Back to index of "this and that in my life" pages by Donald Sauter.

Conversations with me, No. 1
Email highlights, ca. June 1997

Dedicated to the proposition that every thought that's ever been thunk may be of use or interest to someone . . .

THEE: Obscure trivia of the month:

Johnny Rhythm [John Lennon] was born on the 50th anniversary of what important 
event in a Sherlock Holmes story?

PS.  Answer:  "He held up a piece of white cardboard, about the size of 
a sheet of notepaper.  It read in this fashion:--'The Red-Headed League 
is dissolved.  Oct. 9, 1890.'"

ME: Does anybody know anybody who knows anybody... who has any use
whatsoever for a Xerox PC?  Like for a museum or something?  It's
in perfect condition (as far as I know) and has boxes of manuals
and software.  It has *real* big floppies.

THEE: I just documented a Fab [Beatles] reference on an episode of "Batman."  
See Mac's [Paul McCartney] "Two Virgins" quote for the way I feel about that.  
[When two saints meet...]  

THEE: I'm having a lot of trouble finding the Roswell book.  Do you 
think that's part of the conspiracy?

THEE:  The John E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series

Its Conception and Realization

John E. Marlow was one of Washington's great guitarists.  He taught at
American University, performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician
and as a member of the Washington Guitar Quintet.  In addition, he made
several hundred arrangements for solo guitar and guitar with other

Though I only met him a few times, he was always generous with his time and
very helpful.  I actually met him when the two of us showed up to play for
the same gig.  It was an error made by an agent.  We decided to take turns
playing.  As we were playing in a large lobby of a hotel, we both used
amplification.  He walked around the room and listened so he could give me
feedback on my sound in the room.  This was extremely helpful as one never
knows what things sound like "out there."  I share this story as I am sure it
was typical of  John.  He was well liked and respected in the Washington
guitar community.

After John's death in the Fall of 1992, the International Conservatory of
Music organized a benefit and tribute concert to raise scholarship money for
John's son Richy.  The concert, which took place in April of 1993, was a huge 
success.  There were over 25 performers and an audience of over 500 for this
guitar marathon that started at 2 pm with a recording of John Marlow playing
the Prelude Fugue and Allegro by J.S. Bach and finishing  three and a half
hours later with John's son Richy playing guitar.  People stayed around just
to talk until 10 or 11 pm.  This concert represented not only everyone's
admiration for John but it was also a reunion of the guitar community in
Washington.  Organizers of this event included Tom Cole, Howard Bass, Larry
Snitzler, Regis Ferruzza, Steve Spellman and Tim Healy along with help from
Allison Hampton (reception), Bob Bensal (sound) and a TV crew from Fairfax
Channel 10.  

The large success of this concert was the driving inspiration behind starting
the John E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series.  Tim Healy (president, ICM), Regis
Ferruzza (artistic director) and the late Wade Dunn formed the team that got
this series off the ground.

Both Tim and Regis have extensive musical backgrounds which feed their
passion to make the Marlow series a success.  Tim Healy holds a bachelors
degree in business from Georgetown University  as well as a bachelor of music
from the New England Conservatory.  He taught at the All Newton Music School
from 1972-80 as well as at the Cape Cod Conservatory from 1977-80.  In 1980
he and his family moved to Washington to start the International Conservatory
of Music (ICM).  The ICM presented classes on musics of the world drawing
upon the ethnic diversity of the Washington area.  The ICM seemed to lose
focus until the tribute concert for John Marlow in 1993.  Since then, Tim's
role as president of the ICM has given leadership and direction to the John
E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series.

Regis Ferruzza used to play guitar in his father's barber shop.  When he
heard Segovia play, his focus turned to the classical guitar.   He began
studying with Sophocles Papas and within one month, Papas was referring
students to Regis.  He later went to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to study
with Andres Segovia (early 1960's).  Regis' career has seen him as a
guitarist in the United States Army Band for 12 years and as a faculty member
at the American University, George Washington University and George Mason
University.  He also spent four years touring as part of the North Carolina
Visiting Artist Program.  Together with John Marlow, he helped to develop a
method of teaching classical guitar.  It is his love for the instrument that
has committed Regis to the success of the Marlow Series.

