19th Birthday Party for 100.1 The X – Stones for Bones

Reno has a great local FM radio station KTHX branded as 100.1 The X.
The X has been in Reno for 19 years. Last night they celebrated their
birthday  by having a concert for charity. Stones For Bones featured 19
local bands, one for each year The X has been in business. Each band
played a different Rolling Stones song.The concert benefited The Nevada
Opera, The Reno Chamber Orchestra, and The Washoe County School
District's "Music In Schools" program.

Blue Haven at Stones for Bones 

It was a great concert. You would think that with 19 bands it would
drag but you really have to give credit to the people who organized the
show. It moved quickly and was fun! In addition to the bands there were
also a couple of Rolling Stones songs performed by people from The Reno
Chamber Orchestra and The Nevada Opera. There was even a performance
of  You Can't Always Get What You Want by a choir from a local
elementary school with the opera singers and the chamber orchestra. 
They all seemed to be having a great time and the audience loved it. To
hear kids, opera singers, and violins playing The Rollings Stones was
funny and great!

Not only was the music great but the whole event
was just plain fun. Reno has always had a great music culture. It
started back when every casino had an orchestra and it continues today.
All 19 bands in this concert were good and some of them were great. It
sounded like what was happening back stage was amazing too with the musicians connecting,
talking, and generally having a good time. The audience of 500 filled
the Nugget show room and we had great time too.

Guitar Woody & The Boilers

Todd Jonz – Musician and Man of Many Interests – Episode 3 of the Marion Vermazen Podcast

Todd Jonz – Musician and Man of Many Interests – Episode 3 of the Marion Vermazen Podcast

My goal for this podcast is to have interesting conversations with interesting people and to have fun doing it. In this show I interview an old friend, Todd Jonz about his life in rural Vermont and Prince Edward Island, Canada. I think you will enjoy listening to our conversation.


Here are some links to some of the things we discussed

Castleton State College Music Ensembles

Green Mountain College Music

The Trombone Forum

Todd's profile and picture on the Trombone Forum

The Book What Color is Your Parachute


News sites mentioned

The Daily Beast

The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal


Ed Felton's Freedom to Tinker


You should be able to subscribe to my podcast by clicking on the
link at
the top of the column to the right. To subscribe in iTunes,
from the iTunes Advanced menu select Subscribe to Podcast and copy the
feed URL.

http://marionvermazen.blogs.com/mv-podcast/rss.xml  "

Rachel Z at Yoshi’s

Last Monday night Duke and I went to see Department of Good & Evil featuring Rachel Z at Yoshi’s. It was the CD release party for their new CD named the same as the group name. What a talented trio. Rachel’s piano playing just dazzled me. Maeve Royce  who played the acoustic bass and Bobbie Rae who played the drums were fantastic too.

I wish I was a more educated music listener. One of my favorites of the pieces that they played was an arrangement of Sting’s “King of Pain”. Unfortunately I can’t remember the original or if I have ever heard it. I certainly enjoyed the performance Monday night and now I want to listen to the Sting song.

Many of the one night stands that we have been to at Yoshis have been awesome. They are usually not sold out so the feeling is very intimate and I often discover something new to me and very special.  Rachel Z is exactly that.

Yoshi’s concerts

In the last couple of weeks we saw two great concerts at Yoshi’s. In some ways they were opposites of each other but what they had in common was how much I enjoyed them.

On Tuesday, March 6 we saw Sean Jones. He is 28 and the lead trumpeter with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. I think all of the guys playing with him were younger than him and in fact a couple of them were still in school but wow! what talent. He only played for one night and it wasn’t sold out but it was clear that he is on the way up. It was wonderful to hear.

Last Sunday, March 11 we  got to see  Stanley Clark. His Yoshi’s bio said:

Bassist, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader and film score
composer, Stanley Clarke is one of the most celebrated bass players in
the world. For over thirty years, Clarke has received virtually every
honor – including a Grammy, seven Grammy nominations and three Emmy
nominations. He was voted Best Bassist by Playboy for 10 consecutive
years and is a member of Guitar Player‘s "Gallery of Greats."

Clark played for 2 shows a night for four nights and all the shows were sold out. I’ve never seen anyone play like him. Part of the time he played the bass like a guitar. The energy level and the music transported me. He is 55 . It was clear that I was in the presence of greatness.

Yoshi’s, What I am Reading, and Charlie Rose – An hour with Michael Crichton

We went to Yoshi’s last night to hear Don Byron. He had a sextet and he played the saxophone and the clarinet.  It was a great show. I really enjoyed it. Duke is a volunteer driver for Yoshi’s and we get free tickets when he drives musicians to the airport. He Just left to drive Don Byron.

Before we went to the show last night we watched Michael Chrichton on Charlie Rose. It was a very interesting interview – One of the best I have seen. Coincidentally I just picked up Michael Chrichton’s book Travels  from the library.

