12/29/2008

Olga Diaz - A Musical Tribute

Slide show of my mother, Olga Diaz Parlade de Pancier playing the Danza Allegre by the great Cuban composer Rene Touzet.

12/28/2008

In Memoriam - Olga Diaz Parlade de Pancier


Tribute to Olga Diaz
One of Cuba’s Great Pianists
1936-2008

Yesterday, on December 27, 2008, the music world lost a great pianist and artist, Olga Diaz. Today, I also lost my mom. For over 65 years, my mom, Olga, has played the piano and entertained so many people from all over the world. I’m not a journalist as I am sure there will be better written articles about her in the next few days. I’ll give you the story from a son’s perspective.

She was born in the Province of Oriente, Cuba in a town called Palma Soriano in 1936. At age 5, she started playing the piano and ultimately earned her degree in Music at the Universidad de Oriente. She studied with Dr. Aurelio de la Vega, and Edmundo Lopez, two of the greats that the island has produced.

In 1958, at age 21, my mom entered a contest for the Festival of the Americas. She designed the winning flag and won $ 1,000.00 and a trip to Miami. In April 1958, she was greeted in the local papers as the “Latin Beauty” when she accepted kudos from the then Mayor of Miami, Robert King High.

Shortly thereafter, things started getting dangerous in her hometown, and her parents told her to stay in Miami until things calmed down in Cuba. Her parents returned, my mom stayed. As history would have it, my mom never returned to see her homeland and place of birth again. The communist revolution took hold and my mom ended up doing what she could to get her siblings, her parents, and other family and friends out of Cuba.

She met my dad, her husband and soul-mate Maurice sometime in 1958 and they married shortly thereafter in 1961. My mom played in various venues during the late 1950’s and 1960’s, in the day that Downtown Miami was a happening town with a nightlife. She has a trio at the Everglades Hotel for many years and later played on Miami Beach at various hotels as well. As the beach started to die down, my mom got her next gig at the Doral Country Club where she played for over 25 years. There she met and befriended folks from all over the world. She also played concerts in various countries including the US, Canada, Mexico and Argentina.

My mom became a US Citizen during the Bicentennial in 1976, and while she spent the majority of her life here in the USA, her heart and soul was Cuban. She would say that she thought and dreamed in Cuban. She played music by serious Cuban composers like Rene Touzet, Cervantes, Lecuona, and afro-cuban Jazz melodies and standards from the great popular composers especially those who lived here in exile.

After I graduated high school and started college, my mom decided to go back to school and she obtained her Masters in Piano at the University of Miami School of Music. Even without a great command of English, she wrote a thesis and got her graduate degree in her fifties.

My mom would play you a Lecuona piece, followed by Duerme Negrito, followed by Chopin, Cole Porter, Bernstein, Piazzola and Gershwin. It was a thrill to see her play Rhapsody in Blue with the Miami Symphony Orchestra many years ago.

My mom was a major talent just as many other exiled artists here are and were. Sadly, the media pays more attention to those who chose to play under fidel than those that chose to play in freedom.

Besides being a great artist, she was a wife to my father for over 30 years, a great mother and a loving grandmother to my two children. And to those that knew her and loved her, she was the greatest friend you could ever have.

My mother, Olga Diaz, now joins the list of great artists from Cuba that have passed away in exile. Some of which I knew well like Rene Touzet and Mario Fernandez Porta, and others. When they were alive, they would always attend my mom’s concerts and she would always play tribute by playing their music.

Perhaps it was a wise Rabbi who said that as long as we keep the memory of our loved ones alive, they will always live on. All those who were touched by music, her wit, and her love will always keep her alive. My mom is now with her soulmate, my dad, and is surely playing the piano in Heaven for him and the for the angels that she loved so much.

Services will be held at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn Funeral Home located at 8200 SW 40 Street on Monday, December 29, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. A Mass in her memory will take place at St. Brendan Catholic Church on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her memory to the Dan Marino Foundation, P.O. Box 267640, Weston, FL 33326. (954) 389-4445.
12/25/2008

It's Christmas Time in the City ....

Christmas in Miami - We have Everything But Snow.
12/24/2008

Feliz Noche Buena!

