It’s a foggy Sacramento morning, and I am trying to motivate myself to get out for a training ride. With less than three months until the start of NorCal AIDS Cycle, I need to double down and get serious!
Fund-raising is coming along, but I’m only a quarter of the way to my goal of raising $8000 for 2015. To help this along, I’ll be doing a Benefit Pipe Organ concert for NCAC on Sunday, March 8 at 4:00 pm. I’ll be “riding” the newly restored Reuter organ at Trinity Cathedral, located at 2620 Capitol Avenue in mid-town Sacramento. I hope you can come an support NCAC and enjoy an afternoon of music in the process. If you can’t make it to the concert, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to my fund-raising effort, by clicking the link below. Every contribution, large or small, make a difference in OUR community.
Your support is critical this year… one of our beneficiaries had to close their doors this year, because funding had become so difficult. This agency provided testing and prevention services, and referrals and transportation for medical care, and now those suffering from this disease will have to look elsewhere.
A massive thank you to all of you who have supported NCAC 2015 so far. I hope you will all join me on March 8 as I pedal through some great music, so that I can pedal 330 miles on a bike in May!
Click here to make a quick and easy contribution: http://tinyurl.com/l6ezaq7
Ken Piercy showed up at Trinity Cathedral nearly twenty years ago. He’d been a member of the choir at St Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego, and had starting attending Trinity Cathedral. He was interested in joining our Cathedral Choir… he auditioned for me, and was welcomed into the choir.
Ken thought it very important right from the first, that I and the members of the choir know that he was HIV+. I was a little taken aback… he was the first person I’d met who had it, and there was still a lot of misinformation about AIDS out there. But his genuineness and warmth won members of the choir over. He was always unapologetic about who he was, but was never obnoxious about it.
He was a active participant in the Trinity Cathedral Choir for over ten years, and traveled to England with us three times to sing in England’s great Cathedrals including Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
Ken always said “I am the face of AIDS,” and the contributions he made to education and awareness of HIV/AIDS were exceptional. He helped to start the AIDS Interfaith Network, which provided support to faith communities grappling with this issue. In particular, he was active in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California through the HIV/AIDS commission, and travelled all over the North state educating folks about HIV, and the challenges faced by those who suffer from it. His warm and loving personality put a “face” on the disease, and changed the attitudes and preconceptions of many people.
His own personal health gave him challenges through the years. The meds would stop working… he’d get sick… and then something new would come up, and he would rally and be back with us. In late 2010, Ken became sick again. He seemed to have decided not to fight the disease any more. After having spent a lot of time at the VA hospital in Martinez, he was moved back to Sacramento, where he could be surrounded by the many friends he had here. The countless people who visited him during his last few weeks, are a testament to how deeply he was cared about and loved by so many people. On April 10, 2011, Ken joined a new choir as he passed into new life, just a few weeks before I participated in my first NorCal AIDS Cycle.
So, for the fifth year in a row, I am riding in NorCal AIDS Cycle, a 300 mile/four day bike ride, which raises funds for agencies in OUR community who serve those suffering from HIV/AIDS. And as I have every year, I am riding in the memory if this extraordinary man. And again, I am asking your support. No contribution is too small (or too large!), so just click the link below to make a fast and easy tax-deductible contribution to NCAC for 2015.
Thank you all for your support!
On Saturday, we said a final goodbye to our friend Jim Shultz. Jim first came to Trinity Cathedral in 2001, and shortly after introduced himself to me. He had taken organ lessons with Edgar Billups at St Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego in the past, and was interested in having organ lessons with me.
Jim was an excellent student… he actually practiced between lessons, and came prepared (those of you who are music teachers understand how exciting this is). He became so skilled, that he was a regular substitute for me at the Cathedral, and at many other churches around Sacramento. At my urging he joined the Sacramento Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and was an active board member, and editor of the chapter newsletter for many years.
Jim was also very supportive of our Cathedral Music Program. Even after he was diagnosed with Appendiceal cancer, he attended concerts and Evensong whenever he could.
For several years, we’ve had bats roosting in the apex of the roof at the North end of the Cathedral. Under that apex sits the organ’s en-chamade “Imperial Trumpet” stop. Where there are bats, so will be bat guano, and that guano caused some damage, and several notes in the trumpet wouldn’t play. I had gotten a estimate of $6,000 to do the repair work, to make it like new. During my sabbatical in 2010, Jim, in his own quiet way, went out and raised the money to get the work done. When I arrived back from sabbatical, he told me, “there should be six-thousand dollars in the bank now, to get the work done on the trumpet.” A couple of years ago, when we first started talking about doing a major renovation of the Cathedral organ, Jim was the first to make a very generous donation to the fund. That was before there even was a “fund!”
