Oregon Bach Festival branches into a Bill Bowerman tribute
[caption id="attachment_2978" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Helmuth Rilling speaks of Bill Bowerman before launching into the Easter Oratorio"][/caption]The audience in the Hult Center included Phil and Penny Knight, Olympic athletes, Bill Bowerman's widow, University of Oregon track coach Vin Lanana and other sporting bigwigs.
Not the usual guest list at an Oregon Bach Festival concert. But then, the night was hardly usual.
On Tuesday's rest day at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, the international Bachathon known as the Oregon Bach Festival also paused, paying tribute to Bill Bowerman, the man who put Eugene on the running map and helped found Nike. The event, led by tributes from UO President Dave Frohnmayer, stirring music and a video documentary of Bowerman's life, swelled with community pride.
"Bowerman: Man of Oregon" left a clear picture of the iron-willed coach, from his rambunctious childhood on the windy fields of Fossil, to his rebellious youth -- he was kicked out of Medford High School -- to 24 years coaching track at Oregon, during which he sparked America's running movement and invented Nike's waffle racer after ruining his wife's waffle iron. The tributes, smart and unsentimental, came at Bowerman from different angles.
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