — while we were walking up the hill carrying trombones and stands to his Music Under the Stars gig — giving him the go-ahead. Paul played the concert, then was up all night helping the client make the art step-by-step. Paul didn't get to bed until 5:30 AM.

That was just the last thing he did this weekend, but hardly the only thing. 

Paul played a Dixieland gig for jazz band camp at Roosevelt High School Friday morning. Friday night we were guests for hors d'oeuvres and drinks at Art and Sue Wittmack's beautiful South of Grand home as part of a series of Rotary Goes Home events that my club, The Rotary Club of Des Moines, held last week. Dick Reasons provided the food, and it was a sumptuous spread with all sorts of unique treats: thin slices of grilled egg plant used as wraps with roasted red peppers and other vegetables inside, five kinds of unique cheese, six kinds of brownies and so much more. I ate way too much.

Saturday morning the delightful duo of Galen Brooks and David Voight spent four hours of their cross-country trip with us. When they left us, they headed to northwest Iowa where Galen grew up and where he still has family and friends, before continuing to San Francisco to visit more friends.

Paul's mom said, "I thought you were just Facebook friends." 

Our mutual pal Karl Schilling did indeed introduce us via Facebook, but you can't know Galen and not be smitten, so over time we've become IRL friends. Paul and I are the richer for it.

Paul said he believes that Galen might be the most diversely-interested man he knows. He's a retired MD psychiatrist, gourmand and music and art lover. He taught himself to play the carillon and became the carillonneur for Frederick, Maryland while he lived there. Five churches were located within earshot of the carillon, and every week he'd get the benediction hymns from all five churches, transcribe the music for the carillon (because of the nature of the carillon, you can't just play ordinary music) and play the five hymns as the churches let out.

David is a gentle, patient, loving man. He and Galen are such world travelers, so much that Galen learned French to facilitate visits to France.

The four of us walked around the East Village, popped into the Iowa State Historical Museum, and as fate would have it, there was a special Al Bell exhibit going on.

If you were an Iowa school child during the years 1949 to 1979, you need no introduction to Al BellAl was a globe-trotter extraodinaire traveling to all kinds of exotic locals. Then he'd come home to Iowa and give talks and show movies to auditoriums full of school children all over the state.

Galen was delighted, and David had already heard so much about Al that even he was pleased. Galen said that Al was a great inspiration to him, and he's certainly done his best to follow in Al's globe-trotting shoes!

David (left) and Galen in front of a quilt of all of Iowa's 99 counties.

After the historical building, we trekked up to the State Capitol followed by lunch at the little Greek restaurant in the EV.

A column rising up toward the dome at the State Capitol.

David and Galen in the law library at the State Capitol.

Galen generously brought two trombones with him for Paul, both of which were horns he played. One is a really fine student horn that Paul will give to just the right up and coming student player as is Galen's wish, and the other is a vintage horn made sometime between 1917 and 1930 that was Galen's grandfather’s before it was his dad’s before it was his!!! It's gorgeous with ornate engraving all over the bell, and it has a lovely tone. Paul gets to continue the tradition of playing it, and is so honored to do so!

As soon as Galen and David were on their way northwest, Paul had to jump in the van and drive to Greenfield for a sound check and gig with Hot Rod Chevy Kevy.


And now.

Which brings us fill circle back to Sunday when Paul first had rehearsal for Music Under the Stars at 3:00 in the afternoon followed by the performance at 7:00. You can imagine, he was a tuckered out guy by the time he was able to close his eyes at 5:30 AM! 

BTW, if you live in central Iowa, MUTS is a great free event. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, a snack or two if you wish, sit on the State Capitol grounds and enjoy concert and big band music. Next week Tina Haase Findlay is featured, and she's awesome.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful weekend, full of excitement, challenges and success! I must admit to feeling somewhat daunted by your energy and Paul's is just over the top. Wow. But stuff like that is what makes me smile when I think of you. You turn impossible challenges into done deals and do it by combining creativity with hard work and the connections you've made through what can only be honest, ethical business dealings. I hope that customer was thrilled!