I usually am reading more than one book at a time. Right now I am two thirds of the way through Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris and I have just started Team of Rivals by Doris Hearns Goodwin which I am reading for my non fiction books club. In addition my light reading is Simple Living by Frank Levering and Wanda Urbanska. I’ve read it before but I like to reread books I have enjoyed.







A wide-ranging hour-long conversation with author Michael Crichton.  His latest book is "Next".

Duke and Marion’s Big adventure

Duke and I are off on a grand adventure. (490 miles so far) We are driving down into Mexico to do some exploring and to stay a week at a condo in Manzanilla. On Wednesday we left Union City and drove to Escondido down near San Diego to spend a day with my parents helping to instal the new printer they received for Christmas and to visit and hel;p with a few other tasks. Tomorrow we are off to Tucson.

I haven’t blogged in a while. Lot’s going on. One of the highlights was a trip to the Computer History Museum right before Christmas. My daughter works there but it was my first visit. It felt like going through a museum of my working career. They had pretty much every computer I ever worked on, IBM 360, Univac, PDP 11, Data General Eclipse, early CP/M machines, the Compaq portable that looked like a sewing machine, Sun machines, and of course PCs. The highlight of the visit was when the guys who had renovated the museum’s PDP1 computer ran it to lead us in Christmas carols. It was so cool to see them run the paper tape programs through the machine and flip the switches on the front of the computer to play the carols. The man running the PDP 1 was one of the original programers of the machine, Peter Samson. According to his wikipedia article “For the restoration project he reverse-engineered music tapes from the PDP-1 era and built a player for the museum.” I highly recommend touring the museum if you get a chance. i plan to go back again soon

The Big Day!

I think it rather ironic that I left Sun after 18 years at least partly because of the possibility of being laid off. Sun does so many lay offs that they can say that lay offs are a core competency.Today I was laid off by a profitable company that is rated one of the very top companies to work for in the country. Of course this isn’t the whole story. Had I looked I might have found another job and then I would still be employed. Instead I quite happily chose to retire.

So today is probably the end of my work life. I say probably because I haven’t ruled out taking on another job or consulting assignment that really excites me. But for now I have reached that very exciting major milestone, Retirement! I am still sad to see the project I put all my energy into for the last 17 months die and I am sad to be leaving a lot of new friends but mostly I am very  excited about all the possibilities in front of me.

A few updates on activities this week…. My non fiction book club met Wednesday night. we read Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox. In this biography Maddox does a masterful job of describing complex science and of telling Franklin’s story. It is a compelling book and I highly recommend it.

Last night we went to Yoshi’s and saw Earl Klugh perform. I always enjoy live music at Yoshi’s and although I wasn’t familiar with Klugh’s music I really enjoyed the show.

20th Anniversary of Schoenberg Guitars

Do you know what a luthier is? I didn’t until Friday night. A luthier builds guitars. Friday night we attended a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Schoenberg Guitars. I love guitar music but before Friday night I didn’t know what a Schoenberg guitar was. As I understand it, Eric Schoenberg designs and builds these one of a kind guitars and now they are also hand built one at a time for him by 5 other world class luthiers.  Schoenberg is to guitars what Steinway is to pianos and Stradivarius is to violins.

The guitars are masterpieces. The wood, the workmanship,  the curves and the richness make them wonderful just to look at. But the sound is truly breathtaking. In the hands of the artists who played the guitars sang. The concert was in the small 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. It was easy to imagine I was a guest at a small get together of guitar aficionados just listening to the music.

And the music was beyond description. They invited five of what must be the world’s best players. First there was Mike Dowling who writes, records, arranges and performs. Listening to him I knew immediately what a special evening this would be. Next was Laurence Juber. His music was bit more showy but it was stunning. Juber toured and recorded for three years with Paul McCartney’s band Wings. Next was Muriel Anderson who played the harp guitar as well as the classic guitar. Finally there was Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Mitterhoff. Jorma use to play with Jefferson Airplane and now he Miteroff and Jack Casady make up the group Hot Tuna. Mitteroff is a mandolinist.

The tickets to this concert were one of my birthday presents from Duke. After the four hour concert which seemed like it lasted one hour, as we walked back to our car I could only smile and relish the memories of what was undoubtedly a once in a life time experience.

Neil Young: Heart of Gold

Duke and I saw Neil Young’s concert movie "Neil Young: Heart of Gold" tonight. It really moved me. There was an enormous  truth and honesty. It is just briefly mentioned in the beginning of the movie that Young found out that he had a brain aneurysm not long before the filming of the concert. It was filmed in the Reiman Theater in Nashville. Duke and I saw John Gill there on our honeymoon which probably helped me feel like I was there. Young’s wife was one of the backup singers. The obvious love between them was palpable. You could just see the communication that they shared with just a glance. The music was powerful. "Prairie Wind" reminded me of being a little girl in North Dakota. The song about writing a letter to my friends, the song "Harvest Moon", in fact every song entranced me. Music and great lyrics have a way of touching me emotionally that always surprises me. I came away feeling blessed and thankful for today and all I have. I kept reminding myself not to " be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself."