Freethought Day

Freethought Day is held annually on October 12, by freethinkers and secularists to commemorate the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials. These were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused, nineteen of whom were found guilty and executed by hanging (fourteen women and five men). One other man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail. It was the deadliest witch hunt in the history of the United States. Twelve other women had previously been executed in Massachusetts and Connecticut during the 17th century. Despite being generally known as the Salem Witch Trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in several towns: Salem Village (now Danvers), Salem Town, Ipswich, and Andover. The most infamous trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town.

The episode is one of Colonial America’s most notorious cases of mass hysteria. It has been used in political rhetoric and popular literature as a vivid cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, and lapses in due process. It was not unique, but a Colonial American example of the much broader phenomenon of witch trials in the early modern period, which took place also in Europe. Many historians consider the lasting effects of the trials to have been highly influential in subsequent United States history. According to historian George Lincoln Burr, “the Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered.”

The seminal event connected to Freethought Day and the ending of the Salem Witch Trials is a letter written by then Massachusetts Governor William Phips in which he wrote to the Privy Council of the British monarchs, William and Mary, on this day in 1692. In this correspondence he outlined the quagmire that the trials had degenerated into, in part by a reliance on “evidence” of a non-objective nature and especially “spectral evidence” in which the accusers claimed to see devils and other phantasms consorting with the accused. Note that, contrary to what has been claimed by some, there was no specific order or edict by Phips to ban “spectral evidence” from all legal proceedings. Rather, this was one concern that brought about Phips’ stopping the proceedings.

When the trials ultimately resumed, “spectral evidence” was allowed but was largely discounted and those convicted were swiftly pardoned by Phips. In the time leading up to the trials being stopped, it was actually clerics including the famous Cotton Mather, often portrayed as the chief villain in the hysteria, who took the lead in advising cautions against the use of “spectral evidence.” The Rev. Increase Mather, Cotton’s father, specifically condemned “spectral evidence” in his book ‘Cases of Conscience’, in which he stated that, “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape, than that one Innocent Person should be Condemned.” It was this shift in sentiment, no doubt aided by the escalating hysteria and the fact that accusations were beginning to reach higher into the Massachusetts Bay Colony hierarchy, that led to Phips’ action.

Freethought Week is often observed during the week in which October 12th falls or Freethought Month during October. Organizers of these events are hoping to show the public that atheists are just like everyone else, that they are involved in the community and family-friendly. Since 2002, Freethought Day has been observed in Sacramento as a free event, open to the public and held outdoors. Dubbed a “festival of reason” the annual event often features live entertainment and speakers similar to a rally, and is funded through a dinner or reception. “(Freethought Day) is really all about the celebration of the separation of church and state. We also celebrate the First Amendment, and science, and reason and progress” according to the event’s organizer, David Diskin.

At the 300th anniversary events in 1992 to commemorate the victims of the trials, a park was dedicated in Salem and a memorial in Danvers. In November 2001, an act passed by the Massachusetts legislature, exonerated 5 people, while another one, passed in 1957, had previously exonerated 6 other victims. As of 2004 there was still talk about exonerating all the victims,though some think that happened in the 19th century as the Massachusetts colonial legislature was asked to reverse the attainders of “George Burroughs and others”. In 2016, the University of Virginia announced its Gallows Hill Project team had determined the execution site in Salem, where the nineteen “witches” had been hanged. The city owns the site and is planning to establish a memorial to the victims. The 2007 event held at Waterfront Park started with a reading of the Phipps letter. Bands, speakers, bounce house and more, “It’s just a chance for us to show people we don’t have horns and tails” Mayer Heather Fargo issued a proclamation for Freethought Day in Sacramento. In 2016, the event was renamed “California Freethought Day” to reflect the growth of the event spanning the last 15 years. Several hundred attended in 2016, with the theme “#SecularPride”.

National Farmers Day

National Farmer’s Day is observed annually in the United States on October 12th as a day for them and to pay tribute to the hard-working farmers throughout American history and to show appreciation Towards them for their contributions to the economy. Records of National Farmer’s Day events exist dating back to the 1800s. However, the exact origins of the day are unclear. It was previously known as Old Farmer’s Day.

Farming is often known as Agriculture. This describes the cultivation of land and breeding of animals and plants to provide food, fiber, medicinal plants and other products to sustain and enhance life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years; people gathered wild grains at least 105,000 years ago and began to plant them around 11,500 years ago before they became domesticated. Pigs, sheep, and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Crops originate from at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has in the past century come to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people worldwide still depend on subsistence agriculture.

Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, and technological developments have sharply increased yields from cultivation, but at the same time have caused widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage through contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, deforestation, antibiotic resistance, and growth hormones in industrially produced meat. Genetically modified organisms are widely used, although they are banned in several countries.

The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials (such as rubber). Classes of foods include cereals (grains), vegetables, fruits, oils, meat, milk, fungi and eggs. Over one-third of the world’s workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased significantly over the past several centuries.

There are some cities and towns across the United States that have their own versions of Farmer’s Day, with celebrations and festivals on various dates throughout the year. Many of them are held in September and October. October was chosen for celebrating this National Day as it is near the end of the harvest. Many farmers will be able to take a rest from their hard labor to join in the celebration of this holiday.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

The first of five books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series by Douglas Adams was published on 12 October 1979. The series follows the misadventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman, Ford Prefect, an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, who named himself after the Ford Prefect car to blend in, who is a researcher for the eponymous guidebook; Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford’s semi-cousin and the Galactic President; the depressed robot Marvin the Paranoid Android; and Trillian, formerly known as Tricia McMillan, a woman Arthur once met at a party in Islington and the only other human survivor of Earth’s destruction.

Following Earths destruction by the Vogons Arthur is rescued by Ford Prefect and they visit the legendary planet Magrathea, home to the now-collapsed planet-building industry, and meet Slartibartfast, a planetary coastline designer who was responsible for the fjords of Norway. Through archival recordings, he relates the story of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who built a computer named Deep Thought to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. When the answer was revealed to be 42, Deep Thought explained that the answer was incomprehensible because the beings didn’t know what they were asking. It went on to predict that another computer, more powerful than itself would be made to calculate the question for the answer. However This computer, was the Earth, and was destroyed by Vogons to make way for a hyperspatial express route, five minutes before the conclusion of its 10-million-year program. Two of a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who commissioned the Earth in the first place, disguised themselves as Trillian’s mice, and want to dissect Arthur’s brain to help reconstruct the question, since he was part of the Earth’s matrix moments before it was destroyed, and so he is likely to have part of the question buried in his brain.

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe , Zaphod gets separated from the others and finds he is part of a conspiracy to uncover who really runs the Universe. He then meets Zarniwoop, editor for The Guide, who knows where to find the secret ruler and is briefly reunited with the others for a trip to Milliways, the titular restaurant. Zaphod and Ford decide to steal a ship from there, however this turns out to be a stunt ship pre-programmed to plunge into a star as a special effect in a stage show and they are unable to change it’s course. Meanwhile Ford and Arthur, end up on a spacecraft full of the outcasts of the Golgafrinchan civilisation, which crashes on prehistoric Earth; leaving Ford and Arthur stranded, and it becomes clear that the inept Golgafrinchans are the ancestors of modern humans, having displaced the Earth’s indigenous hominids.

In the next novel “Life, the Universe and Everything” , Slartibartfast, enlists the aid of Ford, Arthur, Marvin, Zaphod and Trillian to prevent the people of the planet Krikkit from escaping their home planet, on which they have been imprisoned for trying to start a Galactic War and prevent them starting another Galactic War which will wipe out all life in the Universe. In the next novel “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”, Arthur returns home to Earth, where He meets and falls in love with a girl named Fenchurch, and discovers this Earth is a replacement provided by the dolphins in their Save the Humans campaign. Eventually he rejoins Ford, who claims to have saved the Universe in order to hitch-hike one last time and see God’s Final Message to His Creation. Along the way, they are also joined by Marvin, the Paranoid Android, who, although 37 times older than the universe itself (what with time travel and all), has just enough power left in his failing body to read the message and feel better about it all before expiring.

In the next novel “Mostly Harmless”, Vogons take over The Hitchhiker’s Guide (under the name of InfiniDim Enterprises), to finish the task of obliterating the Earth. Arthur loses Fenchurch and travels around the galaxy despondently, before crashing his spaceship on the planet Lamuella, where he settles in happily as the official sandwich-maker for a small village of simple, peaceful people. Meanwhile, Ford Prefect breaks into The Guide’s offices, gets himself an infinite expense account from the computer system, and then meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Mark II, an artificially intelligent, multi-dimensional guide with vast power and a hidden purpose. Trillian leaves her daughter, Random Frequent Flyer Dent with Arthur, but she then steals The Guide Mark II and uses it to get to Earth. Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Tricia McMillan (Trillian in this alternate universe) give chase & follow her to a crowded club, where an anguished Random accidentally kills Agrajag. Soon afterwards, The Guide Mark II removes all possible Earths from probability, which is bad news for all the main characters, apart from Zaphod, who were all on Earth at the time.

