As most of you know, Wagner, had he lived, would be 200 today.
As a kid in 8th grade, I had a connection to the master. My father commanded the 1st Recon SQDN of the 2nd Armored Cavalry at Christensen Barracks near the town of Bindlach, Germany. The barracks, actually a complete base with housing, school, and what I think was an old Luftwaffe airstrip, overlooked Bayreuth. From just outside the front gate, one had an excellent view of the city, including the Festspielhaus shimmering like Valhalla in the sunset.
Back in eighth grade, I couldn’t have told Wagner from Verdi (or Elvis), and it was not until a couple of years later that a high-school buddy (who went on to become chair of a university German department) introduced me to the wonders of Wagner’s music.