Q: How long have you been involved with AFCM?
Randy Spalding: I attended my first AFCM concert 47 years ago! I have now served on the board for 20 years, having joined in 1997.
Q: What is your current role?
RS: Over the years, I’ve worn many hats. Currently, my primary responsibility is to oversee the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival. I also sit on AFCM’s Executive Committee.
Q: Tell us about the role music plays in your life.
RS: I grew up in a very musical household. My father was a brilliant musician who played both classical violin and jazz trumpet. The question asked in our house was not “do you want to play a musical instrument,” but “what musical instrument do you want to play.” One of my parents’ many gifts to me was to inspire and bestow a great love of music.
Q: So what instrument did you choose?
RS: My parents tortured me with piano lessons. I now bless them for their perseverance and fortitude. I often accompanied my father when he played violin, and my little brother, a guitarist, would play jazz with him. My brother and I later performed in an ill-fated rock band. Playing piano, now with a piano quartet, Quartetto Tiradito, brings me so much great pleasure and joy.
Q: How did you first become interested in the chamber music form?
RS: I attended my first AFCM concert in 1970 and have been hooked ever since. Chamber music spoke to me in a magical intimate way that still resonates. Beethoven has always been my god, but I also like to hear new and challenging music.
Q: What other kinds of music do you enjoy?
RS: I enjoy most music, but particularly adore classical. I love music from other countries, “World Beat” it’s generically called. My partner Jim plays the banjo, so I’ve developed a great appreciation, albeit a little reluctantly, for Bluegrass.
Q: What do you do when you’re not working on AFCM?
RS: I was a Special Education teacher for 40 years. I am blessed to have had a job I loved and looked forward to going to every day. But quite honestly, I love retirement way more. I have lots of interests and a few volunteer gigs that keep me quite busy.
Q: Say a little bit about your interests outside of chamber music.
RS: I have been privileged to travel all over the world. I particularly love going to places where the people don’t look like me or dress like me. My 91-year old mom lives in my downtown back yard and is already packing for an upcoming trip to Norway. My partner Jim and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. We enjoy so many things – travel, the arts, exploring our National Parks, an occasional fishing trip…
Q: What is the best part of an AFCM concert?
RS: Hearing world-class musicians perform exquisite music in this tiny hall in Tucson, Arizona, sometimes brings tears to my eyes. How could we be so lucky?
Q: What is little-known about AFCM?
RS: I think most folks know this, but it’s well worth repeating. The AFCM board, past and present, are incredible, passionate people who work very hard to make all of this happen. It is a privilege, and often lots of fun, to know and work with them.
Q: What’s most memorable?
RS: Many years ago, AFCM brought the now-famous pianist Lang Lang to Tucson. I had a small reception at my home after the concert, with great Mexican food per his request, and he and I later sat down at my piano and played duets. What a humbling and thrilling experience!