January 22, 2012
Sibylle and I just had a fantastic weekend in Kansas City. We took in Yo-Yo Ma's appearance with the Kansas City Symphony Saturday evening, spent the night in a wonderful hotel near Country Club Plaza, treated ourselves to a late night snack at Cheesecake Factory, visited some of our favorite shops in Leawood and Overland Park, and attended a Stanislav Ioudenitch piano master class.
It all started on Tuesday when I discovered that Yo-Yo Ma was going to be performing in the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with the Kansas City Symphony. We were stunned to discover that there were still tickets left. Exactly two seats for the Saturday evening performance.
Knowing that the drive home is two long hours in the dark we started looking around for a place to stay. We choose the Courtyard by Marriot on J. C. Nichols Parkway and were delighted with our room and the entire experience there. The hotel was originally apartments, and the hotel has preserved much of the 1920s charm in the building. There are still milk closets in the hallways that allowed milk delivery while maintaining peace and privacy in the apartment. Our room, while cozy, was clean and wonderfully inviting.
The concert with Yo-Yo Ma was exquisite. When I was a child, perhaps 10 or 12 years old, my father took me to see him and Emanuel Ax play. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen him play live twice. The Dvořák Cello Concerto performance was very good. His encore performance of the Sarabande from the D Major Bach Cello Suite was simply superlative. After the performance we treated ourselves to a late night snack at Cheesecake Factory. We each had an appetizer and a piece of cheesecake. We returned to our room around midnight completely satisfied with our evening.
Sunday we had a long lazy start to the day that included the breakfast buffet in the hotel. Around 11:30 we headed south to Leawood and Overland Park to visit some of our favorite shops. Sibylle found two sweaters and I got a chance to visit the Apple store and drool over the iPhone 4S I'll be getting in a couple of weeks when I am eligible for an upgrade. We also shopped at Whole Foods, picking up a small lunch there too.
Park University north of Kansas City has an excellent music department including Cliburn Gold Medalist Stanislav Ioudenitch. Sibylle learned that he was giving a piano master class at UMKC on Sunday afternoon, so we timed our shopping to allow us to return to central Kansas City to attend. Even a beginning cello student can learn many things from a well presented master class.
We packed a lot in to two days (especially since Sibylle had her normal Saturday lessons prior to our departure Saturday afternoon) and enjoyed every moment of it. Recently we almost forgot about a cello recital in Manhattan and had to rush to the hall. The spontaneity of that evening managed to make it better. Our trip to Kansas City this weekend had that same air of spontaneity, and it too has been wonderful.