12/21/2008

AC/DC Live - Fort Lauderdale - 12/20/08

Shot last night at the Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale
For Those About To Rock .... We Salute You !!!!!!
12/17/2008

More from Winterfest

Shot handheld on an EOS 5d Mark II at ISO 3200
12/16/2008

Morning Drive - Fort Lauderdale - 12/16/08

On my way into work through the not so nice part of town, a Rainbow was there to greet me. Here it is.
12/13/2008

2008 Winterfest Boat Parade - Fort Lauderdale

Shot with new Canon EOS 5d Mark II - Handheld - ISO 2000
12/05/2008

Xmas Spirits

12/01/2008

Miami's Newest Cool Cat

South American Jaguar part of Miami Metrozoo's New Amazon Exhibit which opens to the public on 12/6/08.
11/30/2008

A Night At the Opera

The Rabbit of Seville

11/27/2008

My Thanksgiving Day Ale

I found this in the liquor store last night. I must drink this with my bird tonight.
11/27/2008

Happy Thanksgiving - 2008

11/25/2008
11/21/2008

Bass Harbor Lighthouse


Infrared shot of the Bass Harbor Light - Mt. Desert Island, Maine
11/19/2008

The Maine Woods

11/17/2008

What's My Mantra

11/16/2008

All is Quiet on Miami Beach

at 6:00 a.m. it is
11/13/2008

National Brotherhood Week

11/05/2008

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

11/04/2008
10/31/2008

Happy Halloween

10/26/2008

It Ain't Over Until We Say It's Over

10/19/2008

Greetings from Mt. Desert Island, Maine

Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Taken with an iPhone.
(c) 2008 by Michael A. Pancier
10/11/2008

March for the Cure - Las Olas Boulevard

Taken moments ago outside my office window.
10/10/2008

High Anxiety

"Key Change!"

10/03/2008

Ancient Spanish Monastery - North Miami Beach

9/29/2008

Ten Thousand Islands

What real Florida looks like at sunrise. Shot on 9/28/08.

9/27/2008

Driving Home On Broward Boulevard

On my way home yesterday evening.
9/23/2008

Sunset on the Turnpike

Florida Turnpike and I-595
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9/22/2008

With God On Our Side

Classic Dylan

9/16/2008

The Next Prez

Last Night at the McCain fundraiser at the Hotel Intercontinental, Miami. I had forgotten my camera so had to make due with my iPhone.

In the Photo: Jim Greer, RPOF, Carol Rome (Gov. Crist's fiancee), Gov. Crist (FL), Cindy McCain, John McCain, former Gov. Bob Martinez and Sen. Mel Martinez.
9/12/2008

The Nevada Desert Calls Me Too

9/11/2008

I Won't Back Down

9/10/2008

I Wanna Go Back To Arizona

Horseshoe Bend - Page, Arizona
9/07/2008

Happy 90th Birthday - Tony Lopez

Yesterday, Tony celebrated his 90th birthday at MDCC West Campus where his work is being featured. Many dignitaries were there, Congressmen, Mayors, Commissioners, Artists, Singers, you name it to celebrate his work. His work will be on display until September 19. More information here.
9/05/2008
9/02/2008

My World Looks Better in Black & White

Black Ibis in Infrared - Crandon Gardens - Key Biscayne, Florida
9/01/2008

Licensed to Chill

Some dude chilling at Crandon Gardens in Key Biscayne, Florida with his Sunday paper.

Shot in infrared.
8/30/2008

I Wish I Was In Arizona

Antelope Canyon - Navajo Nation - Arizona
8/26/2008

Moo from Miami Lakes

8/22/2008

I Like Chinese

8/20/2008

Sunset over Lake Erie

Taken from the Beach at Cedar Point, Ohio
8/18/2008

Welcome Fay

Las Olas Boulevard - Downtown Fort Lauderdale on my drive in to work this morning.
8/15/2008

Marblehead Lighthouse - Ohio

Have a great weekend folks!
8/13/2008

The Corkscrew

Cedar Point - Ohio
8/12/2008

Hail Hail Rock & Roll

I'm back from Ohio. Here's a shot of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Downtown Cleveland.
8/04/2008

Fricken Flowers to Liven Your Monday


8/03/2008

The Bangles Live at Dolphin Stadium

They played on 80's night after the Marlins / Rockies game.
7/31/2008

The Long Run


Death Valley National Park - Death Valley, California
7/29/2008

My New Wheels

7/28/2008

Blowing Rocks - Jupiter Island, Florida

7/25/2008

Summer in Miami

7/23/2008

Time Out of Mind

7/21/2008

Infrared Sunbather