In its first season (1994-95), the John E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series
presented Charlie Byrd, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Myrna Sislen, Jeffery
Meyerriecks, Berta Rojas and Jorge Morel.  In the 1995-96 season, it
presented Manuel Barreuco, Paco de Malaga and Anna Martinez, Also Lagrutta,
David Perry and Berta Rojas.  In its 1996-97 season, its artists were Georgi
Vassilev, Lily Afshar, Roland Dyens and John Holmquist (substituting for
Ricardo Cobo).  In addition they helped support George Mason Center for the
Arts in presenting Julian Bream as well as the National Chamber Orchestra's
performance featuring Manuel Barrueco.  The announcement has not yet been
made for the 1997-98 season, but count on it to be great.

THEE: President's Soap Box - WGS Past Present and Future

Dear Washington Guitar Community,

Elections for the new president and vice president of the Washington Guitar
Society will take place on Saturday, September 13 at 1 pm at the Washington
Conservatory of Music, 5144 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda, MD.  This will
precede my stepping down recital "Kevin Vigil and Friends" at 2 pm (a
performance that I am dedicating to the WGS).  Please make plans to attend as
this will be a pivotal step  for the future of the Washington Guitar Society.

As I will be stepping down soon, I'd like to share some of my thoughts and
impressions on the past, present and future of the classical guitar in
greater Washington area...

The Past
As for the guitar scene in Washington before I was here?...  Well, here is a
synopsis of what I've been told (from several sources)...

Washington used to be a haven for classical guitar as American University was
the first university to offer degrees in guitar performance.  Andres Segovia
was a living legend and many of his loyal followers lived here and were very
active.  The Guitar Shop was the first to present a Segovia concert in
Washington.  Washington was the place to be!

So what happened?...  Believe it or not there became differing factions of
guitarists in the area.  The biggest rivalry was perhaps the one that
Sophocles Papas had against Aaron Shearer and his students.  A third faction
formed when some people broke away from Papas to form their own guitar
society.  So there were basically three separate guitar factions that could
not see eye to eye.  Personally, I can't understand how such a thing could
evolve... this is supposedly all about our love for making music.  I heard
that at one point, these factions tried to mend fences, but then everything
just fell apart.  It must have been a "power thing."

Since I Moved Here
When I first moved here in 1990, there was no guitar society.  I thought this
to be very strange as this is the nation's capital.  There was, however, the
D'Addario Series which presented a group of concert guitarists in a tour of 5
or 6 cities throughout the United States.  Fortunately, Washington, DC was
one of the cities.  Unfortunately, the series died very soon after as
D'Addario was losing money.  After this there was very little guitar activity
in the Washington, DC area with the exception of concerts given by John
Williams and Christopher Parkening (once a year at best).

In 1992, an amateur guitarist and student of the guitar named Morey Rothberg
started a new organization called The Classical Guitar Society of Washington
DC.  In two years time he was able to build the membership to about 50 and a
bank account of about $500.  The activities of this society were monthly
meetings in the public library system of Montgomery County and publishing a
newsletter.  The meetings featured local performers giving recitals or
workshops to all in attendance.  They were free and open to the public.  I
only went to a few of these activities because I was teaching on the days
that they met.  After giving a workshop for the society, Morey approached me
about being the new president as he was ready to step down.  My first thought
was to say "no".  Later in the week one of the members, Cathy Fleming, called
and encouraged me to consider being president.  After careful consideration I
decided to run for president.  I knew it would be a lot of work to obtain the
kind of results and goals that I wanted.

I had been a member of the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society which had
several hundred members and presented artists like Manuel Barrueco, Ben
Verdery, David Tannenbaum, Kazuhito Yamashita and many others.  This was my
vision of a guitar society as well as continuing the format that Morey had
already established.

The first thing that I did was to get our organization incorporated in the
state of Virginia and change the name to the Washington Guitar Society (not
quite as wordy as the previous name).  My next goal was to start a concert
series.  This is difficult to do if you have no money!

