THE BACKSTORY: In the late '60s I was a high school student in Sioux City, Iowa. Someone gave me a tape with no explanation. I played it on my prized possession: a Panasonic reel-to-reel tape recorder with 3 inch reels and a top speed of 3 3/4 i.p.s.
On this tape was a man introducing music at a concert. The very strange - and very funny - pieces were by someone named P.D.Q. Bach. I was enthralled. And baffled. Imagine trying to understand what kind of musical instrument a "Horn & Hardart" was if you'd never been east of Iowa.
I learned the man was Peter Schickele - and I've been a big fan of his good humored music ever since. In fact, Peter Schickele's work has had a huge & positive effect on my attitudes towards music.
CUT TO THE PRESENT: Friday morning I was sitting in Disney Concert Hall before a concert. Several women sat down to my left and later a man and woman sat to my right. I wasn't paying attention. The woman-to-my-left asked "Is the man near you Peter Schickele?" I looked over but I wasn't sure. Then he talked - no mistaking that voice.
Eventually I figured out how to introduce myself - which would be a whole other story. As I've often heard from people who know him - and as I always assumed from his music - he was a thoroughly pleasant and charming individual. When we said goodbye I told him he was one of my musical heroes - and there aren't very many others.