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Recognizing Caitriona Bolster

Posted on by m

Opening Words by Rebekah Lambert for November 2010’s OPUS Recognition

Caitriona Bolster
Music Director, KWAX

Caitriona recently told me “radio is about the voice and the fantasy.”

That must be Caitriona’s allure, why we all love her so much. Her elegant and sophisticated voice draws us both into a fantasy about who she is and into the rich and imaginative world of classical music. My own husband, in fact, as a KWAX listener, fantasized Caitriona as a sexy, stylish redhead, for 15 years prior to meeting her in person.

My own memory is that I met Caitriona before hearing her on the radio, so I have always known the “real” woman. She’s curious, witty, affectionate, open, generous, thoughtful, and possessed of enough eccentricity to make a genuine character. Her recent fixation on subtracting – I’ll get to that later – is a perfect illustration.

Caitriona loved radio as a child in Ireland. She listened to classical music on the BBC. Radio was a magical medium for her.

However, Caitriona fell into radio as a profession by accident. Her plan was to be a musicologist, but she realized a life of research was not right for her. A serendipitous door into radio opened for her in Dallas when she became classical music director at KERA. And when she came to Eugene, the doors of KWAX opened for her as well.

I asked Caitriona what keeps her getting up and going to KWAX each morning after all these years. She told me that she loves to make programs, to establish connections between the music. She also hopes that she is perhaps making a difference in the life of someone who is struggling, someone who is ill or having a bad day. There was a time when her work was just a job. These days, it is a more personal, artistic endeavor. She had never thought of herself as a creative individual. Now she realizes that, in putting programs together, she is making something that wasn’t there before.

A little more about those quirks that make Caitriona the wonderful, unique person that she is … She is a great believer in subtracting and simplifying. She has been shedding material possessions at a fierce rate, much to the consternation of at least two of her friends who enjoy cluttered, busy homes. She asserts that she is bone lazy about exercise and cleaning – but that is not my observation. She also says that she loves to do nothing, of which I see little evidence. And, she would have loved to be a drummer in a rock band!

Caitriona believes that music helps us focus on what is really important at the end of the day, on what it is to be human and on this planet. She hopes for a world where humans and their artistic endeavors thrive.

Caitriona indeed has played a major role in ensuring that classical music flourishes here in our little part of the planet. And for that, we thank her from the bottom of our hearts.