The Author Eoin Colfer (Artemis) has also written a sixth instalment entitled “And Another Thing”, which sees the characters awoken from virtual reality as death rays bear down on Earth before being picked up by Zaphod and joined by Bowerick Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged and Thor to deal with the Vogons who are heading to the planet Nano in order to destroy a colony of people who escaped Earth’s destruction.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy been adapted into a humourous radio program, a “trilogy” of five books, a 1981 six part science fiction television series, Featuring many of the actors from the radio series and a 2005, film starring Martin Freeman as Arthur, Mos Def as Ford, Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, with Alan Rickman providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android (and Warwick Davis acting in Marvin’s costume), and Stephen Fry as the voice of the Guide/Narrator. Between 2004 and 2005, BBC Radio also broadcast a series based on the third fourth and fifth novels and DC Comics published a comic book adaptation.

Columbus Day/Discovery Day/ indigenous Peoples day/Native American Day

Columbus Day marks The Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, on 12 October 1492 and is celebrated by many countries in the new World. It is also known as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race”) in many countries in Latin America, as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina, as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain, and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristopher Columbus or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy and in the Little Italys around the world.

Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’s voyage since the colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.

Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866. The first statewide Columbus Day holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905, and it was made a statutory holiday in 1907. In April 1934, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt also proclaimed October 12 a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day. Since 1970 the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October, coincidentally exactly the same day as Thanksgiving in Canada.

It is generally observed nowadays by banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, other federal agencies, most state government offices, many businesses, and most school districts. Some businesses and some stock exchanges remain open, and some states and municipalities abstain from observing the holiday. The holiday also coincides with the anniversary of the United States Navy (founded October 13, 1775), and thus both occasions are observed by the Navy (and usually the Marine Corps as well) with either a 72- or 96-hour liberty period.The date Columbus arrived in the Americas is also celebrated in many countries in Latin America as Día de la Raza (“day of the race” or “day of the [Hispanic] people”), commemorating the first encounters of Europeans and Native Americans. The day was first celebrated in Argentina in 1917, Venezuela and Colombia in 1921, Chile in 1922, and Mexico in 1928.

In 1957 Spain changed the name to the Día de la Hispanidad (“Hispanicity Day”), and in 2002 Venezuela changed to the name to the Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance). Día de la Raza has also come to be seen by many indigenous activists throughout Latin America as a counter to Columbus Day; a celebration of the native races and cultures and of the resistance against the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. In the U.S. Día de la Raza has served as a time of mobilization for pan-ethnic Latino and Hispanic activists and has remained in the largest Hispanic social justice organization, the National Council of La Raza.

Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, and South Dakota are U.S. states that do not recognize Columbus Day at all, though Hawaii and South Dakota mark the day with an alternative holiday or observance. Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day, which commemorates the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii on the same date, the second Monday of October, though the name change has not ended protest related to the observance of Columbus’ discovery. The state government does not treat either Columbus Day or Discoverers’ Day as a legal holiday; state, city and county government offices and schools are open for business. South Dakota celebrates the day as an official state holiday known as “Native American Day” rather than Columbus Day. Oregon does not recognize Columbus Day, neither as a holiday nor a commemoration; schools and public offices remain open. Iowa and Nevada do not celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday; however, the governor is “authorized and requested” by statute to proclaim the day each year.

Several other states have removed Columbus Day as a paid holiday for government workers while still maintaining it either as a day of recognition or a legal holiday for other purposes. These include California and Texas. The city of Berkeley, California, has replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day since 1992, a move which has been followed by several other localities including Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, California; Dane County, Wisconsin; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Seattle, Washington. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day “Native American Day”, or name the day after their own tribe.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also known as Native American Day) is a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States, begun as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California, through the International Indian Treaty Council, and Denver, Colorado, as a protest against Columbus Day, which is listed as a federal holiday in the United States, but is not observed as a state holiday in every state. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the federal observance of Columbus Day.

The idea of replacing Columbus Day with a day celebrating the indigenous people of North America instead first arose in 1977 from the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1992, the 500th anniversary of the first of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, was marked as a day to promote “continental unity” and “liberation.” the jubilee included sailing replicas of Columbus’ ships under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America.

