published Monday, March 28th, 2011

Say hello to a hero, goodbye to Bob


LISA DENTON: Barry, I’m pretty impressed by the visitor coming to Chattanooga on Wednesday for the Hometown Heroes luncheon sponsored by the Chattanooga chapter of the American Red Cross. Aron Ralston is the hiker who cut off his own arm to free himself from a boulder that pinned him inside a desert canyon for 51⁄2 days.

I watched the episode of “Dateline” that told his story, and I had to cover my eyes just to hear the description of his self-inflicted amputation. It wasn’t like they were showing it — he was just telling about it — but I couldn’t bear to watch.

BARRY COURTER: I’ve tried and not come close to the reality of it, I am sure, to imagine being in that situation. The thought process alone is gut-wrenching. The luncheon is at 11:30 at the Chattanooga Convention Center and should be an amazing occasion.

LISA: Also, as much as it pains me to say it, it’s almost time to say goodbye to Bob Bernhardt, at least full-time conductor Bob. He’s staying on with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, but he won’t be picking up the baton quite so often. His last Masterworks concert will be April 7-8 for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. But before we get to the serious music, there will be a fun tribute Saturday in a concert called “Bob’s Favorite Things.”

BARRY: The plans are for him to do some pops concerts and, if the funding can be found, some opera, and he plans to continue living here, so we won’t be totally rid of him. I’m guessing the concert will celebrate and showcase his humor, talent and diverse musical tastes.

I do wonder, though, if they will offer a list of some of his best/worst puns. “There is no plate like chrome for the hollandaise” still gets a groan at my house.

Seriously, the maestro deserves a great deal of credit for what he has done with the symphony over his 19 years here, and I am proud to call him a friend.

LISA: His fun personality has really helped to counter the reputation that a symphony concert must be stuffy. He’s a joy to watch, and I’m glad he’s hanging around.

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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