First Words — 31 January 2013
Letter, autograph from Yo-Yo Ma, change all


You may recall my embarrassing moment during a recent performance by the Cleveland Orchestra at the Adrienne Arsht Center, which I wrote about in the November issue (“Beeping With the Enemy,” I was listening to pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor with the orchestra, when my watch battery ran low and a fine performance was interrupted by a series of tiny warning beeps. (Thinking quickly, I stripped it off my wrist and asked my son, seated next to me, to sit on it – thus passing an embarrassing moment to the next generation, too).

After that, I was afraid to show my face at that excellent venue for the performing arts. That is, until I received the following letter from Mr. Andrew Goldberg at the Arsht Center:

“I recently read your Editor’s letter in City & Shore Magazine. I have had the unique privilege of working for the Adrienne Arsht Center for more than five years as the Vice President of Marketing – and I also have the distinction of having my voice heard on the loud speaker prior to just about every show – kindly asking the audience to turn off any electronic devices before the performance begins.

“Besides my professional affiliation and responsibilities, and having asked (via taped recording) hundreds of thousands of theater patrons to turn off their devices – I also share with you a sensitivity to unnecessary concert noise from the audience, particularly classical music concerts.

“As a token of my appreciation for your honesty – and willingness to share it publicly – and for being a patron of the arts and of the Arsht Center, I wanted to reach out and say hello, and offer you this kind keepsake, [a CD by Yo-Yo Ma, autographed by the cellist].

“I hope you’ll return to the center soon and often.”

It was such a generous and gracious gesture, from Mssrs. Goldberg and Ma. I felt welcome back.

There are so many places to explore and things to do here in South Florida, and we share many of them in this issue. That annual ode to classic, vintage and exotic cars, the Boca Raton Concourse d’Elegance, with beloved comedy icon Bob Newhart headlining, is coming up Feb. 22-24. An exhibition of the new art form, “Lightpainting,” illuminates the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables through March 24. The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo freedives into Fort Lauderdale Feb 23-24. And then there’s the inimitable Natalie Cole, coming up in a benefit concert for music education March 1 at Lynn University in Boca Raton. We should all feel welcome to explore, and lucky to have such riches.

As for me, it will be good to end my exile and rejoin the audience when Cleveland Orchestra conductor Giancarlo Guerrero lifts the baton on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on March 15-16 at the Arsht Center.

This time, I promise I will leave my watch at home.

Mark Gauert,



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