Kitty Wells inspired a homegrown opera
Cheers to The Star for noting the passing of Kitty Wells, the queen of country music.
In 1982, I composed a chamber opera, "Howcum, Oklahoma?". After a successful premiere in Syracuse, it won a national competition for new works, having been nominated by the Glimmerglass Opera Company. It includes a prologue _ a country-western song, with a group of slides from the Farm Security Administration depicting depression-era Oklahoma serving as a backdrop.
Kitty Wells had been the inspiration and model for this song. By that time her career was in decline, because of her age and the newer, glitzier trends in country music. She began making frequent forays to this area, performing anywhere she could _ county fairs, firehouses, dance halls and contemporary versions of honky-tonk joints.
One of her favorite venues was Babcock's, in Wells Bridge, and my wife, Julia, and I saw her whenever we could, feeling privileged to hear such a wonderful artist and admiring a work ethic that would not allow her even to slow down. Eventually we met her, and I told her about my opera, about the (then-new) opera house on the shores of Lake Otsego and about the fact that she had been the inspiration for my song/prologue. She was both flattered and thrilled, and whenever we would see her afterward, she would break into her best imitation of Kirsten Flagstad singing Brunhilde. While she was impressed that Otsego County has a splendid new opera house, her real love lay in that other opry venue _ the one in Nashville, where she had performed hundreds of times and had enjoyed some of her greatest triumphs.
To paraphrase her best-known song: Kitty, 'We can't stop loving you!'
Christian Republicans do plenty of good
A letter to The Daily Star that stated that a person could not be a Christian and a Republican is causing me to violate one of Mr. Thomas Jefferson's warnings to not comment publicly on religion.
The author apparently believes that charity at the end of a gun barrel in some way creates a good and just society. In the final analysis the right to tax rests on the threat of the tax collector. We all accept the fact that the use of force in an orderly society must be the monopoly of the government.
But beyond a certain point, the level of taxation in a welfare state destroys society. The problem is not a Democrat of Republican problem; it is an entitlement problem.
To be a Christian and follow his words would create a voluntary society not dedicated to class warfare. Our United States has been the best society ever created so far in which people work hard, support various voluntary organizations and help the less fortunate, both in the United States and in other countries. Our Rotary program to eradicate polio worldwide is a prime example.
Christian Republicans will keep up the good work.