Upcoming Performances

July 12, 8:30 pm Central European
Guest recitalist, Cathedral, Rieux-Volvestre, France

July 22, 7:00 pm Eastern
Petr Eben Windows with James Stokes, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Boone, N.C.

August 26, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 23, 4:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Schantz organ 40th anniversary, Culpeper Baptist Church, Culpeper, Va.

September 28, 7:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, Camp Hill, Penn.

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Little-known facts, Part 3: Big toys

I grew up operating heavy construction equipment. Front-end loaders (of both wheel and track varieties), low-boys, dump trucks, motor graders, bulldozers, etc., even a few minutes on an old trencher. Now I play musical heavy equipment for a living. [How did I miss the blogging fodder in all this until now?]

I have played many organs that I love, but I don't have a favorite that I can think of this minute. But there is one piece of heavy equipment that is my favorite big toy on earth: a Caterpillar 930 front-end loader, born the same year as I. Oh, the earth, gravel, and snow I moved with that one. Responsive steering, intuitive bucket controls, and room for an admirer next to the driver's seat. I might not have picked up any women in it, but I kept them for longer when they sat in it with me.

All this occurred at Bell Construction Company, Statesville, NC, founded in 1946 by my grandfather W.C. Bell and subsequently presided over by Uncle Boyce and then my father Donald. I was never paid, probably because I was young and a terrible operator, and Dad never wanted me to go into that business as a career, anyway. So I was always a tagalong, but I watched in awe as half the land in Rowan and Iredell Counties, NC, was graded in site preparation. My dad was da man. And I still drive in those places with a sense of pride and fond memories. I am also happy to report that the company is doing as well as ever, now under the leadership of cousin Dwayne Bell.

And that Cat 930 is still going strong.

Which is more than I can say for some organs from that year. :)

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