Piano Quartet in A minor, Op. 67-III. Andate by Joaquin Turina
Leo O'Malley (Violin), Margaret O'Malley (Viola), Samuel Boundy (Cello) and Kimberly Han (piano) from Midwest Young Artists coached by Rami Solomonow.
Awarded Honorable Mention at the Rembrandt Players 20th Annual Chamber Music Competition on March 1, 2015 at Northwestern University Regenstein Recital Hall - Evanston, IL.
There is a simple set of investing rules that when followed early in life (e.g., in your early 20s) and adhered to over a lifetime will provide the best possible returns at the least possible cost.
That's it. I wish someone would have told me these simple rules when I was 22 years old.
Phyllis Eileen O'Malley's eulogy on July 18, 2014 titled, "My Mom," at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Mound, MN
On behalf of the extended O’Malley family, I want to express our heartfelt thanks to all of you for coming today, as well as, all the prayers for Phyllis.
My Mom, was never one to be short on words. Whether the topic was bridge, politics, religion, education or something I had foolishly done on a Friday night to get in trouble, when my Mom got wound up for a conversation…you better pull up a chair...because you were going to be there for a while.
Found in all those words, was my Mom’s lifelong quest to help. In politics, she believed that public policy could make a positive difference in people’s lives and create a greater good. In education, she felt there was no greater responsibility for a community than enriching the minds of its next generation. In the case of her children, she simply wanted us to be our very best and gave us all nothing, but unconditional love, encouragement and, every now and then, she’d heap on a mountain of guilt to fit our crime.
One thing that never seemed to come up -- was anything about Phyllis Eileen O’Malley herself.
She was amazingly selfless and humble even though she had achieved much in life and carried many crosses along the way.
To share a little bit about my Mom...
She was born in Oyster Bay, New York, which is a town on Long Island’s north shore. Her father fought in World War I and became an accomplished landscape architect. He did the landscape designs for Jones Beach (which is a famous beach on the south shore of Long Island), as well as, President Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill estate. Sadly, my Mom’s family lost most of the business they’d built during the Great Depression and her father died very young. My Mom’s mother relied upon Phyllis to help lead the family under these difficult circumstances. This was a pattern that would be repeated over and over again in my Mom’s life.
Regardless the weight of the cross put upon her, my Mom would pick it up and follow in Jesus footsteps with neither a word of complaint nor a request for affirmation. Her desire to help was ever present, her love was always unconditional and her will to prevail was always unbreakable.
All three of her brothers and her future husband...which she had met at Oyster Bay High School...went off to fight in World War II and Phyllis herself volunteered to stand watch at night on an abandon school building searching the skies for possible enemy aircraft.
After the war, she married my father, Thomas Ronald O’Malley, who became a professor in industrial psychology. They had three children while living in New York...Deirdre, Sean and Keith. My father’s desire to both teach at a college and work in the real world…which in the 1950s was very rare…led them to Minnesota where the University of Minnesota was honored to have my father under any circumstances.
In 1963, I came along to be part of the family. Unfortunately for my brother, of all the days that I could have arrived, I picked the day of his sixth birthday. He wanted a bike for the summer and he ended up getting me for a lifetime.
All was well….until a year later when my father passed away and soon thereafter my brother, Sean, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
My Mom was now a widowed mother of four, 1200 miles from the closest relative, no job, within six short months our house would be hit by a tornado but, even with all that, the most difficult challenge my Mom faced was that she was a diehard Republican living in the state of Minnesota. Even St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, would have cringed at the thought.
But, just as she had done when she was growing up, she picked up her cross, did what she needed to do, never complained and never, ever gave up.
I learned a lot from my Mom as the years passed.
If you spent any time with her, you knew that Phyllis couldn’t carry enough water for the elephant that is the Republican Party. She was a campaign manager, fundraiser, local delegate and strong advocate for educational needs. I was amazed as a child at how connected she became in political circles through all those efforts.
When I was very young, I tagged along with her to a political event that was attended by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. While at the event, Senator Humphrey, the former Vice President of the United States of America, a man that ran for President of the United States of America walked up to my Mom and, said, “Hey Phyllis,” gave her a big hug and then teased her that he had good news. The Democratic Party was willing to forgive her misguided beliefs and accept her with open arms.
From that conversation, two things struck me. First, how in the world does Senator Hubert H. Humphrey know my Mom by her first name but, more importantly, how are we going to get all those Democratic germs off of my Mom before we get home?
