23. April 2006 · Comments Off on The Review Is In · Categories: imported, Reviews

The Merc already has the review of Don Giovanni at their site. It’s generally positive.

23. April 2006 · Comments Off on Maybe It’s Okay? · Categories: imported, Ramble

Drew McManus, at Adaptistration, has been posting the TAFTO contributions for this year’s Take A Friend To Orchestra Month. I do hope you are reading them! Brian Sacawa’s offer brought a response that I found puzzling, frustrating, interesting and, finally, “meh” (to quote my daughter Kelsey).

Here’s the comment:

This is a very interesting post for me in that it prompts a concern that has been on my mind for a long time. I am closing in on age 50–definitely part of the TV Generation–and even though I enjoy performing classical music as a vocalist and chorus member, I can’t say that I thoroughly enjoy classical symphony concerts as an audience member. Unless I am very familiar with the work being performed, I experience what feels like long periods of detachment until something in the music really grabs me. Often, this means detachment through an entire movement of a symphony!
If it is like this for me, as a somewhat “educated” classical audience, I find it hard to imagine how it might be experienced by the average potential audience member that we’re trying to cultivate. It’s one thing to experience classical music as a background experience while other things are going on, such as at home, in the workplace, or in a bookstore. It’s another thing entirely to face an orchestra and listen attentively for 90 minutes or more. I can’t honestly say that I usually enjoy the classical concert experience as fully as a movie or highly engaging (lots of patter) pops concert.
If it feels like work for me, how can it be that enticing (i.e., generate repeat attendances) for most newbies?

So my first reaction was to sigh. Because I’m good at sighing. And then I thought, “Arrgh! Pops Concerts?! Those are such schlock for the most part.” (I do enjoy them sometimes, by the way; I’m a sucker for some kinds of pops music. Really.) I also wondered why someone would participate in something she doesn’t really care to attend. To me that’s just weird, but maybe there are people in our field who do it and yet don’t like it, just like there are those in other fields who do their job but don’t like it. Then I saw that the person who posted is a visual artist. And then I just sort of wanted to answer back, “Well, who needs visual art anyway?!” But that would only be to get back at someone out of frustration and anger, because I actually do love visual art. When my feelings get hurt I react foolishly. So I shouldn’t really go there, should I?

But now, well, I’m just thinking that she just doesn’t get it and isn’t that okay? Not everyone “gets” classical music. It doesn’t touch everyone the way it touches me. Not everyone is figuratively (and sometimes literally) down on the floor crying because of the wonder and beauty of a piece of music. Not everyone experiences the state of awe that music brings to me. And many around me. That’s okay … isn’t it? What I do … does it have to appeal to the masses? Do we really have to try and grab every soul out there and shove classical music down throats simply to try and get them to love what we love? It’s never gonna happen, anyway. I don’t think it has to happen. I do think we can try to get newbies to listen. We can introduce music just like someone introduced asparagus to me years ago. I didn’t think I liked it, even having never tried it, and I found it a most wonderful taste. And if classical music becomes their thing—their asparagus—wonderful! If not, well, they’ll be missing out on something that I could take a comfort bath in but that’s all right. I’ll survive. (I can, after all, keep taking those comfort baths. Other folks’ not liking what I love doesn’t deprive me of my passion.)

Maybe I’ve been thinking about this recently because I am not finding my experience at church to be musically fulfilling and I used to think I could play there and perhaps people would wake up to all that is wonderful about classical music. But now I’m thinking that isn’t necessarily going to happen. Not everyone at the church will love what I do. In fact for some it might even give them the pain in the stomach (really!) that some of the crud we have to sing and listen to gives to me. (Do any of you get that? That twisty ICKY feeling because you can’t stomach what you are hearing?) And I’m thinking, at this point, that I really just want to “be” and not try to introduce my music to that particular group of people. Sometimes the energy it takes to introduce my “thing” is exhausting, and it is risky (rejection of what I love often first feels like rejection of me, sad but true).

I should think on this some more, certainly. But I guess I’m at the point where I’m thinking casting what I and many of my colleagues see as pearls before the folks who see what I do as swill is simply futile. I wonder.

23. April 2006 · Comments Off on Small Town Symphony · Categories: imported, Ramble

“It doesn’t make sense to have an orchestra in a town of less than 5,000,” said Lora Lynn Snow, an oboist who co-founded the symphony in 1989. “But we do. It is happening.”

Read about the orchestra—and their generous benefactor—here. The eighty-nine year old not only donated money, but also heard the orchestra for the first time just last night.

Generosity like Ann Carson Dater’s makes my heart happy. And hearing about a small town with a symphony orchestra is really wonderful!

(Paragraph omitted. Rich person was idolized. Rich person has turned into real, extremely unkind person. So never mind.)

There is always the part of me that feels “less than” and sometimes simply jealous of those who have more. However I did choose this profession, and I love it. So I need to stifle the “what ifs” and the “life isn’t fair” (duh … I’ve been telling my kids that forever!) and even the “I can’t even have a real vacation” thing and appreciate what has been given to us as an orchestra (well, really orchestras since Symphony Silicon Valley and Opera San Jose are two separate orchestras with some overlapping members) and to me as an individual and stop my pouting. (Yes, I’ve been in pouting mode recently. It happens. I always recover.)

How many people get to sit with a group of musicians and perform masterworks for a (near) living? How many get to sit in the middle of an orchestra and be blanketed in the sound? It’s a blessing. It’s a treat. And I love it!

So hoorah for the patrons of the arts. And thank you. Thank God for those who have enough that they can generously help out arts organizations and other groups in need of financial help. We don’t send appreciation your way nearly enough. So I applaud you all now. (Can you hear me clapping?) 🙂

23. April 2006 · Comments Off on Symphony Parnassus · Categories: Concert Announcements, imported

The people in the Symphony Parnassus have real jobs.

Well, okay, my jobs are real too. I haven’t made them up. Honest! They don’t appear only in my dreams. I even receive (sometimes small) paychecks for what I do.

But the people in the Symphony Parnassus receive (much larger, I suspect) paychecks for their “real” jobs and then they perform on the side. And it sounds like it helps them de-stress.

How funny. What is stressful for me is not stressful for them.

I’m not sure what this means, really. Does it mean I’m stressing unnecessarily? Does it mean they are the stronger sorts. Does it mean they are better players? Or does it mean they are less picky?

I dunno!

But I’ll still keep my stressful (their nonstressful) gig. 🙂

Read about the concert they have today here. They are performing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 along with The Lark Ascending by Vauhan-Williams and Mahler’s first. Great program!

23. April 2006 · Comments Off on Music Quote · Categories: imported, Quotes

If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon.

-Johannes Brahms