On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show #211 Santa Barbara, CA

Greetings from somewhere high above the clouds on my flight back to Boston. This has been quite the tour! After spending over a week in Hawaii and then the past few days in California, I’m almost frightened to be going back to the wintry conditions at home.

We taped a wonderful show last night at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. I was especially excited to look out into the audience and see one of From the Top’s biggest fans – Bassoon Bob! He is a bassoonist in his nineties who has been a devoted listener since we first started airing ten years ago. He traveled all the way from his home in Reno to take his granddaughter Emily to our taping. It was so wonderful to see him there!

The musicianship in the Santa Barbara show really struck me. One outstanding performer after another took the stage. Kicking off the show was 17-year-old violinist Jonathan Miron, who played a virtuosic piece by Karol Szymanowski. He was followed by one of the most talented mezzos we’ve ever featured, Kara Sainz, who sang Mozart. Next up was the Soleil Trio performing a fiery piece by Astor Piazzolla, followed by flutist Kevin McAtee, who beautifully played from a Mozart concerto.

Closing the show was one of the tiniest talents I’ve ever seen– 9-year-old Umi Garrett. She had such a powerful way of playing that her piano seat kept rolling back during rehearsal. Too small to brace it with her feet, our trusty host Christopher O’Riley rushed to the rescue, plopping himself down on the bench with her in order to hold it in place while she played! For the actual taping, a piece of wood was drilled down to keep the bench from rolling away.

The show was a wonderful end to our two-week tour. Looking forward now to next week’s taping at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall! But not looking forward to the cold…