Phyllis, obviously, taught her children early in life the "importance of being Republican."
My Mom clearly understood the critical need of a father in son’s life. In my case, that wasn’t an option in a physical sense. She found a way spiritually though by telling endless stories about my father making him bigger than life in my eyes. She also made a point of encouraging other people, which had known my father, to do the same. By the time my Mom was done with me, I thought my father had landed on the moon, cured cancer and pitched a no-hitter all on the same day.
I have no physical recollection of my father, but my Mom loved us both and found a way, in her magic, to connect us spiritually.
My Mom was member of Our Lady of the Lake parish and sang in the choir for over 50 years. My Mom’s faith was always demonstrated in her actions. When my brother, Sean, died unexpectedly, I was witness to the incredible courage in her faith. Just hours after Sean passed, my Mom came here to the chapel at Our Lady of the Lake to pray for his soul. I watched as she dealt with the incredible loss of her son. She came here with no questions in terms of God’s will and only asked for mercy on her son’s soul and a place for him in heaven with his father.
On that day and the months that followed, she showed me the courage in being truly faithful and, in return, the grace God extends to those that truly believe.
Literally, from the moment of Sean’s passing, just as she had done with my father, she became dedicated to keeping the memory of Sean always near to our family.
No matter what life had in store, my Mom’s laugh or a joke were always close at hand. She felt blessed for all God had given her. She never felt a need to complain and she was always quick to offer thanks. She loved us all and she loved us in all that she did. She was, in every way, a beautiful Mom.
I’ve been having this dream over these last few days that my Mom is up in heaven trying to convince the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost that the Republican Party is the one and only true political party. The debate rages for some time. I’m guessing there must be at least one Democrat in the three persons that make up the Holy Trinity, but, just you wait…give my Mom some time.
Meanwhile, over flies Senator Humphrey joking in that high pitched voice of his, “Oh Phyllis, won’t you ever give up? My Mom looks over at Hubert and gives him that big Phyllis O’Malley mischievous smile and says, “I’ll never give up.” And that is my Mom.
Dear God, I pray that You look fondly upon the faith filled life my Mom has lived and the Christian work my Mom has done. She took good care of us and, now, we pray that you will take good care of her. Please have mercy on her soul.
I love you Mom.
My Mom and Dad together for eternity. Please pray for the repose of my Mom and Dad's souls. God bless.
By Christopher O'Malley
I was excited to hear that Steven Spielberg has a new movie coming out titled, "Lincoln." President Lincoln has always been one of my greatest heroes. This reminded me that on more than a few occasions over the years, I've been asked to list my heroes. I've always believed that heroes are an important part of building one's character and an invaluable way to learn through their courageous efforts in the midst of incredibly difficult situations.
My heroes are Jesus Christ, my Mom, President Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, President Ronald Reagan and Ed Wood. Some choices may seem more obvious than others (e.g., Ed Wood??).
Here are some of the reasons why this group has been so important and influential to me in my life:.
From the genius that is Ed Wood:
Edward D. Wood, Jr.: "Cut! Print! That was PERFECT!"
Ed Reynolds: "PERFECT? Mr. Wood, do you know anything about the art of film production?"
Edward D. Wood, Jr.: "Well, I like to think so."
Who are your heroes?
Concerto No. I in G Minor, Op 26 by Composer M. Bruch
I. Vorspiel Allegro moderato
The Oistrach Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mina Zikri.
I can think of no better way to commemorate Thanksgiving than through the divine words of our greatest countryman that hold the essence of our one great nation under God.
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
- Abraham Lincoln November 19, 1863
Wishing everyone a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Dvorak Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81
Jonathan Yang (11), piano, a young scholar from Lang Lang International Music Foundation, performed with Leo O'Malley (15), violin, Elyce Milligan (16), violin, Sofiya Kyrylyuk (15), viola, and Anastasia Dalianis (15), cello, from Midwest Young Artists after a 5-day Summer Music Summit in Chicago, Illinois, which included piano concerto and chamber music recitals
By Christopher O'Malley
This is a busy time of year for both Leo and Margaret. The recitals, concerts and competitions are in full swing. Adding to the excitement, both Leo and Margaret play violin and piano. On one Sunday, these two amazing kids performed in four different concerts in two different cities 30 miles apart and Leo, our renaissance man, played three different instruments (i.e., violin, piano and viola).