Jim was diagnosed with cancer about three years ago. He underwent several surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy to battle the cancer. One of the side effects of the chemo was neuropathy in his hands and feet, making it very difficult for him to play the organ and piano. This was a great frustration for him to be unable to play the music he loved. Despite it all, his gentle positive spirit always shone through, during the good and the bad.
About a year ago, we had a conversation about the music for his memorial service. He had very specific desires for the music, and left copious notes regarding the service. At the bottom of this blog, you can see the entire order of music for his memorial service.
Jim went into the ER on Saturday, October 4th, and died early the next morning. Though we all knew this was coming some day, we weren’t quite ready for it yet. Now that he is gone from our sight, it seems like there are some notes missing from our song. But now, in the nearer presence of God, I am confident that he is experiencing a music which is unlike anything any of us can ever imagine. And he can’t wait to share it with us.
Music for Jim Shultz Memorial Service, October 11, 2014:
- Setting: Missa Brevis Sancti Joannes de Deo – Franz Joseph Haydn
- Organ Voluntaries: Schmücke dich, O Liebe Seele – Johann Sebastian Bach; Adagio in g minor – Tomaso Albinoni, realized by Remo Giazotto; Prelude & Fugue in f minor (BWV 534) – Johann Sebastian Bach
- Hymns: “O Praise ye the Lord” (Laudate Dominum); “Abide with me” (Eventide); When in our music, God is Glorified (Engelberg)
- Psalm 23 (Simplified Anglican chant); Celtic Alleluia – Fintan O’ Carrol and Christopher Walker
- Offertory Motet: “Ave Verum Corpus” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Trinity Cathedral Choir, Canon David Link, Director of Music/organist & choirmaster; Dr Ryan Enright, assisting organist; Victoria Tognozzi and Cindy Lee, violinists; Leo Graven, cellist. The Reverend Canon Lynell Walker, celebrant and homilist; the Very Reverend Dr Brian Baker, officiant.
Back in 2009, I was just getting into cycling, and JoAnn and I decided to do “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride,” a 72 mile ride around Lake Tahoe, with some friends. It was a great experience, but really challenging (for me, anyway).
We’d been talking about doing it again, and decided to ride in the Fall edition of the ride, the “Tour de Tahoe.” We added more fun into the mix by talking daughter Justine into riding with us, along with her school friend, Maceo. Our condition for them doing the ride was, that they had to do several training rides along with us. These would include higher mileage rides, and rides with significant hills to prepare. They both made the commitment to it, and we had our Tour de Tahoe team!
We drove up to Tahoe on Saturday, September 6, the day before the ride. Brenna and her friend Bliss were also tagging along, so to carry six people and four bicycles required two vehicles. We arrived in Stateline and quickly checked in for the ride, getting our swag bags and bib numbers, and then headed up Kingsbury Grade to our rental condo in Heavenly. There’s major road construction happening on the road, and we had to wait a long time to get up there.
We rented a very nice three bedroom/two bath condo, which proved to be perfect for our purposes. The only challenge being the eighty something steps we had to climb between the cars and the condo. After making our way back down and up Kingsbury Grade again, we enjoyed a tasty dinner of pizza from the highly touted Base Camp Pizza Co. Then it was preparations for the ride, and early to bed, as it was going to be an early morning start for all of us.
The four of us were up early… at 5 am or thereabouts. I made myself an espresso, and we all ate something resembling breakfast to fuel the first part of our morning. After loading the bikes up we drove down the hill to the Montbleu Casino for the start of the ride.
Typical for this time of year, the morning started out pretty cold, with freezing fingers for the first forty minutes or so. But by the top of the first climb at Emerald Bay, the arm warmers came off, and it was a beautiful day. I have to say, having lost fifty pounds since I last climbed that hill, made a huge difference. The first rest stop at the Vikingsholm parking area gave an opportunity for a little snack and a pit-stop, and to connect with Justine and Maceo, who were of course, way ahead of us.
The next section of the ride had a little bit a hill at the start, but then plunged into a long zippy downhill. I don’t know about you, but when I get going over 40 mph on a bike, it’s a little unnerving. This was followed by some actual flat riding, with a few rollers thrown in to keep it interesting, and before long we swung into the second rest stop at the Homewood ski resort. Here I ran into a group of NorCal AIDS Cycle riders, which I didn’t expect.
Another twenty’ish miles in the next stretch, including a little climb up “Dollar Hill.” This is a climb which doesn’t look like much, because it’s in a highly developed area… but it’s just enough to get your attention.
