Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Dr. Stan Ford: Christmas Letter 2019

Dr. Stan Ford writes:

Dear all,

in this season I wish you all the best, and God's blessings in 2020.
Please see attached my Christmas Letter 2019.
Enjoy the reading!

Happy Holidays,


2019 brought many new experiences with it. Like last year, Austria had a great winter season with plenty of snow for those avid skiers. I skipped skiing this year and travelled to India for a discovery tour. Having been to India twice before, I decided to visit Rajasthan and later the Taj Mahal. It was an exhilarating experience and well worth the visit.

Record high temperatures in June had people running to nearby lakes to seek cooling refuge. Most of July was pleasant till the last 10 days. Hot and sticky temperature returned and made life miserable for most. The fall brought another spectacular Indian Summer.

From June till the end of August my home turned into a hotel, hosting friends from all over. For the first time, I got to meet my godson, Ezekiel. Already at 8 months, he was quite the personality. His parents are doing an exemplary job of providing him a very loving environment to grow up in. Soon after their visit, my dear friend, Dwayne came for an extended visit. The itinerary was packed with adventurous things to do. We were on the go so much that he requested a few days just to stay home and relax. I was determined to make his visit a trip of a lifetime. My dear friend, Leslie, visited me for the 2nd time in August. We travelled throughout Germany and Italy together. We had a blast being treated as VIPs as we were given an exclusive tour of the famous “Reichstag”, the parliament premises in Berlin. Similar treatment was extended to us in Murano, Italy near Venice where we toured the unique island where exquisite art made of this treasured glass was produced.

Tourism is booming like never before. Unlike years past, where one could visit famous sites in major cities and leisurely enter the premises without long waits, today, one must often make reservations, sometimes months in advance, to be allowed access into the site you wish to see. I experienced this several times this summer as I toured several places with visiting friends from the States. The days of making spontaneous decisions to visit attractions seem to be something of the past.

Now one is forced to make strategic plans and stick to them for fear of forfeiting an exciting opportunity.

Getting mom’s home sold was the closure of another chapter. She has been living with my sister for over a year now. It took over a year to painfully clear mom’s home of over 50 years of memories. Once things were out of the house last minute touch-ups were done to prepare it for selling. Mom finally gave the green light to place it on the market last June. I was amazed to see how quickly the home was sold.

If you are familiar with TED talk presentations, you know what an honor it is to be invited to give a presentation. I was not familiar with TED talks till after being invited to present a topic and doing more research on the organization. Last June I gave the presentation and it was selected to be placed on the internet along with many others. Diverse topics of practically everything imaginable can be found TED talk. My topic was THE MUSIC EFFECT and how it can positively affect your life, particularly if music instruction is applied at an early age. Below is a link to my presentation.

Last July I gave a master class for a delegation of young aspiring pianists from China. Through hard work we discovered how quickly they were able to improve their playing in the limited time we had together. A handful of them were particularly talented. After the final concert, I was flooded with gifts of appreciation from the students and parents.

You might recall that last year was my final year as artistic director of a chamber music series I led every summer. I handed it over to very competent hands and was fortunate to be invited to perform this summer on the series along with my duo partner, Michaela. Exciting programs were presented. The audience was thrilled to experience such a variety of music. All proceeds went to a mobile children’s hospice service called Papageno, an organization that is dependent upon private donations in order to provide palliative support to terminally ill children and their families. It warms my heart to know that a more positive quality of life is being contributed to those in need as a result. At the end of the season, we got word from the organization that sponsored the concert series over the years. They informed us that the Institute that offered young American students the unique cultural opportunity to study abroad every summer was forced to fold under, due to record high tuitions at colleges in the States. This left little room for students financially to expand their horizons by travelling to Europe. Part of their experience included attending these concerts. 

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