I had a lovely evening out with Shirley Guttenfelder-Hearne on Thursday. I met Shirley through our RVing group, the Pink FlaminGoes. She invited me to a concert with Hal Linden put on by the McAllen Community Concert Association. As a season ticket holder, she told me that she has only been disappointed in one event put on by the association.
We had a quick supper at the original Luby's where I met Shirley's friends, Peter and Christa Lee. Then we headed out to the McAllen Civic Center. I wasn't really sure what to expect from a performance by Hal Linden. I remembered him as the Captain on Barney Miller back in the late 70's. Who knew?
This was an amazing evening. The Civic Center was packed. The performance started with an opening medley from the seven piece band. They really set the right tone. Then Hal Linden came out. What I didn't realize was that Hal started his career as a classically trained clarinetist playing with big band era dance bands. He was drafted into the Army where he entertained the troops and, when he finished his stint, he realized that his dreams of leading his own Big Band were dwindling as the band era was ending. So he enrolled in voice and drama with New York's American Theatre Wing. He made his Broadway debut in 1957 with Judy Holliday in "Bells are Ringing". He has been in over 20 Broadway and off-broadway shows.
So, while many remember him from Barney Miller and other TV shows, he is an outstanding clarinetist with a fantastic voice. He put on an amazing show covering numerous eras of music. His voice hasn't lost any of it's quality over the years. His energy level during the show was really high. Only after the show was over and I was able to read the final paragraphs of the program did I realize the man is 83 years young. Wow!
Thanks for a great evening Shirley and sharing a fantastic show with me.