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For Marvin Hamlisch, here's that rainy day

Marv Marvin Hamlisch, left, who is coming to town to lead the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday night in a tribute to Jerome Kern, recently gave an interview to the Miami Herald. In it, he carried on pessimistically about how kids these days no longer know their way around the Great American Songbook.

''It's getting scary,'' said Hamlisch. ``You ask a kid today who Cole Porter is and they don't know. That shouldn't be. The variety show went away and we got into the world of iPods. It changed everything and not for the better.''

And: ``I don't mind listening to Britney Spears as long as you give me something else: Frank Sinatra.'' That made me giggle.

"Do they know there is this thing called Ella Fitzgerald?" Hamlisch also says. "I'm not against the new things being heard. We've got a huge palette of colors out there, but you wonder if they know of other songs.''

Hamlisch has been known to make gloomy speeches on stage at Kleinhans Music Hall, pondering the future of orchestras, changing musical tastes, etc. Though I sympathize with his concerns, I wonder if he should consider changing his tune. I have an i-Pod, and I know that like the farmer and the cowman, the i-Pod and the Great American Songbook should be friends. Who says you can't load up Cole Porter onto that i-Pod? Who says that people don't?

Why not accentuate the positive? Headlines like "Composer Marvin Hamlisch is now a bit afraid" -- that was how the Miami Herald began its story -- don't do anyone any good.

Mr. Hamlisch, we're looking forward to that Kern tribute. Don't let the smoke get in your eyes.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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