INDUSTRY OUTSIDE METROPOLIS

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Industrial

Forge House 11

It’s a matter of definition. For most of my life, I lived in or around major cities. New York, where I grew up. I don’t know if Jerusalem counts as a major city, but I was there a pretty long time.

hyannis harbor docks cape cod

Then Boston. Industrial in large cities is synonymous with “big.” Great brick factories belching smoke. Tall chimneys. Pollution. Cement. Traffic.

Old Mill No. 4

Yet, ironically, out here in the Blackstone Valley is where the American industrial revolution began. We are the home of the first factories.

Crown and Eagle mill transformed into elderly housing

Crown and Eagle mill transformed into elderly housing

The mills, built along the Blackstone River were where it all began. We are still cleaning up the pollution and the mills are either gone or converted to some other use.

75-AbandonedNK-32

First they moved down south, where they could find cheaper land, labor, favorable tax laws … and they would be near the cotton fields.

path machines dirt hartford st

But industry remains. It’s not the way it was, yet it is industry. Small factories, cottage industry by comparison. And just as interesting as photographic subject.

96-Gloucestermen-NK-1

And finally, not forgetting our New England coastline, the docks and ships of our historic fishing fleets. Our first American industry!

CHRISTMAS AT THE POPS 2014

Of all the things we do in December, our trip to the Boston Pops for their Christmas concert is my favorite. First of all, what’s not to like?

It’s a great concert, fine orchestra, perfect symphony venue. Boston’s Symphony Hall was built in 1900. It’s a classic, both architecturally and acoustically.

72-Boston-Night_001

According to the BSO’s website, Symphony Hall opened on October 15, 1900 with an inaugural gala led by music director Wilhelm Gericke. The architects, McKim, Mead & White of New York, engaged Wallace Clement Sabine, a young assistant professor of physics at Harvard, as their acoustical consultant.

72-Pops-12-11-14_091

Symphony Hall is widely regarded as one of the top concert halls in the world. The walls of the stage slope inward to help focus the sound. The side balconies are shallow so as not to trap any of the sound, and the recesses of the ceiling, along with the statue-filled niches along the three sides, help to distribute the sound throughout the hall.

72-Pops-12-11-14_062

The 16 replicas of Greek and Roman statues are related in some way to music, art, or literature.

72-Pops-12-11-14_028

They were placed in the niches as part of an appreciation of the frequently quoted words, “Boston, the Athens of America,” written by Bostonian William Tudor in the early 19th century.

72-Pops-12-11-14_033

The concert organ at Boston’s Symphony Hall

The Symphony Hall organ — an Aeolian Skinner designed by G. Donald Harrison and installed in 1949 — is one of the finest concert hall organs in the world.

72-Pops-12-11-14_021

A couple of interesting points for observant concert-goers: Beethoven is the only composer whose name was inscribed on one of the plaques that trim the stage and balconies; the other plaques were left empty since it was felt that only Beethoven’s popularity would remain unchanged.

72-Pops-12-11-14_102

The initials “BMH” for “Boston Music Hall”, as the building was originally to have been called, appear on the stairwell banisters at the Huntington Avenue side, originally planned as the main entrance. The old Boston Music Hall was gutted only after the new building, Symphony Hall, was opened.

Four calling birds ...

Four calling birds … in “The 12 Days of Christmas

This year’s program was a bit different than previous year’s. Instead of the usual reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” there was a reading and music dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I (November 1914) and the spontaneous “Christmas Truce” of 24 December 1914.

The classic performance of "Sleigh Ride" brought the audience to its feet

The classic performance of “Sleigh Ride” brought the audience to its feet

There was less use of projected images, more orchestral music. But Santa Claus made his traditional appearance and “The 12 Days of Christmas” was as joyful and raucous as ever. The program was intentionally more inclusive. It was great hearing some songs I remember my mother singing in Yiddish played by this wonderful orchestra.

72-Pops-12-11-14_091

Sometimes the question comes up whether it’s worth supporting orchestras and concert halls like this … and I think of how much we would lose without them. The shine in the eyes of my granddaughter the first time she saw Symphony Hall. For that matter, the shine in my eyes the first time I heard a concert in Carnegie Hall. These places are national treasures. We have so little of our past preserved. I am so grateful we have held onto these precious, beautiful places.

72-Pops-12-11-14_043

And the music. Oh, the music.