For many years I have traveled to Frankfurt, Germany in the cold of winter to attend Musicmesse, the largest music convention in the world. It is an international meeting place. As I do at every show, I have made many great friends there over the years and look forward to seeing them again on each visit.
I remember meeting one such friend many years ago: Walter Ratzek, a fantastic pianist and conductor. I met Walter though our mutual friend Karl-Heinz Klemm, proprietor of Klemm Music Technology, which distributes Finale in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
I can recall Walter describing to me his dream of a Finale that included linked parts: He wanted to be able to make an edit in the score and have the same edit occur in the parts, and vice versa. I agreed it sounded like a fantastic time-saver and a great idea.
A few years later in 2006, Walter calls, explains that he and his entire family are touring America, and asks if we could have dinner together when they visit Minneapolis. Of course! We decide to meet at a restaurant at the Mall of America (North America’s largest shopping mall) because the Mall is already on their itinerary.
We were a little late the night we raced off to meet Walter and his family. We parked in a hurry and raced through the mall to get to the appointed restaurant on time, where we were greeted by Walter, his wife, and their kids.
Our two large families were seated at one banquet-sized table, and we had a great, great night. I’ve always delighted in opportunities for my daughters to interact with folks from different cultures, and I’ve come to love Germany so much that it all sort of came together for me that night.
We were intrigued to learn that Walter and his family were not fully prepared for how large America really was once they began to drive around it. They had thought that four weeks would be enough time to do a circle trip from coast to coast and in the end they had to hurry a bit to make it all happen.
For my part I had big news to share: Finale 2007 had just been released and it included Walter’s dream of linked parts. Of course we made a toast and Finale 2007 was duly christened.
When dinner was done we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. As my family walked back to our minivan, I began to search for my keys and was startled to not find them. As I continued to pat down my pockets, my daughters ran ahead and were dismayed to find it was not locked. A quick inspection confirmed that nothing was missing, however. In fact, we found the keys in the ignition. Think that’s embarrassing? It gets worse—the van was still running! I’d left it running, unlocked, during our entire meal!
I suspect no one stole it because they couldn’t believe anyone could be that stupid: It had to be some kind of car theft sting operation, right?
What does this have to do with Finale? Not much really. But for me the whole dinner was a great example of the kind of links that Finale has made possible for me – the linking of score and parts, sure, but also the linking of two cultures in laughter and camaraderie.
I’ll end with one final link. Since this dinner our friend Walter has steadily moved up in the ranks of the German military band – check out an impressive YouTube video of Walter conducting in Moscow by clicking here!
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