I've taken a few excerpts from these events that I hope you take the time to enjoy. The first is Leo playing George Gershwin's, "Rhapsody in Blue," in its entirety without reading the music. The song is nearly 17 minutes and he knocked it out of the park. His greatest fan (his five year old sister Cecilia) rushes that stage at the end with flowers for her hero.
The second video is of our most beautiful Miss Margaret Mary holding the honor of being the Concert Mistress for the Chicago Youth Symphony's Preparatory Orchestra. You will see her come on stage and address the orchestra before the conductor. Her potential is boundless.
The third video is of Leo with the Chicago Youth Symphony's Concert Orchestra that performed in Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall. Very cool.
Sorry for the unabashed pride shown for these kids, but I can't myself. I love them both more than the moon, the sun and the stars.
Hope you enjoy!
4/28/2013 - Leo Thomas O'Malley playing George Gershwin's, "Rhapsody in Blue," at Wheaton College
5/12/2013 - Margaret Mary O'Malley, Concert Mistress, Of The Chicago Youth Symphony's Prep Orchestra at Northwestern University
5/19/2013 - Leo Thomas O'Malley Playing With The Chicago Youth Symphony's, Concert Symphony at Chicago's Symphony Hall
By Christopher O'Malley
Watching my children growing up has assaulted my senses on just how much “growing up” has changed in my lifetime. I’m amazed at the proficiency level children are achieving in athletics, academia, music and dance. Even more amazing is the large numbers actively competing at such an incredible level. I recently attended a piano concerto competition of fifteen students. The margin from best to worst was nearly imperceptible to anyone other than the most trained professional and, from my perspective, they were all good enough to be professionals in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
When I was growing up, there were always a very few exceptional children in any given activity, but always with an obvious difference from one to the next. Today, our Internet connected world has opened a vast array of educational and coaching resources available to everyone with the financial means and desire. This has resulted in a broader base of highly skilled children that are well versed in what it takes to be among the elite in their chosen area of focus and are dedicated to the practice required to excel.
At first thought, this would appear to be healthy progress. Strongly skilled children make for strongly skilled adults. Once an individual has achieved a certain level of mastery, the Internet connected job market becomes a highly efficient means for matching their skills with opportunities. One can envision a world of meritocracy where each young adult will fairly gain the opportunities in life they have earned.
Forget the theoretical and get with the reality. As a parent, this is scary. Anyone reading about the financial markets knows that there is a real and present danger that the US will not be able to produce enough jobs to employ those entering the workforce. The hard truth is slow economic growth means fewer new jobs. In a scenario of too few jobs for too many graduating students within an increasingly meritocracy based system, parents will not be able to find a “quick fix” or depend on the “luck” that can come from an expanding economy.
I have often heard stories of college graduates unable to find opportunities related to degrees. More recently, these stories are about 27 and 28 year olds that are still finding themselves in an endless state of waiting. I can’t imagine the frustration and concern a college graduate holds when approaching 30 without having started a clear path to a successful lifetime career. I’m worried that we will start seeing a dramatic rise of 29+ year olds entering the military not by a noble choice to serve, but by the basic need to survive.
This harsh reality demands that parents become far more engaged in helping their children in making thoughtful choices at a very young age. Parents must be fully invested in day-to-day lessons with a loving passion and long-term dedication to their children’s future. They must ensure that their children are receiving the appropriate education and building disciplined practice/study habits that foster continuous improvement. I’ve witnessed parents living by such beliefs and they’ve begun this quest with their children at 4 years of age and lovingly sustained the effort through early adulthood.
Being a good parent is one of the most important responsibilities in life. That responsibility has always been true, but certainly what makes for a good parent has change significantly over the years. Given the complexity of our lives already, what is an average parent to do? How are we going to ensure that our children achieve a competitive advantage that provides for a promising future?
When 4, you are in the game. When 22, the die has been cast.
I would love any and all comments, "tweets" and "likes" as you feel appropriate. Your feedback in greatly appreciated.
By Christopher O'Malley
I recently attended a violin workshop with my children and one of the master class teachers made reference to a quote by Ira Glass that follows.
Young or old...new endeavor or working to improve ones existing skill...this is a good lesson that practice, patience and dogged determination are the required chemistry for mastering creative work.
In violin circles, as in life, there are countless good musicians, but what makes a virtuoso is the incredible discipline for conquering ever greater heights of mastery. You can see this quality in 12 year old children (with the loving support of their parents) and 50 year old concert masters. These select few, in all fields of endeavor, help inspire us all to fulfill our own promise.