Love at First Listen

Love at First Listen

Love at First Listen was a lot of fun! We at KBACH thank those of you who participated and sent such great selection and stories. We were able to get to a great number of them, and we hope YOU can participate next year – and even sooner, really. In July, we’ll bring you Classically Cool, and we’ll ask you to send us pieces of classical music that make you feel cool during summer’s highest temperatures. We love listener participation, so stay tuned!

Here, we’ve collected some of the most touching stories that accompanied the pieces you and others requested as part of Love at First Listen. First, the three KBACH hosts who presented the music will pass along their favorites, and then our associate program director will wrap things up with a few more favorites.

Sterling Beeaff

Sterling Beeaff

I had such fun reading the comments of just why a particular piece became the piece that flipped a switch in someone's mind about classical music. So often it's parents who introduce us and it's fun that so many of us resonated with the technology involved!

Like David in Clermont, Florida, MY parents had a Zenith, and like David, they also had a recording of Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto. That’s David’s selection.

“I was nine or ten years old living in Chicago with my parents and sister, who was two years older than I. The war was over in Europe and Dad had come home. One night he arrived home with a recording of the new Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell. After dinner and bath, I was put to bed. Mom and Dad were in the living-room and put the new record on the Zenith. I snuck out of bed and lay down at the end of the hall, out of sight of my parents, and listened entranced. They played it several times and I probably fell asleep to that wonderful music.” – David in Clermont, FL

I loved that Anne in Glendale remembered her father’s listening habits. And how funny, I also remember the cherry-red LP. Anne’s selection is Beethoven's Appassionato Sonata.

My dad loved his classical music and played it loud so the neighborhood could appreciate it! He said it was the only way you really hear everything. One day, he brought home his first LP. It was cherry red, and when I heard the music, I was hooked. This sonata is so beautiful. It’s still one of my favorites. .” – Anne in Glendale

Linda Cassidy

Linda Cassidy

It is an honor to be the receiver of these memories and to play music that can take our listeners back to a special moment in their lives. How wonderful to be able to share these moments with our listeners and in turn get to know them better. What a great week!

Lance in Phoenix was my first story on Monday, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt like I traveled back in time along with him. His selection was Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.

“My parents were medical missionaries in the southern Sahara Desert in the 1950s. We didn't have electricity, but we had a wind-up phonograph player. For some reason, the brought it to Africa with them, along with several records, including a 78 rpm record of the Firebird Suite. I suppose I was 8 or 9 years old when I encountered it. I must have played that old vinyl record till the grooves were worn out! I couldn't get enough of it. To this day, hearing it instantly brings back a scene of that old record player in our living room in a stone house in the bush, with me standing beside it pretending to direct the orchestra and making my African friends listen to music they had never dreamed of before. What a great memory!” – Lance in Phoenix

Like Jerri in Glendale, I fell in love with the classic cartoons and all the wonderful classical music attached to many of them! Jerri’s selection was Strauss’s Blue Danube.

“What started my life-long love of Classical music was the old Bugs Bunny cartoon that featured a Wagner opera, What's Opera Doc? The old Merrie Melody with the Blue Danube, Bugs playing the Minute Waltz, it didn't matter. I loved them all. I remember taking a field trip in 5th grade to the Dallas Ballet to the Nutcracker Ballet, and Tchaikovsky became my number one absolute favorite composer of all time. I keep my radio on KBAQ in the car, my Alexa always plays Classical, and it's all thanks to the Looney Tunes in the 1990's central Texas. Thank you for feeding my soul!” – Jerri in Glendale

Wow, Perry in Mesa! We didn’t see this story coming. The piece that turned him into a classical music fan for life could very easily have sent him to therapy! His selection was Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance.

“The first piece of classical music that caused an immediate emotional effect on me was Khachaturian's Sabre Dance.  When I was a small child in the early 60s, the Ed Sullivan Show was a staple of weekend television watching. One of their recurring acts was the plate spinners — all those saucers on the end of wooden poles. It was intense and frantic, just like the music. But! As soon as I heard the music on the television, I would wail! Its slashing melody and booming percussion was as frightening to me as any nightmare. It took years before the piece to stopped scaring me. Now, every time I hear the work performed, I'm grateful that the power of music worked its magic on me at such an early age — even though primal fear accompanied my first exposure to it!” – Perry in Mesa

Jon Town

Jon Town

What a fun week! I love the listener participation promotions we do throughout the year, and I’m now looking forward to this summer’s Classically Cool. I liked so many of the stories I shared. Here are just a couple of them.

