Star of the River Opera

The musicians I knew about were white boys, always in groups, their sculptured hair slicked back in the images of them on textbook covers, folders, and sparkling new lunchboxes. Top 40 radio exhausted their songs; every girl at school could recite the lyrics. As for my family, we didn’t own a radio until my parents bought a car, and then they preferred the hum of the road to the glittering beats of boy-band pop.

Nor was Mr. Chiu, my grandfather, an avid follower of American music. But there was one song he always sang: Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.”

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