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Thinking Outside the Bachs » Apart From My Art
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Thinking Outside the Bachs

Where does creativity come from?

In my family,  my fourteen-year-old sister was the artist. At least that’s what I thought when I was seven-years-old.

I would watch, entranced, as she worked on her school art projects. She could paint realistic Victorian houses, driftwood, an apple and a watch, all in watercolor –– a difficult medium at best.  To my young eyes, each painting was perfection itself. To be honest, I was intimidated and didn’t have the self-confidence to try anything in that visual world.  Oh, I would lie on the floor listen to the radio and draw princess’s, castles and fairies with wings surrounded by butterflies, but no, I was definitely not an artist.

My father had always insisted that we watch The Firestone Hour on television.  He loved classical music and wanted me to play the violin. I tried but simply did not get it. So, we switched to piano. But it was classical music, not some pop stuff. I didn’t even know you could learn pop music. In fact, I was surprised that all piano music wasn’t classical. I would play Bach, Chopin and Tchaikovsky.

My mother found a piano teacher who lived in Glendale, but came to our house to give me lessons once a week.  She was a very good teacher –– encouraging me to play more difficult pieces and I enjoyed becoming better and better.  She was also a bit idiosyncratic in that while teaching me, she simultaneously ate dinner which my mother had prepared specially for her.  I don’t know if it was my mother’s cooking or my progress as a pianist that kept her coming back.

Sandy dressed up for a piano recital

Twice a year, my teacher would have recitals at her home. While I was always a bit nervous about participating, I did so regularly until one year. I stepped up to the piano, sat down and completely blanked. I couldn’t remember the notes, the composition, or where I was. In a word, panic! I sat there with my hands frozen above the keyboard. My teacher very gently removed me from the stage and took me to her next door neighbor who also had a piano. She showed me the sheet music of the piece I was supposed to play. Then, miracle of miracles, it all came back to me! I returned to the recital, was introduced again, sat down and played. My performance was met with great applause. This was one of the best “can do” moments of my life.

Sandra playing the piano at a recital

After five years of diligent study, I progressed to the level of playing with three other pianists, eight hands on two pianos. It was quite challenging but I enjoyed it enormously.

four pianists and eight hands

When I entered junior high school, piano classes were not available so I gravitated towards the school chorus.  Although I had never sung (other than belting out the occasional song around the house from the tv show, The Hit Parade) I continued my interest in music in junior high school by singing in the chorus.

Strangely, it wasn’t until I joined the a cappella choir in high school, that I discovered that I had perfect pitch.  One thing led to another and soon I became the leader of the soprano section and a bit later, president of the choir.

Sandra singing in music production

Choral music became my passion and I remained in the choir throughout high school.  While our group often sang classical compositions, I also participated in musicals. One day, I heard about auditions to become a song leader for the LA High Football Team. And in the words of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I did and was voted head song leader. Loved every minute, but I didn’t have a clue about football.

Sandra Sallin head Song Leader

But, my interest in classical music really developed when I met and married my husband.  We didn’t have much furniture –– two chairs and a coffee table –– but, boy, did we have a major stereo system!

He had been an officer in the U.S. Air Force and spent a lot of time in London where he bought top-of-the-line equipment, including two massive Tannoy speakers –– the same ones used by the BBC.

At breakfast, at the cocktail hour and at dinner, my musical world expanded as I listened to Bach, Handel, Mussorgsky, Elgar, Vaughn Williams, Britten, Rodrigo, Canteloube –– a veritable post-graduate course in the music of the world.

Over the years, we attended concerts at the LA Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl, but as wonderful as they were, nothing prepared me for the joy of going to the Frank Gehry masterpiece, The Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

How this magnificent structure came to be is a fascinating story in itself. Here’s more at this site. 

As beautiful as the music is within, the sculptured exterior stuns me every time I visit. 

Sandra Sallin at Walt Disney Hall

This tunic is from Artfulhome.com It is the To the Point Tunic by Spirithouse

Sandra at Walt Disney Hall

Sandra Sallin at Walt Disney Hall

Hidden on a level above this exquisite building is a secret garden dedicated to Lillian Disney, The Blue Ribbon Garden. It was she, Disney’s late wife, who donated the initial $50,000,000 for the building of this masterpiece dedicated to her husband. 

Sandra at Blue Ribbon Garden at Walt Disney Hall

Frank Gehry knew of Lillian’s love for Royal Deft porcelain. He and his team broke more than 200 vases and 8,000 tiles to create the mosaic for this fountain, “A Rose for Lilly.” 

A Rose for Lilly Fountain dedication

Sandra Sallin in front of A Rose for Lilly fountain at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in lLos Angeles

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. -Walt Disney






*This is a sponsored post by Artfulhome.com

All images appearing on Thinking Outside the Bachs are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Karen - You know what? I just love your site!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - You know what? I’m thrilled that you love my site. Subscribe and come back to read more! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - You are full of surprises, Sandy! I never knew you could play the piano or sing and I never knew about the Blue Ribbon Garden. I will have to visit that garden! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - It’s amazing how little I talk about. People are always surprised. But I don’t like to brag about stuff. The garden is a must see. Thanks for reading.ReplyCancel

  • Susan B. - You have such a beautiful speaking voice, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you are also an excellent singer! I’ve never been inside the Disney Hall (need to remedy that soon!) but had a wonderful time exploring the outside last year.

    Your outfit is both fun and elegant, and just smashing!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you. I do love the ArtfulHome clothing. They work on me and I feel so good in them. I want to get into the Broad Museum. That’s a tough ticket! Another secret.Speaking of my voice. I use to do voice-overs.No body knows that.ReplyCancel

  • Bungalow Hostess - Oh you look amazing! Your outfit is fabulous but I think it is your skin’s radiance that gives you that extra WOW factor.
    I never knew about the garden or the history of the building…we loves wandering through the Hall when we visited many years ago.
    Your singing and piano playing must have instilled confidence on stage at an early age…great skills for someone who ended up on camera!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - I do think that color dress if very flattering to my grey hair. Thus I will wear it all the time! You know you’re right. All that experience on the stage in junior high and high school did prepare me for doing commercials. Never dreamed I would be acting in commercials! Loved it.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Thank you, Leslie. Yes, I think you’re right.All those years on the stage made being in front of the camera very natural. I wonder if it was the reflection of all those walls that made my skin look so good. Those walls reflected on my skin. Never thought about it.Thanks for reading.ReplyCancel

  • Penelope Bianchi - Hi Sandra!

    Look up “hyperthymic”! It is a gift of brain chemistry that we share! Read about it; and I think you will recognize it. The NY Times article is what I will send you. I read that same poem in high school, and was worried someone would maybe kill me for my cheerfulness! You have the same brain chemistry; just in case you didn’t know it!

    I will send you the article in the NY Times…..it helped me to understand!!!

    You are the greatest!!



    • sandra - Oh Penny, I’d love to read that article. Meanwhile I’ll look up “hyperthymic.” I’m happy to be associated with you no matter in what from. So hypertheymics unite!ReplyCancel

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