Tyler in Mesa reminded me of my own occasionally misspent youth. His selection was Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #5.

“I used to spend Saturday mornings watching cartoons and eating cereal, and it never really dawned on me that the music was “classical”. I knew that it fit very well. Listening to the pieces now takes me back to being a kid, eating cereal, and happily wasting a day laughing at the rabbit.” – Tyler in Mesa

Lucy in Scottsdale heard great music, like I did, in the classroom thanks to a teacher. My own teacher, Mrs. Sites, brought in a record player and a recording of the same piece that Lucy’s teacher did. And as it did with Lucy, it set me on my path as a classical music fan. Lucy’s selection was Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite

The Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe was played for us by our teacher in elementary school as part of the history and culture of Arizona in either fourth or fifth grade. She incorporated it into our lessons in a way that captivated me. When I hear it now, I’m transported back to my childhood days and the many excellent teachers I had throughout the years. In fact, I became one! I taught for 55 years, finally retiring at age 75. I'm also an Arizona native as is my entire family. Thank you, KBACH,  for bringing us beautiful music every day!” – Lucy in Scottsdale

Brian Smith

Brian Smith

It was my job to manage Love at First Listen, as I do the many promotions we do throughout the year. I have to say that this one was the most fun so far! You really came through with touching and funny stories about the pieces that clicked with you when young. Here are a few more of our favorite stories.

Al in Peoria remembered more than just the music in the piece that brought him into classical music. His selection is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

 “I moved back to my birth state of California from a small farm town in North Dakota where I had spent my first 11 years. My father took me to the Hollywood Bowl to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra perform. I had never heard a live orchestra before and had no recollection of ever having heard classical music. We went to the concert in a noisy MG sports car, with me jammed sideways behind the seats. That was an experience in itself. But then I heard the magnificent sound emerged that emerged from the stage! I was mesmerized. And then the canons! What? How could that be? To this day, when I hear that piece, my mind flashes back to that balmy, Southern California evening in 1947. It launched my lifetime love of classical music. Years later, as a student at UCLA, I actually had a chance to sing on that same stage as a participant in the UCLA Spring Sing. Can you imagine the thrill of being there? As I sit here, writing this, that unforgettable Tchaikovsky melody echoes in my head. ” – Al in Peoria

 Tiffany in Chandler gets to the heart of it in describing her emotions in connecting with a certain piece of music. It’s still such a mystery, why it is that some melodies touch our very souls. Tiffany’s selection is The Hallelujah Chorus by Handel.

“There have only been two pieces of music in my life that have made me cry, just break down into tears because they're so beautiful. I’ll tell you about one of them. I can't remember exactly how old I was when I heard these two pieces, but I know I was a child, pretty young. One was the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. I remember sitting in a concert hall with my parents the first time hearing the selection and barely being able to remain standing through the chorus because I was so moved by the piece. I felt weak in the knees and I had tears streaming down my face. The other piece, by the way, is Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.” – Tiffany in Chandler

Peggy in Chandler had to wait entirely too many years to connect a wonderful childhood memory to its source. We’re glad she did, and of course we’re glad our neighboring state also has classical music station!

“I was in 3rd grade when classical music came to me, but I didn’t know it. My teacher played a record and we gradually learned the words to this sweet little song. It goes like this:

When I float my little toy boat
A sailor at sea am I
Far from home I’m sailing the foam
I’m taking an ocean trip.

In the park till nearly dark
A fountain is my sea,
Off I go to towns I know
In my geography.

Oh what lovely sport
As I sail into port,
Where the goldfish play
I go sailing away
To Bombay, Mandalay

When I float my little toy boat
I think of a great big sea,
When my boat meets a wave, then I have to be brave
I reach out and I save my boat, it stays afloat, my little toy boat I save.

Many years later and in my 20s when starting my teaching career, I met a woman who introduced me to classical music. I began listening to it on the classical music station (in California) and also began to buy records. One day I heard Offenbach’s Barcarole, and realized that was the music of my 3rd grade song!

Wow!! I have to stop and listen, with the sound turned up, every time I hear that music.” – Peggy in Chandler