A Rosie by any other name…

“What’s in a name?,” ponders Shakespeare’s Juliet as she bemoans her family’s loathing of love-interest Romeo.

Seems the fictional Capulets and Montagues of Shakespeare’s 1600 play “Romeo and Juliet” are determined to keep the two young lovers apart because of a longstanding family feud.

A rose by any other name...

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” reflects Juliet. She’s recounting a truism that modern day politicians (and a certain PR- and petroleum-promulgating corporation) would do well to remember. 

It’s who someone is, what something is, that matters. It’s not what someone, or something, is called.

This little gem came to mind as I was pondering all things Rosie the other day.

A press release from Rosie’s House, a Phoenix music academy offering a rigorous program of after-school lessons to under-served youth

Rosie's House student Claudia plays the piano

ages 5 to 18, sent word that one of their students will soon be performing a recital to benefit his future study at one of the nation’s finest schools of music. 

I was struck by the name Rosie and decided to have some fun digging for famous Rosies past and present. 

"Rosie the Riveter" in flex-mode

First I stumbled on the fictional “Rosie the Riveter,” a symbol of working women during World War II, when women took over factory jobs left behind my men headed off to war. 

The “Rosie the Riveter” character and concept were popularized through a government poster, a 1942 song and a Norman Rockwell painting that graced the Memorial Day cover of a 1943 edition of “The Saturday Evening Post.” 

Then I happened upon Rosie O’Donnell, a contemporary entertainer and activist best known to many for her stand-up comedy and talk show prowess with the likes of Tom Cruise. 

But did you know that O’Donnell is also a big-time Broadway buff who worked with fellow creative types to establish “Rosie’s Broadway Kids” in 2003? 

Rosie O'Donnell with Rosie's Broadway Kids

Rosie’s Broadway Kids “is an arts education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts.” It serves mainly children from low-income families living in Harlem and other parts of NYC—and is the featured “charity of the month” with Kids Can Give Too (which helps kids give to others through their own birthday celebrations). 

If you’re pondering possible baby names for a little girl, “Rosie” is a nice, traditional choice. It was most popular in America around the year 1900, but it’s never made even the “top 100” list in the U.S. It’s more popular in Scotland and the United Kingdom, where it almost broke into the top 50 during 2003. 

But back to our very own “Rosie’s House,” which presents a free recital featuring 17-year-old flutist Chaz Salazar at Central United Methodist Church in Phoenix on Sunday, June 20, at 2:30pm. Salazar has already been awarded $30,000 in college scholarships, but is $10,000 shy of his goal. 

Salazar, who lives in South Phoenix, has been accepted into the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, though why anyone would want to escape our delightful desert at this time of year is beyond me. 

Arizona's own saguaro blossoms

One learns, over time, to smell the saguaros in lieu of roses, I suppose. 

Still, he’ll soon be off to pursue his dreams, which include nailing a gig as principal flutist with the New York Philharmonic. I suspect that those who attend Salazar’s upcoming recital will have plenty of opportunities down the road to say, “I knew him when….” 

In our house, we get stymied just trying to put instruments like flutes, clarinets and saxophones together, let alone play them. So I’m already a fan. 

Lest you think my connecting the dots with all things Rosie simply came out of the blue, I feel compelled to share that Rosie’s House has its root in the “extreme poverty and hunger of war” experienced by its founders—Rosebell and Woody Schurtz—living in Munich during WWII. 

Rosebell’s “passion for playing the violin was interrupted by the horrific circumstances of the war and as a young child she fled from Germany to the United States”–something my own biological mother’s family did when she was just six years old. 

The richness of Rosie’s House resonates with me for many reasons, so I hope you’ll take time out of your busy life next weekend to hear

"Rosie's House" students gather

Salazar perform. 

To learn more about Rosie’s House, visit them online at www.rosieshouse.org. You’ll find information about specific programs, community partnerships with folks like ASU Gammage, admission requirements and more. 

You’ll even find their wish list—which includes everything from office and music supplies to a permanent campus in South or Central Phoenix. 

Maybe you can help… 


Note: Other wish list items include good quality musical instruments, portable electric keyboards (at least 60 keys), special events catering or food/beverage donations, raffle items, bottled water and more.


One response to “A Rosie by any other name…

  1. That would be great. Its so good to hear that their are institutions and organizations that offer services that would develop talents among the young. It would be much better when the youths’ talents are developed while they are still young.

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