Lunch! Riding into King’s Beach for lunch, one starts to see just how many riders there are in the “Tour.” After wolfing down a mediocre sub sandwich, a really good brownie, and some fresh fruit, it was back on the road. There is a lot of road construction going on in this area, so for a while there was no shoulder at all, and it was a little scary. But the last big obstacle was looming… the climb up to Spooner Summit.
While the gradient is not as steep as Emerald Bay, it is a steady climb of eight miles with sections around 6-7%, so still a challenge. But we kept a good steady pace, passing up a lot of riders struggling up the hill, and finished out at the last rest stop at Spooner Junction (hwy 28 & 50 split). Freshening up the water bottles and having another snack for the last segment, and we were off, with a zippy downhill on highway 50 heading towards Zephyr Cove (or Zephyr Point for your Presbyterians out there).
One of the things that drives me nuts about this ride, is that just two miles from the finish, there is one more little hill. Not really that steep on its own, but when you’ve been in the saddle for five hours, and ridden seventy miles, it’s just a little irritating. Before long JoAnn and I sailed across the finish line at the Montbleu, ready to get off the bike seats, and enjoy the taco bar which awaited. Justine and Maceo of course, had already been there for awhile, and eaten their lunch. But all were in good spirits from a great ride!
Tour de Tahoe is a fun day on the bike, and a beautiful and challenging ride, at 72 miles with about 4100′ vertical feet of climbing. So if cycling is your thing, you should do it!
Trinity Cathedral’s 1983 Reuter pipe organ has served the Cathedral well for over thirty years. It has played thousands of services and hundreds of weddings and memorial services. While not the largest pipe organ in Sacramento, it’s tonal qualities are among the best in the community; it is known for its refined, elegant sound, and has been played by some of the world’s great organists, who have complemented it’s fine tonal quality.
Like anything of a certain age, it has started to manifest some problems in the last few years, which I have done my best to work around. However, this has presented many challenges, some of which are increasingly difficult to deal with. After careful assessment, our organ technician and other consultants have made specific recommendations for work to be done on the organ.
● Replacement of the façade pipes, (the large visible pipes in the front) which are collapsing under their own weight, due to the use of sub-standard zinc in the original installation.
● Thorough cleaning of organ interior, and regulation and cleaning of some pipes. The interior has thirty years of dust, plaster, and Christmas tree needles (!), which will cause further mechanical problems if not cleaned up.
● Updating of 1983 electronics in the console (which have become increasingly unreliable) to twenty-first century standards.
● Replacing the main air reservoir, damaged when a pipe burst in the furnace and flooded the blower room. The reservoir controls the air-supply which makes the pipes speak.
● Releathering the swell expressions shades (ie. louvres which make the sound louder or softer).
In addition, we would like to complete the antiphonal “Processional” organ, which was prepared for in the original installation. The powerful en-chamade “Imperial Trumpet” stop was installed in 1990, and we’d like to complete the division in honor of the long-time ministry of the Reverend Canon Grant S. Carey, formerly Canon Precentor of the Cathedral.
The total cost of this project is estimated to be around $155,000, and we’d like to get the work done before any of these problems become critical.
A brochure outlining the project, and including a donor form can be downloaded here: Organ renovation tri
I will be doing a live demonstration of the issues around the instrument on Sunday, September 14th at 10:15 am in the choir stalls of the Cathedral. All are invited to see and hear all about this exciting project!
Having thru-hiked the 72 mile High Sierra Trail from Giant Forest to Mount Whitney four years ago, I was anxious to visit this stunning high country in Sequoia National Park again. This time out I worked out a loop which utilized the first third or so of the trail, and then looped back to Crescent Meadow via Blackrock Pass in Mineral King.
I was feeling pretty good about my preparations. But on the Saturday before I began the trip, while trying my pack on, I managed to do something to my back, and was having a lot of pain. I was hoping it would clear up before the hike started, which it did a little bit. But in the end, the back pain would dominate the long-awaited trip.
Day 1 – Sequoia National Park/3.4 miles to the summit of Little Baldy My hiking partner Jon “Baristopheles” and I arrived at the park and picked up our wilderness permit before heading to Dorst campground for our first night in the park. We were lectured by a very serious young ranger at the wilderness desk about food storage, waste, campfires, etc. I thought I saw her crack a smile for a moment, but may have imagined it. After dinner we made an evening acclimatization hike up to the granite dome of Little Baldy, to watch the sunset. It was a awesome start to our trip, and is highly recommended.
