grand center | Could your kids tell you anything about the bossa nova? Or have they ever heard, or heard of, a jazzy tune called “Desafinado”? Well, have you, either? Chances are that’s a hard no to both questions. For one thing, neither is likely to be featured on TikTok with a rendition by the latest ‘bedroom band.’ But both have their roots in Brazil, whose musical heritage listeners and musical explorers may find more about in the newest episode of the Classic 107.3 Musical Ancestries series for school kids. This episode explores Brazil’s music, instruments, dance, history and rich cultural traditions. Listeners will travel with Amanda, her Aunt Laura and cousin João as she learns to samba, tries traditional foods, tours historic areas and experiences the emotional music, unique instruments and lively dances of the South American country. Musical Ancestries is designed to create a pathway to understanding as children explore their musical and cultural heritage while developing an appreciation for others’ traditions. In addition to three radio broadcasts, teachers, students and families can delve deeper and engage through online educational resources. A user-friendly Prezi program incorporates visual images, maps, hands-on activities, audio clips and videos. Students can follow along with the broadcasts as they use the online materials or access the Musical Ancestries information anytime online. Visit For what it’s worth, “Desafinado” was originally a response to critics in the 1950s and ’60s who claimed bossa nova was a genre for singers who can’t sing!


u. city
If you snicker because squirrels and rabbits act so squirrely, you must be feeling awfully secure and smug all the way up there at the top of the food chain. Nervous, twitchy squirrels and rabbits overpopulate our U. City neighborhood in the spring, then their numbers gradually dwindle, sometimes from jaywalking, but I suspect their relative scarcity also can be blamed on predators. It can be shocking, of course, but the great circle of life tells us this is as it should be. I witnessed an episode last fall, when I heard a commotion, turned to look and watched a hawk drag an unfortunate bushy-tailed rodent into the sky. Could’ve been a rabbit, but they’re mostly nocturnal … which brings us to the beautiful picture of a great horned owl that accompanies this item. They’re predators, too. We should be grateful—they dine on rats and mice. When walking with our 40-pound mutt, The Dude, around dusk late last summer, we frequently heard the low, spooky, otherworldly hoot of an owl in our neighborhood, along Berick Drive between Gannon and Stanford. The dog’s ears perked up, but we never could spot the vocalist(s). So I gratefully acknowledge the photographs of these magnificent birds that a U. City neighbor forwarded to me. Dozens of people were copied on the email, which indicates how many owl-lovers in particular, and birders in general, would be intrigued. Although squirrels are amusing as they scamper from tree trunk to limb and through the branches, and rabbits may make you smile as they leap away haphazardly until sensing they’ve reached a safe distance, birds of prey remind me exactly why I’d hate to be reincarnated as a rodent.


If you don’t know about Robert Fishbone the muralist, you’ve probably seen at least one of the walls he’s painted with his late wife and daughter throughout St. Louis since the 1970s. We introduced you last summer to one of the latest pieces in his vibrant, engaging oeuvre: The Big Bee. This mural graces a formerly blank brick wall next to a playground in the De Mun neighborhood of Clayton. Well, Fishbone has made a foray into building labyrinths, a deeply spiritual endeavor that’s more about mindfulness as you move from the edge toward the center. It’s peaceful and refreshing. Unlike a maze, which is created to purposely confuse you with multiple paths and dead-ends, a labyrinth has a single path that will always guide you to the center. Fishbone and members of Central Reform Congregation built one on the grounds of the CWE synagogue on Kingshighway. Pictured inside CRC is a canvas labyrinth that he takes with him to provide contemplative guidance to school groups, faith communities, business get-togethers, health and wellness centers … anywhere that could use a little peace and quiet. “My meditation teacher described it as the move from ‘OOO!’ to ‘Ahhhh,’ from excitement and surprise, to letting go and seeking serenity,” says Fishbone. He’s recently built a colorful one with former art teacher Ellen Gomez DeFilippo, guest artist-in-residence, and help from fifth graders at the Forsyth School in Clayton. Visit


notable neighbors
This, the lead of our regular personality profile in T&S’ first issue of the New Year, is brought to you by the letter ‘K’: Kathy Schrenk of Kirkwood. She’s completed two books for active, curious people like herself—a guidebook on hiking/biking the Katy Trail and another on hiking with kids. Now, she’s released a paperback on Kirkwood. She and her family have lived in and explored Kirkwood, notably considered to be the first planned community west of the Mississippi, for the last decade. Kirkwood—A Walk through History demonstrates how wonderful strolling through it is, and walkability was at the top of the list of things Schrenk and her brood were searching for when they moved here from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013. The book is divided into five walks through specific historic neighborhoods and areas of interest, with Schrenk’s lively prose and photos—while many were compliments of historical societies, Schrenk composed and shot many of the contemporary color pictures. Alas, when we met with her at Pioneer Café, it was clear Schrenk wasn’t going to be doing any vigorous walking in a while … her left leg was protected thigh to shin by an elaborate orthopedic brace, and she used a cane. She was recovering from knee surgery and didn’t expect to be guiding any walks through Kirkwood anytime soon. In 2018, she and her oldest son, now a senior at KHS, were hiking in the Sierras when she damaged her meniscus, a cushion of cartilage protecting the knee. Over time it wasn’t getting any better, and she chose to undergo surgery to keep up with her inveterate backpacker family. Her husband, Nathan, is a software engineer whose job had kept the Schrenks in Silicon Valley since the late ’90s, and his move to the StL for a new opportunity meant Schrenk had to shift gears somewhat, from journalist to fulltime mom and part-time author. She’s written for the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Business Journal and San Francisco Examiner, all while hiking, cycling and backpacking. These days, you may find her outdoorsy journalism in Terrain magazine, available at select bicycle shops and locations such as the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood. Upon meeting, we surmised she’d hurt her knee skiing, but active as she is, skiing isn’t in her fitness portfolio. That has something to do with growing up in Chicagoland—Buffalo Grove, specifically. “I don’t need to see snow ever again!” she exclaims. But the mountains are just fine, otherwise. “We enjoy ski areas in the summer.” Around 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny is just fine, as it was here for many days after New Year’s, but Schrenk isn’t too fond of our summers. “It’s not the heat—it’s the humidity” isn’t a frequent complaint on the west coast, as it is here. At any rate, as her enthusiasm for the great outdoors is contagious, you, too, may enjoy meeting the gregarious outdoorswoman on a trail in the metro … Grant’s Trail, with its northern terminus in Kirkwood, is a favorite. Of course, don’t hesitate to ask about bringing the kids. Her comfort zone is broad enough to include most anybody. See for yourself: Visit