Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Great City of Birmingham

My search tools picked up this blog and it's author's discussion of cultural opportunities in Birmingham (the author is a former resident of the city).

Read it and discover something new about where you attend college:

It is so obvious, when we go back to Birmingham and visit, that culture is just an everyday part of life. You don’t have to go looking for it: it’s everywhere. Part of that is because you’ve got UAB, Samford, and Birmingham-Southern all in the same town, with UA just a stone’s throw away in Tuscaloosa and Montevallo just down the road too, and each of these schools has an outstanding music department/school of music, plus outstanding drama as well. Add to that the Alabama School of Fine Arts downtown and more world-class church organists and church choirs than any town of any size should be allowed to have, and you get the picture.

(Most people don’t realize this, but Alabama was the first state to have a public television network. Every other state’s public television network is modeled after APT. Public radio went on the air very early in Birmingham, too. WBHM is one of the oldest, and finest, public radio stations in the country.)

I miss the hillly landscape, a lot. I’ve gone on and on before about the restarants I miss, particularly the barbecue places. I miss Five Points South, the Alabama Theatre (and I will not watch “Gone With the Wind” anywhere else!), Vulcan, Burt and Kurt, Rick and Bubba, Parisian, Milo’s, Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, Grapico, and Pete’s Famous on 4th Avenue. I miss Step Sing, City Stages, and the Greek Festival at Holy Trinity-Holy Cross. I miss James Spann and Brenda Ladun on TV, and I even miss (dare I say it?) Paul Finebaum in the paper. I miss the PAPER, for crying out loud! It’s not one of those Gannett clones, and it actually has CONTENT.

But mostly it’s the music I miss. I miss working with Lee Scott terribly. I miss singing in the most acoustically perfect choir loft I’ve ever been in before or since (Mountain Brook Presbyterian). I miss ASO concerts (mostly Amerigo Marino: Paul Polivnick not so much). Choral Evensong at Cathedral Church of the Advent and IPC. Christmas Eve at the Advent and/or St. Mary’s-on-the-Highlands. The Choir at Temple Emanu-El at the High Holy Days.

I want my children to have access to the kinds of opportunities that I had. Note to self: work on that.

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