I decided to take a risk and started presenting concerts for the 1994-95
season at the Reid Foundation Building Ballroom in Washington.  Our first
season featured Jay Kaufman, Ivan Rijos, The Avalon Chamber Players and Jad
Azkoul.  After rent, programs and a small honorarium for the artists, we
would need about 50 people in attendance to break even for each performance.
We broke even on all but one concert of that season.

After I had already made commitments to the 1994-95 artists as well as the
hall, I got a call from Tim Healy who is president of the International
Conservatory of Music.  He along with Regis Ferruzza (artistic director) and
Wade Dunn were getting ready to begin a new guitar series as well.  It was to
be named after a very loved Washington guitarist who had passed away.  This
series was named the John E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series.  Please see the
article pertaining to this series on page _.
Both series went on as planned.  I thought it very important to show support
for the Marlow   series by publishing their events in our newsletter and
encouraging people to attend, even though we were presenting a series of our

As the following season was soon approaching, I got a call from the great
guitarist Scott Tennant.  He was going to be performing in Baltimore and was
looking for another concert while he was in the area.  I told him we didn't
have much money, but he seemed to be more interested in having a warm-up
performance before he played in Baltimore.  I knew I couldn't turn down Scott
Tennant, so I started planning yet another season of performances.  In
addition to Scott, we had Ignacio Rodes (Spain), Jason Vieaux, William
Feasley (local), the Alexandria Guitar Quartet (local), Duo Firenze (Robert
Trent, guitar and Pamela Swensen-Trent, fortepiano) and Elliot Frank.  This
season was presented at the Dorchester Tower Apartments in Arlington, VA and
was very successful.

Running with that success, I stepped things up a bit more and moved our
series to the Lyceum Museum in Old Town Alexandria, VA.  The 1996-97 season
featured Michael Nicolella, Michael Bard & Kevin Vigil in a fund raiser,
Larry Snitzler, the Concordia Trio (Kevin Dolan, guitar, Susan Deaver, flute
and Tim Schultz, oboe), Phil Candelaria, John Stover and the Alexandria
Guitar Quartet (fund raiser).  Of special notice, 12 year old Nicki Lehrer
opened up for two of these concerts.  With the expenses of the Lyceum and a
higher honorarium for the artists, this season only broke even with the help
of the two fund raisers.

Keep in mind that in addition to the concerts I've been describing for the
past few paragraphs, the WGS has continued to present monthly meetings at the
Washington Conservatory of Music in addition to publishing our bi-monthly
newsletter.  Also keep in mind that the John E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series
has continued to grow and is presenting world-class performers as well as
supporting performances presented by other established series (like the
presentation of Julian Bream by the George Mason Center for the Arts).

The Present
Five years ago there was almost no guitar activity in Washington.  Now, there
is an abundance of activity due to the efforts of the WGS and the John E.
Marlow Guitar Recital Series.  I have decided not to present a WGS concert
series for the 1997-98 season because I think that it's time for our two
organizations to merge our efforts toward an even stronger guitar scene.

The WGS currently has about 150 members and an average of $1,500 in the bank.
 That's not too bad, especially when you consider that we don't even have a
phone number in the phone book.  The WGS continues to hold its monthly
meetings presenting performances of local pros and events which offer
performance and learning opportunities to students and hobbyists of all
levels.  The WGS also continues to publish one of the best guitar society
newsletters in the country.  I know this because we currently exchange
newsletters with several other guitar societies.  Many have written to me
personally to tell me what a fine job we're doing with our newsletter.

