From the Archives with Byron Hanson: April 2013

A Treasure from 1887 - Just when we suppose we’ve seen it all, something unexpected pops up out of nowhere to brighten our winter days. This time it is a work of sculpture that thousands of us have walked past with nary a glance: a bronze bust of the Irish-American bandmaster Patrick Gilmore that has stood face-forward in the concourse for over 40 years. While I did wonder from time to time how this fine image of an obscure musician came about, I hadn’t so much as opened the case until an author called me with questions for which I had no answer.

Upon lifting the 24-inch tall bronze casting, I realized that its sheer weight could be one reason we’d left it alone for so long, but as soon as I brought it to my office, I could plainly see the name D. B. Sheahan and the date 1887 inscribed below Gilmore’s left shoulder. Even though we know nothing further about this work itself, it was a thrill to do Google search and learn that in 1880 the Irish Sons of St. Patrick commissioned Dennis B. Sheahan’s bust of Irish poet Thomas Moore that stands in New York’s Central Park. Yet another of the prolific sculptor’s works is a full-size image of the actor Edwin Booth as Hamlet housed at the Folger Shakespeare Library at the Library of Congress. And, yes, Edwin is the brother of that Booth whom you might have seen in the recent Spielberg film!

Van Cliburn (1934-2013) - The program for the memorial service held in Fort Worth is a moving tribute to this shy gentleman whose legend remains in contrast to his relatively short performance career that Interlochen campers were privileged to share for eighteen consecutive summers.

The honorary pallbearers included Ralph Votapek, gold medalist at the first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1963, and seven other medalists who have performed at Interlochen 1979 through 2001. The service consisted of seven traditional Christian hymns, the Adagio movement of Rachmaninoff’s second symphony, a poem “Steal Not Away” by Mr. Cliburn read by Paul Harvey, Jr., a eulogy by the pastor and a number of tributes that reflect the range of Van’s influence. The first is a pair of reverent messages from Vladimir Putin and the Russian Union’s current ambassador to the United States. The series continues with tributes from Van’s partner Thomas Smith, from 43rd President George W. Bush, Texas Governor Perry, Juilliard president Joseph Polisi, Olga Rostropovich, and Sid Bass.

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