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Fear? No Problem

 Cellist Yo Yo Ma says he isn't a brave man, that he is scared much of the time.  "But," he adds, "I must like being scared," since he keeps on doing things he fears.

Ma is one of the 5 winners of the Kennedy Center Honors for 2011, the 34th annual presentation of this award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

I caught a bit of the awards show tonight on TV and found it moving, funny, and wildly inspiring. First time I've seen any of it.  I won't miss it again.   I love seeing people who have worked so hard and achieved so much — so much that I admire — getting their due, and clearly feeling so happy about it. 

The winners — seated in the presidential box with the Obamas — saxophonist/composer Sonny Rollins, actor Meryl Streep, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, singer Barbara Cook, and Ma — watched first-rate performances in their honor.   Neil Diamond seemed rapt listening to Lionel Ritchie and Smokey Robinson sing his songs.  (I was too.  I'm a devoted Neil Diamond fan, and felt very proud of him.)

Moment after moment of the tribute was so moving that even the highly satirical Colbert seemed  touched.   It wasn't at all necessary to win an award to be in on the pleasure.Just as it isn't necessary to "be" brave to do brave things.

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  • Mamie
    December 28, 2011 at 5:41 am Reply

    My father used to call to remind us to watch this incredible tribute show.  He would tape it and send us copies.  I was moved last night, not only by the fine artists who were being honored, but by the thought of my dad watching year after year.

    • December 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm Reply

      What a lovely tradition, Mamie! A really nice way to be reminded of him. Obviously a very interesting guy.

  • December 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm Reply

    A magnificent man & musician !   Aiki

    • December 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm Reply

      You’re talking about Neil, right?

  • December 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm Reply

    I usually don't miss that show for any reason, but I missed all of it except Yoyo this time, and I was really sorry! His part was great, though.

    • December 31, 2011 at 7:45 pm Reply

      Happy New Year, kenju! I’m starting to learn that I’m in the minority of people who didn’t know how wonderful this show is. And I’m an awards show groupie, too. Well, now I know. And I’ve signed up on a TV website to be notified when all 34 Kennedy Center shows are on tape.

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