Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A is for Amateur

Amateur is often used in a negative context in English—a rank amateur, an amateurish production. Yet from the etymology, amateurs love what they do. From Latin amator (lover) through French amateur (lover) to English, ultimately from Latin amare (to love), the amateur is not remunerated for what she does, but does it out of love, a devotee.

Although the word professional is often used to signify an expert and amateur a dilettante, a tyro, many amateurs have achieved great heights in their loved avocations. Bobby Jones, for example, was one of the greatest golfers of all time yet never played professionally. At one time Olympic athletes were all amateurs, but their level of expertise is world class.

Speaking of amateurs who are world class, Longmont, Colorado, boasts one of the top amateur symphony orchestras in the country. The Longmont Symphony Orchestra performs throughout the year, including the annual Fireworks Display at Thornton (see my Independence Day post below).

Our friend, Deb, plays viola for the Longmont Symphony Orchestra, for the Razumovsky String Quartet, and for the MahlerFest orchestra. She gives private lessons and teaches music appreciation and theory at the University of Colorado. She shares the richness of music with the community in innumerable ways. It was in her Music Appreciation class in 1999 that I was introduced to opera, and my wife and I have been hooked on opera ever since. I did a post on our annual Central City Opera House summer festival trip last year here.

Orig: 7/8/08

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