I can honestly say my life is richer, wiser, nobler, deeper, sublimer, fuller, truer, sharper, brighter, wider and absolutely so much better in every imaginable way because of the radio station WFMT, 98.7 on the FM dial. Most of what I know about classical music comes from WFMT. And throughout my life, it has been and remains a source and guide for the most magnificent music ever created by man. Music that has nourished my mind and my heart and my soul. Today WFMT celebrates its 60th anniversary.
When I was attending DePaul University and living at home, I rarely missed Norman Ross on a Saturday morning. I can still hear his distinctively warm voice introducing me to Aaron Copeland for the first time --- the animated Hoedown from the Rodeo Suite. Or Bernstein's sophisticated and ironic Candide Overture. What electrifying energizing sound.
Whenever I hear Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, that horrific and profoundly sad November weekend in 1963 after the assassination of President Kennedy comes back to life. WFMT understood the expressive and healing power of great music.
This morning I caught host Carolyn Paulin interviewing violinist Rachel Barton Pine who frequently performs live in the WFMT studio. Miss Pine a native Chicagoan, told how as a young girl she was inspired by WFMT to pursue her illustrious career. Her parents would drive Chicago Symphony conductor Henry Mazer for performances in the suburbs, and he would quiz her about the music on WFMT. What was the period of the piece? The time signature? The composer? Miss Pine said she never goes a day without playing the violin. Observing that her violin teachers used to tell her to practice only on the days she eats, she amplified on that advice : "I only practice on the days I breathe."
Happy Anniversary to a Chicago, national, and international cultural icon and treasure that still takes my breath away! And as long as I can breathe, I'll be tuning in.