The dull recital of dates, battles, kingdoms and presidents? The slow process through which societies grow, adapt and change?
Or, is it what we experience ourselves — the events that define us, our family and our community?
For most of us, history is shared experiences.
Sometimes, those experiences are second-hand. We saw the towers fall, we see the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq unfold — but we’re not there.
Or we watched Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate play that sudden-death hole (a moment when the entire American male work force abandoned their jobs as one and found the nearest TV), but we weren’t there.
And the Broncos finally won two Super Bowls — but we weren’t there … or were we? As years pass, attendee numbers swell.
Perhaps 15,000 Bronco fans actually were there on those glorious Sundays — but at least 10 times that number might today claim attendance.
And what about Woodstock?
Were there 100,000 young folk cavorting in the mud at Max Yasgur’s farm — or 10 million? Ask any baby boomer — they were there, they were young, they were cool! And they took lots of pictures … they’re around somewhere.
For those of us who have hung around the Springs for a while, there have been some memorable times, especially as the arts community has grown and changed.
Were you there for the opening of the Pikes Peak Center during 1981? For the spectacular performances by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Isaac Stern and so many others as the symphony grew, flourished and ultimately faded away? For the first concert by the philharmonic? For Shakespeare under the tent in Monument Valley Park, when passing coal trains stepped on the actors’ lines? For the brilliance of actress Alysabeth Clements? For last year’s epic gala celebrating the re-born Fine Arts Center?
Last Monday night, at Colorado College’s spectacular new Cornerstone Arts Center, 462 folks who were smart enough/lucky enough to cough up $15(!) for a ticket witnessed a performance that they will not soon forget.
An orchestra composed almost entirely of student musicians from around the world, who had rehearsed for less than a week, delivered a passionate, technically superb, even transcendent performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Given the cast — conductor Scott Yoo, the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble chorus and distinguished guest soloists (particularly bass-baritone Ashraf Seweilam) — it would have been reasonable to expect competence. But no one could have anticipated greatness — a performance that had a sophisticated audience on its feet, cheering and clapping until their hands hurt, one which left everyone present stunned, shaking their heads and marveling at what they had seen and heard.
You shoulda been there — and if you weren’t, that’s OK.
Because times have changed, right here in river city. A couple of decades ago, transcendent moments in the arts were about as frequent as a Red Sox victory in the World Series.
And now? Thanks to Cornerstone, the Fine Arts Center, the suddenly burgeoning arts scene, the Smokebrush, Culturecast, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Gallery of Contemporary Art and, most of all, to the artists and performers who are transforming this city, transcendent moments promise to be as common as … well, as victories by those re-born Red Sox.
Meanwhile, the Jeff Crank/Bentley Rayburn/Doug Lamborn contest for the 5th Congressional District seat continues, much to the delight of local political junkies who miss the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton celebrity death match.
Of course, we’re all shocked that Rayburn has reneged on the mutual withdrawal deal that he and Crank negotiated on May 28.
The Crank campaign helpfully provided us with a copy — signed by both Jeff and the general. In the agreement, each pledged to withdraw if the other led a jointly commissioned poll by 4 percentage points or more.
So, the poll was conducted and Crank led by 17 points — and Rayburn’s still in the race. He has an excuse, I guess — but he has just revealed himself to be unfit for the high office he seeks.
Why? Because he’s a lying, double-crossing, cheatin’ dog? No — that’s fine for a politician.
He isn’t fit because he broke the first law of politics, of crime and of courtship: Never put it in writing!!! General, what were you thinking….??!!
But why did Crank put it in writing? Can’t say for sure, but does the phrase “private poll” ring a bell?
So it looks as if Lamborn will once again benefit from having more than one opponent, and sneak to re-election with a plurality.
If you find that distressing, don’t blame Jeff or the general. Blame the maidenly reticence of the business community, which couldn’t decide which candidate to support. That reticence was most evident when the usually decisive folks over at the Housing and Building Association decided to endorse both Crank and Rayburn.
Come on, guys — that’s like buying a bunch of lots and agonizing for months about which ones to build on. If you dither too long, someone else takes the market.
Lamborn Homes — models now open, with an on-site sales force …
John Hazlehurst can be reached at John.Hazlehurst@csbj.com or 227-5861.