However many attendees from Northern California protested against the “Quincentennial Jubilee” that had been organized by the United States Congress for the San Francisco Bay Area on Columbus Day, 1992, including The Bay Area Indian Alliance, and and Resistance 500″ task force, who advocated the notion that Columbus was responsible for genocide of Indian people. In 1992, the group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12, a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People”, and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People”, and to implement related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the demise of Native American people and culture through disease, warfare, massacre, and forced assimilation. Many other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native Americans, to avoid celebrating actions of Columbus which led to the colonisation of America by Spanish conquistadors,

Two California cities, Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and at least four states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota) with South Dakota officially celebrating Native American Day instead. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day “Native American Day”, or name the day after their own tribe. California considered replacing Columbus Day formally with Native American Day.

Virginia celebrates both Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day, commemorating a battle in the Revolutionary War. The United States Virgin Islands celebrates “Puerto Rico–Virgin Islands Friendship Day.” Hawaii celebrates Discoverer’s Day, commemorating the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii. San Francisco, California, and a number of other American cities have either canceled their observances or renamed them “Italian Heritage Day” in honor of Italian Americans,for whom Columbus, believed by many historians to be a native of Italy, was a source of pride. Columbus, Ohio has not sponsored an official Columbus Day parade since the 1990s, in part over controversy over the legacy of Columbus. Other cities and states have canceled celebrations due to lack of interest in the holiday or budget cuts.

Some Native Americans formally celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. One way this occurs is a sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. In 2014, the city council of Minneapolis, Minnesota, officially recognised Indigenous Peoples’ Day along with Columbus Day. Seattle, Washington also officially recognizing the holiday. In 2014, Red Wing, Minnesota, replaced Columbus Day with Chief Red Wing Day to honor Hupahuduta, the Dakota leader known as “Red Wing” and Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized in place of Columbus Day at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In 2015 Grand Rapids, Minnesota, passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Traverse City, Michigan, passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on February 2. St. Paul, Minnesota, passed a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in place of Columbus Day and Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico have adopted similar resolutions.

Rick Parfitt OBE

The late great Rick Parfitt OBE was born 12 October 1948. He is best known for being a singer and rhythm guitarist in the English rock band Status Quo. Born in Woking, Surrey, Parfitt attended Goldsworth School, Woking and first met band member Francis Rossi in 1965 in Butlin’s Minehead whilst he was playing as Ricky Harrison in a musical trio called ‘The Highlights’. Rossi was playing with the Spectres (forerunner of Status Quo) at the time and Parfitt was sufficiently impressed to approach him with a view to working together. Nothing came of the meeting until 1967 when Parfitt joined Rossi, Alan Lancaster, John Coghlan and Roy Lynes to form the first lineup of the band under the name “Status Quo”. Their music was characterized by their distinctive brand of boogie rock . After a number of lineup changes, the band became The Status Quo in 1967 and Status Quo in 1969. They have had over 60 chart hits in the UK, starting with 1967’s Psychedelic Rock hit Pictures Of Matchstick Men, ”.

Parfitt has been a continuous member of the group, and has penned some of their greatest hits, sometimes in collaboration with the group’s keyboard player Andy Bown, among them “Whatever You Want”, “Again and Again”, and “Rain”. He recorded a solo album in 1985, but it was never released. Among musicians on the record were bassist John Edwards and drummer Jeff Rich, formerly with the Climax Blues Band and Judie Tzuke. He has earned the nickname ‘The WOMORR’ (The Wild Old Man of Rock ‘n’ Roll). Parfitt is known for his trademark white Fender Telecaster – a 1965 model . In 2006, Parfitt released his invention, the “guitar facelift” which has the backing of guitar manufacturer Fender .On 16 June 2007, the presenters of the British children’s television show, Tiswas, reunited for a special one-off show. Parfitt performed with the rest of Status Quo on the show (all of whom were constantly plagued by the show’s trademark practical jokes during their performance), and presenter Chris Tarrant alleged that during a broadcast of the show in the early 1980s, Parfitt was smoking cannabis on live children’s television.On 15 September 2007, Parfitt and Rossi appeared on Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, earning £50,000 for charity.

In December 2009, Parfitt teamed up with Rolf Harris for the single “Christmas in the Sun”. This follows on from the 2008 Status Quo hit “It’s Christmas Time”, which Parfitt wrote with current songwriting partner Wayne Morris. Twenty two of their songs have reached the UK Top Ten and In 1991, Status Quo received a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Status Quo starred in their first feature film Bula Quo! which was released to cinemas in July 2013. The film coincided with the release of the soundtrack album Bula Quo!. The first single from the album, the track Bula Bula Quo was released in June 2013, and is Status Quo’s one hundredth single release.