The Marlow series is able to attract a larger audience and pay the artists
more of what they are worth than the small honorariums we were giving.  While
the WGS concerts may have been a little more intimate, we were struggling to
stay afloat.  The Marlow series is run by professionals who are paid for and
from their efforts.  It's not enough to live on, but this allows them to put
more time and energy toward its success.  There are several volunteers as
well, but without  Tim and Regis, the series simply would not happen.  I've
been lucky to get some help from volunteers and I put every spare ounce of
time I had into the WGS series, but it's still not enough to do the job

I have been maintaining a dialogue with Tim Healy and Regis Ferruzza who
organize the Marlow Series.  I fully realize their need for money.  Remember,
it was a lack of the green stuff that caused the D'Addario Series to fail.
 There are many expenses in presenting a concert:  Artist fees, room rental,
reception, sound and light rental, advertisement, programs, flyers, letters,
1099s, etc...  If we want a successful and lasting guitar series with great
concert artists in Washington, we must support this series with more than
good wishes.  We need to back our support with dollars.  This is an
opportunity that we should not miss out on.  We can be a part of revitalizing
the guitar in Washington.

Here is the deal that Tim, Regis and I think is the way to make this
cooperation work.  As it stands now our dues are possibly the lowest in the
country at $15 per year.  This covers our newsletter expenses and little
else.  If we raise our dues to $25 per year, $10 of that will go directly to
the John E. Marlow Guitar Recital Series.  In return, WGS members will get a
15% discount to the Marlow Series (not individual concerts, but the series)
as well as a free set of D'Addario strings from The Guitar Shop.  The strings
alone are a $10 value and the discount on the series is at least another $15.
 Therefore, if you are a member of the WGS and you buy the series:

-You will  enjoy and be inspired by a season of great guitar concerts. 
-You will  get a 15% discount to the series.
-You will  get a free set of D'Addario strings.
-You will  be helping the concert series grow and prosper.
-Your support for this series will attract more interest in the WGS. 
-You will  meet others with your similar interests (other guitar friends) and
enjoy their company on a  regular basis.
-You will be giving the WGS exposure by your attendance and this will attract
more members to the WGS.
-Most of all you will be a part of regenerating a healthy guitar scene here
in Washington so that there will be no more factions which is one of the more
embarrassing things in Washington's guitar past.

In addition, officers of the Washington Guitar Society will get VIP seating
at the concerts as well as be invited to an after concert dinner with the
artist and other VIPs.

All major concert series and major orchestras depend on contributions to
cover the expenses of presenting concerts.    When you purchase a ticket for
the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, you are only covering 40% of
that seats expenses.  In an ideal world a concert series would be self
supporting, but that's not the reality.  Our potential contribution along
with others who contribute to the Marlow Series (like the D'Addario String
Company) will help to keep the economics of the series above water.

The Future
The aforementioned possibilities for the future will be determined by you  as
a member of the Washington Guitar Society.  Enclosed in this newsletter is a q
uestionnaire.  It asks many questions about what your interests are
pertaining to the guitar society.  It covers everything from meeting time and
place, to newsletter format to our potential cooperation with the John E.
Marlow Guitar Recital Series.  Please fill out this questionnaire and return
it as soon as possible.  It will tell your future officers what it is that
you would like your guitar society to be.  

In Closing
I had to do some serious thinking about everything written above.  While it
was my initial idea to give funds to the Marlow Series, I can see where some
people may not like it.  Some people think that people should organize events
for free, but organizing is a full time job and these people are doing this
in addition to their jobs.  The tickets to the Marlow series have been very
reasonably priced at under $20 per concert (including a nice wine and cheese
 meet-the-artist reception).  Try getting all that from any other presentor's
ticket.  I think this proposal is the easiest and strongest way to show our
support.  We would not have to be involved in organizing anything or setting
up receptions.  I think it is  a very attractive arrangement.  Some people
may think that we should stand back and watch the ball bounce.  I'd rather
make sure that it will continue to bounce.  It is time for us as a guitar
community to get involved!

So far, one person has stepped forward to be a candidate for president of the
Washington Guitar Society if no one else wants to do it.  That means that the
WGS will continue in one form or another.  I would encourage anyone with an
interest in being part of something great to step forward for the available
offices of President and Vice-President.  If you are interested, just give me
a call at (703) 644-1659.

With all that has been wrong in Washington's guitar past, I am thrilled to
see something going right (the WGS and the Marlow Series)!  Remember American
University?  Guess guitar majors!  That's pretty sad for the
school that started it all.  Maybe... just maybe, we can all work together now
to build a healthy guitar scene.

