Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Day the Music Died

I am listening to the last 15 minutes of music that is broadcast on my favorite radio station, 99.1 KFUO-FM, St. Louis. This station has been a part of my life for the past 65 years. My parents always listened to this station, and it fostered my love for classical music.

I remember my father never missed the opera on Saturday afteroon, which has been broadcast on this station. As my father aged and in his last years, listening to the radio and this station ONLY was one of his greatest pleasures.

When I was a teenager, and others were listening to Elvis and the Everly Brothers, I was listening to Ravel, Debussy and Gershwin. I remember to this day a memorable day in which not "Rock Around the Clock" was playing in my head, but Gershwin's "Concerto in F". How wierd is that for a teenager?

All through my adult life, classical music has been my favorite, always been on the car radio dial. My grandson asked me once, "Grandma, what song is this?" He hadn't ever heard that kind of music before!

They choose Beethoven's 9th Symphony as their last recording to broadcast. They are singing the choral part right now, so it won't be long until they pull the plug.

The station was owned and operated by the Lutheren Church, Missouri Synod. As costs increased and budgets grew tighter, the church decided it had to sell the station, hoping some entity would keep the classical music format. But no, someone bought it and it will be Christian music as of tomorrow morning.

Beethoven just finished and there is nothing but dead air now. For me it is the day the music died, and I lost a piece of my past with it. I am sobbing right now at the loss.

We are all poorer when the arts cannot be supported and nurtured as this station did for the last 65 years. With all the art lovers in this town, why couldn't someoe save this for us? Christian music has its place, but there are plenty of Christian music stations in the area, but now no classical music stations, unless you have a satellite radio.

Now, static, it is gone forever. I am extremely sad.

Guess I'll be calling XM Sirius tomorrow. 99.1 will no longer be on my radio dial. Someone told me that the NPR station, which gave up classical music decades ago, may recosider and dedicate a portion of their daily programming to classical music, that will be something for us to look forward to.

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