Rick Parfitt tragically passed away 23 December 2016 at a hospital in Marbella, Spain as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall. Rick is survived by his wife Lyndsay, their twins Tommy and Lily and Rick’s adult children Rick Jnr and Harry.

Luciano Pavarotti

Italian operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was born 12 October 1932. After abandoning the dream of becoming a football goalkeeper, Pavarotti spent seven years in vocal training. Pavarotti’s earliest musical influences were his father’s recordings, most of them featuring the popular tenors of the day – Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa, and Enrico Caruso. Pavarotti’s favourite tenor and idol was Giuseppe Di Stefano. He was also deeply influenced by Mario Lanza, saying, “In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror”. At around the age of nine he began singing with his father in a small local church choir. He graduated from the Scuola Magistrale and After training to be a teacher he subsequently began teaching, but finally allowed his interest in music to win out and began the serious study of music in 1954 at the age of 19 with Arrigo Pola, a respected teacher and professional tenor in Modena who offered to teach him without remuneration.In 1955, he experienced his first singing success when he was a member of the Corale Rossini, a male voice choir from Modena that also included his father, which won first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales. He later said that this was the most important experience of his life, and that it inspired him to become a professional singer.At about this time Pavarotti first met Adua Veroni. They married in 1961.

Pavarotti began his career as a tenor in smaller regional Italian opera houses, making his debut as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia in April 1961.with Joan Sutherland in I puritani (1976). He made his first international appearance in La traviata in Belgrade, Yugoslavia anddebuted at the Vienna State Opera in the same role. In 1963 Pavarotti again played Rodolfo and Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto in vienna and also sang in Dundalk, Ireland for the St Cecilia’s Gramophone Society and made his Royal Opera House debut, as Rodolfo.He got a lucky break when Joan Sutherland (and her conductor husband, Richard Bonynge), were looking for a young tenor taller than herself to take along on her tour to Australia.With his commanding physical presence, Pavarotti proved ideal.The two sang some forty performances over two months, .Pavarotti made his American début with the Greater Miami Opera in February 1965, singing in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Joan Sutherland on the stage of the Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami. Sutherland recommended the young Pavarotti as he was well acquainted with the role.,

Pavarotti made his La Scala debut in the revival of the famousFranco Zeffirelli production of La bohème, with his childhood friend Mirella Freni singing Mimi and Herbert von Karajan conducting. Karajan had requested the singer’s engagement. After an extended Australian tour, he returned to La Scala, where he added Tebaldo from I Capuleti e i Montecchi to his repertoire , with Giacomo Aragall as Romeo. His first appearance as Tonio in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment took place at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It was his performances of this role that would earn him the title of “King of the High Cs”.He scored another major triumph in Rome when he sang in I Lombardi opposite Renata Scotto. Early commercial recordings included a recital of Donizetti (the aria from Don Sebastiano) and Verdi arias, as well as a complete L’elisir d’amore with Sutherland.His major breakthrough in the United States came on 17 February 1972, in a production of La fille du régiment at New York’sMetropolitan Opera, in which he drove the crowd into a frenzy with his nine effortless high Cs in the signature aria. He achieved a record seventeen curtain calls

Pavarotti sang his international recital début at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, 1973, as part of the college’s Fine Arts Program, now known as the Harriman-Jewell Series.He began to give frequent television performances, starting with his performances as Rodolfo (La bohème) in the first Live from the Mettelecast in March 1977, and won many Grammy awards and platinum and gold discs for his performances.In 1976, Pavarotti debuted at the Salzburg Festival, appearing in a solo recital on 31 July, accompanied by pianist Leone Magiera. Pavarotti returned to the festival in 1978 with a recital and as the Italian singer in Der Rosenkavalier in 1983 with Idomeneo, and both in 1985 and 1988 with solo recitals.In 1979, he was profiled in a cover story in the weekly magazine Time. That same year saw Pavarotti’s return to the Vienna State Opera after an absence of fourteen years. With Herbert von Karajan conducting, Pavarotti sang Manrico in Il trovatore. In 1978, he appeared in a solo recital on Live from Lincoln Center.