THEE: I have also seen these asterisks used to denote an underlined word.  
I'm just curious inasmuch as it's one of those little linguistic practices
that seem to have arisen from nowhere yet quickly become conventional
apparently without any formal acceptance or ritual, like the
left-aligning of salutations and dispensing with paragraph indentations
(which I often find myself resisting).

What I do understand is there's quite a lot one can do with 5 MB, even 1 MB, of
server storage space if one doesn't fall prey to the temptation to use

Well I'm afraid I'm growing unmanageably fuzzy at this point, so I will
bid you adieu for now.  If the aliens don't celebrate 50 year
anniversaries the way us humans do and undertake a massive convergence
on New Mexico this week, then I'll probably be able to write you on a
future weekend.

THEE: Hself rejects "Game With Orioles not Blue Jays' Way" as a 
Beatle rarity.  She says it's a coincidence.  That's just her opinion.  I
didn't bother to show her last Sunday's "Post" feature, "Parents Hope
Reading Will Keep Kids' Minds From Wandering."  [Fixing A Hole]

THEE: Query for Welsh Harry [Vernon]:  In a Big Audio Dynamite song, there 
is a sound clip, apparently from an old British movie, in which the term 
"Jack the Lad" is used.  A day after Angie and I remarked on this mention, 
we saw the new Irish film "The Van," which featured a kid wearing a 
Jack the Lad T-shirt.  Who is Jack the Lad?!

THEE: Back in the late '80s, my friend held a door open for a young man,
who said, "Thanks, homes."  ("Homes" being short for homeboy, a new term

"Not at all, Watson," said my friend.

THEE: In answer to your question... In chapter seven of the Tibetan Book of
Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche, bardo is explained as "A TIBETAN
WORD that simply means a 'transition' or a gap between the completion of
one situation and the onset of another.  *Bar* means 'in between,' and
*do* means 'suspended' or 'thrown.'   

Quite unconsciously, I just realised that I'm listening to Banco de
Gaia on the Web (unreleased music - a brilliant idea, I think) this very
moment.  I find this significant since Toby Marks has made the concerns
of the people of Tibet a major theme in his music.  His Last Train to
Lhasa CD was devoted to the subject.  For more info on Banco de Gaia,
look at   Some people might say what happened now is
mere coincidence.  But then, I'll bet people who say this haven't read
of the bardos.

THEE: Looks like the guitar trivia question I submitted to the Baltimore Guitar
Society home page stumped the world!  Here's a quote & the question--

 > Usually, we're swamped with correct answers to our questions, but this 
 > time there wasn't a single one! So, we're going to extend this puzzler 
 > for one more newsletter and give everyone one last chance at it. [The 
 > editor, by the way, knows at least one guitarist in Takoma Park who knows 
 > the answer to this one.]:

 > This French king's mad passion for the guitar lead him to financially 
 > support some of the Baroque era's best known guitarist-composers, 
 > including Francesco Corbetta and Robert De Visee. What is the name of 
 > this royal guitarist? 

THEE: Hself and I tried to find lyrics to "The Ballad of John and Yoko" 
on the web last night and we failed.  Without listening to the song, our 
guess is that you were having problems with the phrase "15 accorns tied 
in a sack."  Please advise.

THEE: I can't believe we generated 1.8 mb of stuff on the 
hard drive by our web browse.  That's a lot!  My huge document 
containing detailed information on every record I've listened to in the 
last four and a half years, plus every record I own by groups starting 
with A and B (including Beatoes [Beatles] and Beachmen [Beach Boys]) 
weighs in at not quite 0.5 mb.  Graphics sure take up a lot of space.

This morning, I checked out the matrix number of the Batman EP 
you cleaned and it matched the one on the label, so it's the right 
label for the right record, I think.  That made me think of that Julian 
Bream annecdote involving "Band on the Run."  I've decided that a much 
more obvious tip-off was right before Bream's eyes--unless his album had 
the same number of tracks on both sides as "BotR."

Well, I guess I'll check in on Sojourner's progress toward Yogi now.