Day 2 – Crescent Meadow/High Sierra trailhead to Buck Canyon camp: 10 miles Having done a variant of this trail four years ago, we had an idea what it would be like. After heading out from the official HST trailhead, the trail skirts the stunning middle-fork Kaweah River Canyon. Because it is a south facing trail, it was pretty hot all day, and the NOAA forecast for 5-10 mph winds did not come to fruition. The scenery here is increasingly stunning as you hike east and more and more high country comes into view. While my back was a little tight today, it wasn’t bad for a ten mile hike with a large pack. We descended into the small campsite at Buck Creek Canyon in late afternoon, and enjoyed soaking in the cold mountain water. The next day was a big one, so we were off to sleep quickly.
Day 3 – Buck Canyon camp to Precipice Lake: 10 miles This was to be a long day with lots of steep climbing over 13 miles, so we got an early start. We began the day with a stiff climb heading out of the canyon up to Bearpaw Meadow… location of a luxurious high sierra camp, and backpackers campground. After this the trail continues east, and then climbs up to beautiful Hamilton Lake. We stopped for lunch, and my back was starting to really hurt. I took some ibuprofen, tanked up our water supplies, and continued up the sunny switchbacking ascent to Kaweah Gap. Our goal was to make Big Arroyo junction, where we would head over to Mineral King for the second part of our trip.
One of the most iconic and stunning parts of the High Sierra Trail is Hamilton Gorge. One can see the substantial remnants of a bridge, which obviously didn’t survive. So instead, a trail and tunnel were literally blasted of the walls of the gorge to enable one to get through it.
This is the point where it all went off. I was really having a LOT of back pain which had spread to my hips, and I was getting very dehydrated. Despite having drank three liters of water during the morning hike up to Hamilton Lake, and another three in the afternoon, I hadn’t pee’d in over six hours (those of you who know me well, know how unusual this is). I struggled to make it up to Precipice Lake, just a half mile or so shy of Kaweah Gap, and decided that was all I could do.
So we created a plan “B,” which was to spend the night at Precipice Lake, and then head back out the same way we came. This was not all bad… Precipice Lake is a stunning spot, and one of the most amazing campsites I’ve ever experienced. We were treated to a remarkable alpenglow show, before crawling into sleeping bags, high in the land of granite and stars.
Day 4 – Precipice Lake to Bearpaw Camp: 9 miles We had a rather leisurely morning getting up and packed today. Though the route is generally downhill, there are few parts of the High Sierra Trail which are actually just up or down. And the air temps were getting hotter by the hour, and I knew I was going have to work hard to stay hydrated. We stopped for a break at Upper Hamilton Lake for a food/water break, and chatted with a guy who had brought a group of scouts up. This lake is a very popular campsite, and tends to be overrun. There were already at least a dozen folks camped there, and on the way out we encountered at least another twenty or so who said that was their destination. It was going to be a very crowded camping experience that night! Along the way, we also ran into a guy doing a run from Crescent Meadow to Kaweah Gap and back, in one day. This is the distance it took us to hike over four days, and involves a lot of climbing up and down. Chapeau to this gentleman!
After a long warm day, we wandered through the Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra camp, and made our way down to the backpacker’s campground. This shady (and buggy) resting place includes designated campsites, a water spigot, and vault toilets. We were joined by two young women who had just finished the first day of their High Sierra Trail thru-hike (only seventy miles to go!).
Day 5 – Bearpaw Camp to Crescent Meadow; 11 miles It’s our last morning in the backcountry, with a substantial day of hiking ahead. At 8 am it’s already warm, so the plan is to drink lots of fluids and just keep walking. Mid-morning, the conversation switches to tacos and beer. And beer and tacos. At the Mehrten Creek crossing, the last major water source before the day, I re-filled my hydration bladder and electrolyte bottle. It was a hot day… not only from the direct sun, but from its reflection off of the granite. Soon we were running into day hikers taking a short stroll on the HST. The last family we met mentioned that they had seen a mama bear with three cubs near Crescent Meadow, and to keep an eye out. Sure enough, they were all taking a nap next to a footbridge, just a few hundred yards from the parking lot.
And suddenly, as we hit the parking lot, it was as if we’d been thrown from the wilderness into some kind of Disneylandish nightmare. Cranky screaming kids, bad drivers, tourists of the worse kind. The difference in crowds between a Monday and a Friday was incredible, and we couldn’t wait to get out of there. We headed towards Lodgepole for a cold drink and a shower, and then down the hill for home.
So, while the trip wasn’t what we had planned, and some aspects of it weren’t overly enjoyable, there were some genuine “ahh” moments that you can only get by standing on the precipice, looking at the infinite night sky.
Complete photos here: