Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Aerostat & Yodeling in Deming

How exciting, both Terry and I are feeling better.

Saturday, we went out for a short drive, just needing to get out of the rig for a while.

If you've spent much time in the southwest, you've probably heard of the aerostat. These are huge unmanned blimps that float above the borders, performing radar reconnaissance and who knows what else. They average about half the size of a football field.

What makes them kind of unusual is that they are unmanned and tethered, so once you know where to look, you can pretty much be on the lookout for them. As far as I know, they don't have these in our part of California, and I am fascinated. From our campsite at Rockhound, we were able to see the aerostat that is tethered to the south of Deming. This first picture shows how very tiny it appears in the sky. It's the small white blip above the saddle of the mountains.

Here is another composite I took, blown WAY up, so you can see it a bit better. While these aren't great shots, they are the best I could do from our spot in Deming.


Terry looked at a map and found the location of the Aerostat Station outside of Deming and off we went. We wanted to see if maybe we could get a better look, and a short drive was about all we were up for after our recent bout with the flu.

As we were cruising to the aerostat station, I saw one of the many things that excite me so much about this part of the country. Driving along, I took this shot of the entrance to a ranch (remember to click on the image if you want to see a larger version).

Is that as beautiful a piece of functional artwork as you've ever seen? I sure love New Mexico!

So we ended up making the drive to the Aerostat Station, and sure enough, there it was, right above us, shining in the blue New Mexico sky. Quite a site.

When we woke up on Sunday, we finally knew that we were feeling better. I spent some time posting to the blog, then we took a look through the myriad papers we seem to collect in every location we visit.

Lo and behold, we saw that we were just in time for a free concert we had hoped to attend. The Deming Arts Council was sponsoring a concert by "International Virtuoso Performer Kerry Christensen, Vocalist, Instrumentalist and MASTER YODELER"!!!

Well, I LOVE yodeling and couldn't believe that we had almost missed this treat!

Since this was a free event, the flyer advised that we arrive early for a good seat. Excited to once again be feeling fine and off on an adventure, we left over an hour early, arriving to find the venue locked. We decided to take the hour and go get an ice cream (pretty silly what gets you happy after a couple of days in bed). We returned in plenty of time to get great seats.

I have to tell you, this was quite a show.

This gentleman is exceptionally talented, a true professional. In show business today, it seems that actual entertainers are in pretty short supply, but Kerry Christensen certainly fills the bill. I've seen so many show people who may be able to do one thing well, but I sometimes feel that the era of the all around performer is over.

But there is hope!

This talented fellow sings, plays the accordion, the zither and the Alpine Horn, also known as the Alphorn (yes, one of THOSE horns, the ones you see in the Ricola ads). He also yodels in every imaginable style including western, alpine, Hawaiian, Cajun, jazz, classical. Jewish and even Latin! And to top it all off, he also performs on what he calls the mouth trumpet. With this, he uses his mouth in some kind of buzzing motion and you would swear that there is a trumpet on stage (he does a mean Louis Armstrong).

I hate to sound gushy but this was just such a great show! Kerry has a wonderful voice and is a fine instrumentalist; however for me, his most impressive skill is blending the various elements of his talent into an engaging stage show.

I have never heard anyone actually attempt to play the alphorn before, but I can tell you that when he plays Amazing Grace on this astounding instrument, it is a deeply moving experience. In addition to playing the horn, he accompanies himself on his accordion, which in this song took on the guise of a massive pipe organ. It was a lovely experience.

He related a wonderful story about how he acquired his horn.

Kerry had just given a concert and an elderly gentleman came up to him and told him he wished to sell Kerry his own personal alphorn. Since these are expensive instruments, Kerry politely declined. The man then told him that his horn was worth $7,000 but he wanted to sell it to Kerry for $1,200. Kerry took a look at the instrument and realized that this horn had been carved (apparently all alphorns are handmade) by a trio of fellows who are the acknowledged Masters of this craft. The elderly gent went on to explain that he had hoped to pass his horn on to his children, but he had finally understood that they had no interest.