In the 1980s, he set up The Pavarotti International Voice Competition for young singers, performing with the winners in 1982 in excerpts of La bohème and L’elisir d’amore. The second competition, in 1986, staged excerpts of La bohème and Un ballo in maschera. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his career, he brought the winners to gala performances of La bohème in Modena and Genoa, and then to China where they staged performances of La bohème in Beijing (Peking). To conclude the visit, Pavarotti performed the inaugural concert in the Great Hall of the People before 10,000 people, receiving a standing ovation for nine effortless high Cs. The third competition in 1989 staged performances of L’elisir d’amore and Un ballo in maschera. The winners of the fifth competition accompanied Pavarotti in performances in Philadelphia in 1997.In the mid-1980s, Pavarotti returned to, the Vienna State Opera and La Scala. Vienna playing the role of Rodolfo in La bohème with Carlos Kleiber conducting and again Mirella Freni was Mimi; as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore; he was also cast as Radames in Aida conducted by Lorin Maazel; as Rodolfo in Luisa Miller; and as Gustavo in Un ballo in maschera. In 1996, Pavarotti appeared for the last time at the Staatsoper in Andrea Chénier.In 1985, Pavarotti sang Radames at La Scala opposite Maria Chiara in a Luca Ronconi production conducted by Maazel, recorded on video. His performance of the aria “Celeste Aida” received a two-minute ovation on the opening night. He was reunited with Mirella Freni for the San Francisco Opera production of La bohème in 1988, also recorded on video. In 1992, La Scala saw Pavarotti in a new Zeffirelli production of Don Carlos, conducted by Riccardo Muti.

Pavarotti became even better known throughout the world in 1990 when his rendition of the aria “Nessun Dorma” from Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot was taken as the theme song of BBC’s TV coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. The aria achieved pop status and remained his trademark song. This was followed by the hugely successful Three Tenors concert, held on the eve of the World Cup final at the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome with fellow tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and conductor Zubin Mehta, which became the biggest selling classical record of all time. A highlight of the concert, in which Pavarotti hammed up a famous portion of di Capua’s “O Sole Mio” and was mimicked by Domingo and Carreras to the delight of the audience, became one of the most memorable moments in contemporary operatic history. Throughout the 1990s, Pavarotti appeared in many well-attended outdoor concerts, including his televised concert in London’s Hyde Park, which drew a record attendance of 150,000. In June 1993, more than 500,000 listeners gathered for his free performance on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park, while millions more around the world watched on television. The following September, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, he sang for an estimated crowd of 300,000. Following on from the original 1990 concert, the Three Tenors concerts were held during the Football World Cups: in Los Angeles in 1994, in Paris in 1998, and in Yokohama in 2002.In 1995, Pavarotti’s friends, the singer Lara Saint Paul (as Lara Cariaggi) and her husband showman Pier Quinto Cariaggi, who had produced and organised Pavarotti’s 1990 FIFA World Cup Celebration Concert at the PalaTrussardi in Milan produced and wrote the television documentary The Best is Yet to Come, in which Pavarotti spoke candidly about his life and career. On 12 December 1998, he became the first (and, to date, only) opera singer to perform on Saturday Night Live, singing alongsideVanessa L. Williams. He also sang with U2 in the band’s 1995 song “Miss Sarajevo” and with Mercedes Sosa in a big concert at theBoca Juniors arena La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He has received an enormous number of awards and honours, including Grammy Legend Award. and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2001. He also holds two Guinness World Records: one for receiving the most curtain callsand another for the best-selling classical album (In Concert by The Three Tenors). (The latter record is thus shared by fellow tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.)In late 2003, he released his final compilation—and his first and only “crossover” album, Ti Adoro. Most of the 13 songs were written and produced by Michele Centonze, who had already helped produce the “Pavarotti & Friends” concerts between 1998 and 2000.[20] The tenor described the album as a wedding gift to Nicoletta Mantovani. That same year he was made a Commander of Monaco’s Order of Cultural Merit.[21]Pavarotti began his farewell tour in 2004, at the age of 69, performing one last time in old and new locations, after more than four decades on the stage. On 13 March 2004, Pavarotti gave his last performance in an opera at the New York Metropolitan Opera, for which he received a long standing ovation for his role as the painter Mario Cavaradossi in Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. On 1 December 2004, he announced a 40-city farewell tour. Pavarotti and his manager, Terri Robson, commissioned impresario Harvey Goldsmith to produce the Worldwide Farewell Tour.

His last full-scale performance was at the end of a two-month Australasian tour in Taiwan in December 2005.In March 2005, Pavarotti underwent neck surgery to repair two vertebrae. In early 2006, he underwent further back surgery and contracted an infection while in the hospital in New York, forcing cancellation of concerts in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.On 10 February 2006, Pavarotti sang “Nessun Dorma” at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Turin, Italy, at his final performance. In the last act of the opening ceremony, his performance received the longest and loudest ovation of the night from the international crowd. Leone Magiera, who directed the performance, revealed in his 2008 memoirs, Pavarotti Visto da Vicino, that the performance was prerecorded weeks earlier. “The orchestra pretended to play for the audience, I pretended to conduct and Luciano pretended to sing. The effect was wonderful,” he wrote. Pavarotti’s manager, Terri Robson, said that the tenor had turned the Winter Olympic Committee’s invitation down several times because it would have been impossible to sing late at night in the subzero conditions of Turin in February. The committee eventually persuaded him to take part by prerecording the song.

