Monday, April 22, 2013

Bob Makes Our Day Again


A major mystery was solved yesterday, as a perennially exuberant fan from Tazewell, Virginia was identified at our Southwest Virginia Community College’s “No Limits” Festival of the Arts performance. His booming baritone “YEEAAAAAHHHHHH!” at the end of every piece– and sometimes before the end– was absent from last year’s show; we really missed being regaled so and were concerned for his well-being. But yesterday he was back, stronger than ever. I happened to see him clapping his hands, it was easy to spot him because his applause has the same larger-than-life gusto that his voice does. To give you some reference, his voice sounds (to me, anyway) like Phil Williams, of Knoxville talk radio fame.

So I arranged to meet him after the concert, Jennifer Barnett having neatly discovered that his name was Bob. I must admit, I was expecting some huge guy wearing overhauls and maybe a John Deere cap, but what he wore would have also been appropriate at the races at Saratoga, and he was in very good shape for what I would place at about 78 years old. His wife Nona was with him. His name is Bob Nassif, and he moved to Richlands, VA from Brooklyn as in child in 1939. He’s of Lebanese descent, and made his fortune in Richlands as a clothier back in the 50s and 60s, but what he told me next just absolutely made me do a face-palm. He talked of ancestors who had the last name Rizk who lived in the town of Southington, Conn. Ladies and gentlemen, that happens to be my hometown! Although I moved from there when I was two and didn’t get to meet all the neighbors. ) :

Mr. Nassif had a very compelling explanation for his robust ovations and vocalizing. He stated that “when something hits me [makes an impression on him], I hit back.” The concert featured student soloists from SWCC’s music department, and each one of them was lauded generously-- by name. It’s endearing to know that the effect our music has on some people spawns more than applause. Hardly a rehearsal goes by when we aren’t tempted to give a Bob-style cheer after running through a difficult passage.

1 comment:

Alicia Randisi-Hooker said...

A hearty "yee-haw" for all your blog posts, Andy. You do a great job with these. They are always well written and fun to read!