Vol 57 No. 7 : April 2005
Vol 57 No. 7 | Apr. 2005
Marathon Man Barcellona Still Running Strong
Music's John Barcellona made it possible for a few lucky CSULB music majors to pursue their woodwind studies in March when he ran in the 20th Los Angeles Marathon to raise support for the University Wind Quintet.
The Huntington Beach resident who joined the Music Department in 1974 completed the 26 miles through the streets of Los Angeles in four hours, 45 minutes, three minutes faster than his 2004 time.
“The scholarship is funded solely by the run,” said Barcellona, who earned his M.A. from CSULB in 1976, holds a bachelor's from Connecticut's Hartt School of Music and received a doctorate in musical studies from USC in 1989.“Supporters can either donate by the mile or they can make a flat donation,” he said. “The scholarship offers prestige to the top-performing group. Also, it's a good recruiting tool because it draws strong players from outside the university.”
The biggest challenges this year came in the form of 25,000 other runners. “It took me 11 minutes just to get to the starting line,” said Barcellona, who has run in nearly 40 marathons beginning with the first LA Marathon in 1986. “I couldn't hold my pace for the first 12 miles or so because I had to dodge walkers and slow joggers. Because there are so many other runners in the race, you do a lot of extra running. You can't run straight. You have to bob and weave. It was dangerous, although no emergency, because you don't dare even glance at the side of the road because, all of a sudden, runners stop right in front of you or they start going quickly sideways instead of angling toward the water stop. It's unbelievable.”
This year's good weather put the runners in a good mood. “There's usually a lot of chatter, laughter and energy at the beginning,” he said. “By about mile 15, you hear less chatter, and by mile 20, it's very stoic out there.”
Barcellona's interest in running marathons began in the Vietnam era. “I've been running marathons for so long, my body has gotten used to it. I have virtually no recuperation at all,” he said. "It was much more challenging when I ran in Fairbanks, Alaska, last summer when we were running on gold mining trails. I was a couch potato before basic training. I lost my father to heart disease when he was only 56 and it is a fact that very few runners who have completed something like the Boston Marathon have succumbed to heart disease.”
In April 2003, Barcellona began The Flute Doctor, a monthly article for Flute Talk Magazine, a subsidiary of The Instrumentalist. Barcellona teaches flute, coaches chamber music, and serves as departmental woodwind coordinator. He also is a flutist with the Westwood Wind Quintet (with recordings on Columbia, Crystal, and WIM labels), and has played principal flute with the Pacific Symphony, the Royal Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet. He is an active freelance musician in the greater Los Angeles area and is a design consultant for the Kori and Natsuki flute companies. He also gives regular summer master classes for the Northwest Flute Collegium in Tacoma, Wash., Montana State University in Billings, Mont., and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.
“The Westwood Wind Quintet has embarked on a new recording project to be the first American quintet to record the complete works of Anton Reicha, a German composer and contemporary of Beethoven's,” he said. “He wrote 24 major works and our goal is to record all 24. Crystal released the first CD in January 2005 and the second will be release in June, with a third due in the fall of 2005. We're very excited about the project.”
Barcellona plans on returning to the 21st L.A. Marathon next year. “It went well this year,” he said, “and I'm running more efficiently than ever.”
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