Pavarotti annually hosted the “Pavarotti and Friends” charity concerts in Modena in Italy, joining with singers including Andrea Bocelli, Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Bono, James Brown, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton,Sheryl Crow, Céline Dion, Anastacia, Elton John, Deep Purple, Meat Loaf, Queen, George Michael, Sting and the Spice Girls, to raise money for several UN causes. Concerts were held for War Child, and victims of war and civil unrest in Bosnia, Guatemala, Kosovo and Iraq. After the war in Bosnia, he financed and established the Pavarotti Music Centre in the southern city of Mostar to offer Bosnia’s artists the opportunity to develop their skills. For these contributions, the city of Sarajevo named him an honorary citizen. He performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of tragedies such as the Spitak earthquake that killed 25,000 people in northern Armenia in December 1988, and sang Gounod’s Ave Maria with legendary French pop music star and ethnic Armenian Charles Aznavour.He was a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales. They raised money for the elimination of land mines worldwide. He was invited to sing at her funeral service, but declined to sing, as he felt he could not sing well “with his grief in his throat”. Nonetheless, he attended the service.

In 1998, he was appointed the United Nations Messenger of Peace, using his fame to raise awareness of UN issues, including theMillennium Development Goals, HIV/AIDS, child rights, urban slums and poverty.In 1999, Pavarotti performed a charity benefit concert in Beirut, to mark Lebanon’s reemergence on the world stage after a brutal 15 year civil war. The largest concert held in Beirut since the end of the war, it was attended by 20,000 people who travelled from countries as distant as Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria.In 2001, Pavarotti received the Nansen Medal from the UN High Commission for Refugees for his efforts raising money on behalf ofrefugees worldwide. Through benefit concerts and volunteer work, he has raised more than any other individual.Other honours he received include the “Freedom of London Award” and The Red Cross “Award for Services to Humanity”, for his work in raising money for that organization, and the 1998 “MusiCares Person of the Year”, given to humanitarian heroes by the National Academy of Recording Arts and SciencesHe was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.

While undertaking an international “farewell tour,” in 2006 Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The tenor had major abdominal surgery and made plans for the resumption and conclusion of his singing commitments. However he eventually succumbed And Pavarotti sadly died 6 September 2007 at the age of 71 following a long, tough battle against pancreatic cancer. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness”. Pavarotti’s funeral was held in Modena Cathedral. Romano Prodi and Kofi Annan attended. The Frecce Tricolori aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Air Force, flew overhead, leaving green-white-red smoke trails. After a funeral procession through the centre of Modena, Pavarotti’s coffin was taken to Montale Rangone, a village part of Castelnuovo Rangone, and was entombed in the Pavarotti family crypt.

Ricky Wilson (B-52’s)

Ricky Wilson, the former guitarist withThe B-52’s tragically died On October 12, 1985 from an AiDs/HIV related illness, at the age of 32. He was born 19 March 1953. The B-52s were formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider(vocals, percussion, keyboards), Kate Pierson (organ, bass, vocals), Cindy Wilson(vocals, bongos, tambourine, guitar), Ricky Wilson (guitars), and Keith Strickland(drums, guitars, synthesizers, various instruments) and cowbell player, poet and vocalist Fred Schneider played an impromptu musical jam session after sharing a tropical Flaming Volcano drink at a local Athens Chinese restaurant. Other ideas they had to name their band were the “Tina-Trons” and “Felini’s Children”. When they first jammed, Strickland played guitar and Wilson played congas. They later played their first concert (with Wilson playing guitar) in 1977 at a Valentine’s Day party for their friends.

