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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Searching for Perseids meteors after an evening of Beethoven at SPAC

No-spill wine glass keeps blanket
and me clean and dry listening to
Fabulous Philadelphians at SPAC.
Last night I combined two of my favorite summer pleasures: listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and watching the stars appear overhead. On the SPAC stage, the star Wednesday was pianist Emanuel Ax, who looked like he was having a ball banging out Beethoven. And I got to test out my new no-spill wine glass (it worked!) and cheerfully striped roll-up picnic blanket (thank you, Betsy DeMars).  
Meanwhile, this was supposed to be the first and best night of the Perseids meteor shower. So I stayed up until almost 1 a.m. with the NASA TV folks describing what I hoped to see. Pretty sure I spotted three shooting stars in the course of an hour. Woke up at 4:30 a.m. and ventured out hopefully, but clouds pretty much blocked out any sky show. Anyone out there have better luck? I’m going to try again tonight. This would be my consolation prize for not seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland earlier this year.
As for SPAC, I was so glad to see a well-packed lawn and inside Wednesday night. SPAC is a fabulous place despite the lack of grass on the center lawn and the ridiculously inadequate men’s room (ask any guy who’s had to wait on line). I was so glad SPAC won No. 1 honors as America’s best outdoor music venue in the recent USA Today contest.
Lawn was comfortably packed with people for the Aug. 12
Beethoven night at SPAC. Glad the 49-year-old venue has
retained its classic, familiar exterior.
I could have saved six bucks off my lawn ticket had I followed a friend’s advice and bought it at Price Chopper with my Advantage card. But $26 is still reasonable for the experience. SPAC membership provides 10 percent off inside seats; the Price Chopper card will get you $5 off an inside seat at the box office. One of the nice perks of membership was two inside seats to the orchestra’s Aug. 6 “French night,” which was another lovely evening. You have one more week to take advantage of wonderful live music by a fantastic orchestra, under the amphitheater roof or under the stars.


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