Then he heard Kerry Christensen play, and the old man knew who he wanted to have his horn. He had only one stipulation, and that was that he wished Kerry to pass it on to his own children. Please, he requested, never sell it.

And as Kerry tells it, he purchased it on the spot and only told his wife about the purchase after he returned from his trip! Isn't that a great story?

He also plays the zither, an lovely instrument we rarely hear these days. My favorite of this part of the show was when he played the theme from the 1949 classic film, the Third Man. It was this haunting tune that first brought the zither to national attention here in America. I tell you, this show just got better and better.

The afternoon literally sped by, I just couldn't believe how lucky we felt to have happened upon this event. And while I have always loved western yodeling, who would have thought I loved other kinds as well? Not only was the afternoon a grand time but it was educational as well.

After the show, there was a reception and everyone got the chance to talk with Kerry. Up close and personal, he is every bit as engaging as on stage. I told him how much I had enjoyed the show and that I would be writing it up on this blog. He kindly pointed me to his website, which I recommend to everyone.

Unfortunately, the lighting was a bit dim during the concert and my pictures didn't come out.

If you ever need an entertainer, this man seems to tour tirelessly and is certainly an engaging stage presence. After the show, they were selling Kerry's CDs and I bought TEN of them, including one titled U2 can Yodel.

Watch out folks, when next you see me, I may be a yodeling fool!.

Please, take a look at his website, and check his schedule. If he is ever performing near you, make sure to attend, you will not be disappointed.

1 comment:

Jack Walker said...

HAPPY 30+7th ANNIVERSARY Terry and Kate!!

We're in Tybee Island, GA - and in a RV camp w/ wifi- so first time online in more than a week.

Just finished reading your blogs and seeing all those great pictures...makes us homesick/lonely for Rockhound of you guys! Keep publishing those pictures; you've got the hang of Blogspot for copy/paste the pic info quickly and easily.

By you repeating Kerry's website 2 or 3 times, finally at the end I DID click. Lo and behold!! He will be @ Dollywood Mar 31 - April 6th; one of our fav places to visit. Sooooo I'm working to get tics tonight, for a couple of days. Ya'll heard him for free I reckon... we'll be paying $33/each for the all-day ticket.

You probably saw his 2007/08 schedule. He'll be in Yuma in Oct and then Mesa next JAN.

Sorry to hear about your shared flu bugs; gosh that can wipe you out and drain you to feel like a limp diskrag. Hopefully you're all recovered and back to your sassy self!

We were home 8 days, frantically getting caught up after being away a month. Then we re-packed and were ready to head AMAZING GRACE (our LD) south to Hanna Park (near Jacksonville) for the Southeast Lazy Dazy Spring Gathering.

Folks came from Vermont, Mass, Penn, Md... plus from over the south - 22 rigs in all. We had a great learning experience and, our 1996 was the "senior rig" of the whole bunch... the only one with Pomona CA on the front cap.

I've draft blogged the last week, and hope to publish it later tonight w/pics,,, or tomorrow - so I'll want to tire you out with more details... read it at: http://www.walkerswanderingways.blogspot.com

We left the Gathering Sunday morning and attended church in Callahan, Florida - that helps support the China project we help with. We had hoped to camp at St. Mary's SP from where we would have been able to see the Carrier JFK that arrived Saturday morning to be decommissioned later this month.

However it and every camp site nearby were full. So we drove up I-95 into GA and finally found space at Lone Harbor, beside a small fishing lake. though they had wifi - we were so far away, with many huge Class A in between, that I could only get a signal by walking down to the bathhouse... standing out front, while the mosquitos had supper and dessert!!! No Thanks!

This morning we drove here to Tybee Island and had great day seeing local historical sites, finishing with a gourmet seafood dinner.... treating ourselves...cause we had to have reservations and put on our shoes!!!!

Jeannette and Mimi are watching TV in the back and send their greetings and love. More next time.

Jack & Jeannette