The band’s name comes from a particular style of beehive hairdo which resembles the nose cone of the aircraft of the same name. Keith Strickland suggested the name after a dream he had had one night, of a band performing in a hotel lounge. In the dream he heard someone whisper in his ear that the name of the band was “the B-52s.” The band’s quirky take on the new wave sound of their era was a combination of dance and surf music set apart from their contemporaries by the unusual guitar tunings used by Ricky Wilson and thrift-store chic. Their first single, “Rock Lobster”, recorded in 1978, was an underground success, which led to the B-52’s performing at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City in New York City. A rerecorded version of Rock Lobster was released as a single. In the UK and Germany it was backed with Running Around (Instrumental), which appeared on their second album Wild Planet. The buzz created by the record in the UK meant their first show in London at the Electric Ballroom, London, was packed in anticipation, with many UK pop stars such as Sandie Shaw, Green Gartside from Scritti Politti, Joe Jackson, and others in attendance. In Canada, released on the Warner Bros. label, the single went from cult hit to bona fide smash, eventually going on to reach the No. 1 position in the RPM-compiled national chart on May 24, 1980.

In 1979 The B-52’s signed contracts with Warner Bros. Records for North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand; and with Island Records for the UK, Europe, and Asia. Chris Blackwell, founder of Island, produced their debut studio album. Recorded at Blackwell’s Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas, and released on July 6, 1979, The B-52’s contained re-recorded versions of “Rock Lobster” and “52 Girls”, six originals recorded solely for the album, and a remake of the Petula Clark single “Downtown”. According to the band interview on the DVD With the Wild Crowd! Live in Athens, GA, the band was surprised by Blackwell’s recording methods; he wanted to keep the sound as close as possible to their actual live sound so used almost no overdubs or additional effects. The album was a major success for the band, especially in Australia where it reached number three on the charts alongside its three singles “Planet Claire”, “Rock Lobster”, and “Dance This Mess Around”. In the United States, the single “Rock Lobster” reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while the album itself was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The follow-up, Wild Planet, reached number eighteen on the Billboard 200 chart in 1980 and was certified gold. “Private Idaho” became their second Hot 100 entry. On January 26, 1980, The B-52’s performed on Saturday Night Live. They also performed at the Heatwave festival (billed as the “New Wave Woodstock”) in Toronto, Canada in August 1980; and appeared in the Paul Simon film One Trick Pony. Their third release was a remix of tracks from their first two studio albums. Party Mix! took six tracks from the first two LPs and presented them in extended forms. John Lennon cited “Rock Lobster” as an inspiration for his comeback. In 1981 the band collaborated with musician David Byrne to produce a third full-length studio album. Due to alleged conflicts with Byrne over the album’s musical direction recording sessions for the album were aborted, prompting the band to release Mesopotamia (1982) as an extended play (EP), in 1991, Party Mix! and Mesopotamia, the latter of which had been remixed, were combined and released together on a single compact disc. In 1983 the band released their fourth album Whammy!; this album brought the band into synthesizer and drum machine experimentation. The album entered the Billboard 200 chart in 1983, reaching number twenty-nine during the year. “Legal Tender” reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Singles chart alongside “Whammy Kiss” and “Song for a Future Generation”. After initial pressings of Whammy! were released, copyright issues with Yoko Ono led to the song “Don’t Worry” being removed and replaced on future pressings by “Moon 83″, a remixed version of the track “There’s a Moon in the Sky (Called the Moon)” from their debut album.

After taking a one year absence from their musical careers in 1984 The B-52’s regrouped in 1985 to record Bouncing off the Satellites, their fifth studio record, and in January of that year they performed in Brazil, at Rock in Rio; their largest crowd ever. During the recording, guitarist Wilson had been suffering from AIDS/HIV-related health complications. None of the other band members were aware of his illness. In an interview, fellow band member Kate Pierson stated that Wilson had kept his illness secret from his fellow band members because he “did not want anyone to worry about him or fuss about him.” Cindy Wilson was devastated by her brother’s death, and her bandmates too being depressed about Ricky’s passing, the band went into seclusion and did not tour to promote their album nor the group, prompting a hiatus from their musical careers. In 1987 they released a public service announcement in the style of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover on behalf of AMFAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research).

Following Ricky Wilson’s death in 1985 Strickland switched full-time to guitar. The band subsequently added various musicians for their live shows. This included Sara Lee or Tracy Wormworth on (bass),Zachary Alford or Sterling Campbell on (drums, percussion) and Pat Irwin or Paul Gordon (keyboards & guitars).Rooted in new wave and 1960s rock and roll, the group later covered many genresranging from post-punk to pop rock. The “guy vs. gals” vocals of Schneider, Pierson, and Wilson, sometimes used in call and response style (“Strobe Light,” “Private Idaho”, and “Good Stuff”), are a trademark. Presenting themselves as a positive, fun, enthusiastic, slightly oddball and goofy party band, the B-52’s tell tall tales, glorify wild youth and celebrate sexy romance.