THEE: The other week, by the way, I watched an ancient "Avengers" 
that featured a villain who would later have a few lines in a 
"A Hard Day's Night" dressing room scene.  Still later, he would have a 
plum role as the master of the house in "Upstairs Downstairs."

THEE: My other main "Beatles Book Monthly" research, you'll recall, 
concerned Japanese Beatle fans named Yoko who wrote in for penpals.  There 
were a couple.  Maybe the Lewisohn bit [the young Mark Lewisohn in a 
Pen Pals column] was the best thing I found.

THEE: I'm afraid I must apologize regarding the Banco de Gaia site I
mentioned.  I didn't realize you're using a cat for a browser. 
Unfortunately that site was designed for people using a ship's steering
wheel or a magnifying glass that's beating up on planet Earth.  I prefer
the ship's wheel myself, but the cat has quite a history.  

THEE: Give more details on Macca [Paul McCartney] and "MMT"  
[Magical Mystery Tour].  What is this revealing 
himself business?  Do you need the naughty bits?  I'm too busy seeking 
an unedited version of the penultimate scene to start looking for some 
sort of naughty Macca footage too.

Someone I spoke to said Paul came across nicely over two days of 
interviews on "The Today Show" last week.

THEE: Accordion site was cute!  Also encouragement to those who do music 
with eclectic appeal -- one can always publish it on the Web.

ME: The following discussion never went any further.  Anybody know what 
Hself is thinking of?  
THEE: Subject: JL's tape recorder art: the toke
Not been in this ng long, but I wonder: how many of you have recognized a
short passage (about 20 secs) that you have heard hundreds of times in the
course of listening to this one particular Beatletune as John's aural
recreation of a toke on a joint?
And did you hear it because someone told you about it or did it just knock
you upside the head one day? For me it was the latter, I knew this
particular song backwards, but for some reason, hearing it that day on the
radio I had on in the background while I was doing same chores, it clicked.
And realizing it, it was as though I'd just taken that hit myself!
So, if you haven't discovered it yet, keep listening. It would not be
nearly as fun to have someone tell you as to discover it for yourself, one

THEE2: Well, thanks for at least "trying" to add some fun and games here, but
I'm sure there's practically not a person here who doesn't know which
song you're talking about. This point has been debated almost as much
as "cranberry sauce". The verdict is it's not a toke sound.
THEE3: It seems that the majority considered the sound in question to be a
"sigh".  I agree that a "sigh" would be appropriate in the context of
the song, but the sound, to my ears, is an _intake_ of air, and I have
always considered a "sigh" to be the _expulsion_ of air.  At least
that's the sound I make when *I* sigh...usually accompanied by the
shrugging of my shoulders.  I wholeheartedly agree that there is no
logical reason for John to insert a "toking" sound at any juncture of
"Girl", but it just doesn't sound like my definition of a "sigh".
Perhaps we just "sigh" differently in the Southern US.  :^)
THEE: Well, maybe everybody knows which song it is, but it's not "Girl" I'm not
talking about. (I wouldn't mind it a bit if you wanted to talk about it,
though, since that's a terrific song). Hself is right, this is just a bit
of fun, and if he's referring to Girl too, I agree that in that case the
sound is most definitely not a toke, but rather John sounding wistful by
combining sighing with singing.
But if you and I are talking about the same tune, Hself, there's no number
of votes or expert opinions that could convince me otherwise. To me, it's
one of the most strikingly clever things our Head Beatle ever did, and that
is saying something. Plus, it's hilarious.
I have some other proofs of my view, but don't want to list them here. No
clues, because seriously, I'd like to not spoil the wonderful zap in the
head from John for any of my fellow Beatle fans that haven't caught it yet.


Contact Donald Sauter: send an email; view guestbook; sign guestbook.
Back to Donald Sauter's main page.
Rather shop than think? Please visit My Little Shop of Rare and Precious Commodities.
Back to the top of this page.

Abbreviations: Hself = generic name, male or female (Himself, Herself).

Parents, if you're considering tutoring or supplemental education for your child, you may be interested in my observations on Kumon.