I grew up the daughter of a professional musician. My dad played principal oboe in the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, as well as in chamber groups at the college where he taught Music Theory, Piano and Jazz. I attended many symphonic concerts growing up, reluctant as I was to give up The Adams Family, or an evening with friends. I took piano lessons, initially from him, and then from my favorite teacher of any subject, Robert Guralnik, who was passionate about music and teaching, and who taught me so much about listening to the melody line while simultaneously producing accompanying chords, arpeggios, or a counterpoint line. It was a place I could expand as much as I wanted or needed, and my musical vocabulary blossomed with age, time and exposure to more music.
People thought I was going into music since I played violin in the orchestra, sang in the choruses and accompanied one of them on piano. I knew that I was not, as I was clear that I lacked the discipline necessary to put in the hours needed to really excel the way musicians need to who thrive professionally. However, my love of music was ignited and has never stopped, getting me to concerts of many genres in many cities. We required our own two daughters to be literate in music, one choosing flute and the other piano as her instrument to learn. How fortunate we were to have Indian Hill just minutes from our home- a place for lessons, to perform, and to hear others play.
This afternoon we had the great pleasure of listening to the Indian Hill Orchestra deliver a powerhouse of a concert which started with William Grant Still’s Poem for Orchestra. This lush orchestral piece with sometimes deliciously off center harmony gripped from the beginning and flowed over the audience in a giant wave of multicolored beauty. It was followed by John Williams’ masterful suite from the movie Lincoln and then Kristin Renee Young joined the stage to sing Pamina’s Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and then after intermission the tender Previn’s Take My Mother Home, from Honey and Rue. She followed this with a virtuoso performance of four spirituals and the performance ended with Deval Patrick narrating Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. Taken as a whole, this was a most satisfying and filling afternoon. Truly I felt a kinship with everyone in that hall, as we had all taken in the language of hope, of toil, of respect and journey and love of humankind. It felt as though the concert ended in a sunrise, with thoughts of what is to come, and what we deserve and choose to be for one another.
I am grateful to have this professional and dedicated resource right here, literally in our backyard. There is no replacement for the grandness of music produced artfully and passionately by a symphony orchestra. The endless combinations of string, brass, woodwind and percussion, with solos from many of the wind and brass instruments created a palate so broad, yet responsive to the thin band held by Master conductor Bruce Hangen.
The attentiveness of the orchestra itself was matched by that of the audience as we sat spellbound by the intent and intensity of the messages being delivered as to leave us breathless and on our feet.
I will find out how I can listen to this music again, but a recording cannot match the electricity of a live performance where there is interaction between performers and listeners. I am just happy to have been among them.