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Archive for the ‘Professional Concerts’ Category

Concerts which require paid admission tickets to hear professional musicians perform.

“An Evening with Chris Botti”

Posted by glennled on March 14, 2022

He came here so I had to go–Chris Botti, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle, 11 January 2022, 7:30 p.m. At the entry, they checked my Covid vaccination and booster credentials, and I found my Table 160 (partially obstructed view), $106.50. Halfway into the show, they let me move to an empty table with a perfect view. Bought my favorite cocktail, a “Stinger on the Rocks,” and sipped it all night.

Great show! What Botti can do with his horn is amazing–the variety of sounds, the accuracy of intonation and articulation in all ranges, the styles of music! I never saw him change horns or mouthpieces. And I was impressed with how he sometimes stepped aside into the shadows and featured every member of his troupe, including his five guest performers. I did not recognize most pieces, but I did know “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “When I Fall in Love,” “You Don’t Know Lovin’,” “Blue in Green” (Miles Davis), “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Time to Say Goodbye,” and Puccini’s aria, “Nessun Dorma” from his opera, Turandot.

Botti’s quintet consists of trumpet, piano/keyboard, bass, guitar, and drums. His five guest performers were Lucia Micarelli, violinist; Sy Smith, female vocalist; Chad LB (Lefkowitz-Brown), tenor saxophonist; Jonathan Johnson, tenor vocalist; and Veronica Swift, female vocalist.

What a great treat it is to hear great performers! Do it.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Wow! Arturo Sandoval at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle

Posted by glennled on August 16, 2021

Trumpet superstar Arturo Sandoval came to town, so my wife and I went to hear him play at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle on 22 July. He was there Thursday through Sunday nights, playing one set on the first night and two on the others. We had dinner and enjoyed the show. I confess—I’ve seen his exercise books in the music stores and heard more about him than actually heard him play, and I was very curious to listen and learn.

The music was highly energetic most of the time, but occasionally, things would slow down, like when he would insert his mute but most notably when he left the stage and wandered through the audience singing, “When I Fall in Love,” made most famous by Nat King Cole.

I had not realized how versatile, multi-talented, and widely accomplished Arturo is. I had thought of him mostly as a screamingly-high trumpeter, amazing improvisor, and fast-riff performer. But that evening, I heard him sing, saw him move, listened to him play drums, piano, and synthesizer. And his band—five guys just like him! The man on the bongos was my favorite. The sax player and guitarist are great technicians, but I’m mostly a brass and piano fan.

Arturo talked about coming to the USA from his native Cuba in his 40s, learning to speak English, and about now finally emerging from Covid isolation back into live performances at his age (72)—how good it feels and how much it means to him to be back in front of people, making music, with his band. And his avid fans adore him. It was great to be there!

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Dancers Swing at Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park to Big Band Music by Moonlight Swing Orchestra

Posted by glennled on February 15, 2020

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Swing dancing to the Moonlight Swing Orchestra

 

At Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park, Seattle, there is a community treasure. It’s a public entertainment venue where musicians play and people eat, listen, talk, and dance. It was there on a Saturday night, 25 January, that my wife and I went to dinner and heard the Big Band sound of the mighty Moonlight Swing Orchestra (MSO).

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The Moonlight Swing Orchesta

This non-union orchestra has been playing for more than 15 years in the Greater Seattle and North Sound areas and has developed a public following of fans. At this performance, people came to dance, and they appeared to be quite accomplished—some might even be dance instructors, they were so good and having such fun. The dance floor could accommodate about 30-40 couples at once, and the space was filled for almost every song. Here are a few of the 28 songs they played in two sets: “In the Mood,” “Mas Que Nada,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “New York, New York,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and “That’s All.” Please see http://thirdplacecommons.org/calendar. IMG_6293 (2)

Naturally, I paid close attention to the brass players. In fact, I’ve played alongside of one of them myself on other occasions. The regular trumpeters are Rick Newell (lead), Jeff Davis (2nd and shares lead), Dan Hall, and Debbie Dawson. Two others play when needed: Jim Bradbury and Doug Hodges. The vocalist was Robin Hilt.

Mark Kunz, MSO’s leader and an alto sax player, says the orchestra practices most Wednesdays for about two hours in Monroe and performs about once a month. They are now contracted for 10 gigs this year, so far. “The Third Place Commons performance was the best attended we’ve had at that location,” he said. They’ll be back at Third Place Commons on 25 July. Please see http://thirdplacecommons.org/contact/.IMG_6236

MSO regularly plays at Crossroads Mall in Bellevue, Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Monroe Community Senior Center, and Concerts in the Park in Langley on Whidbey Island. Other current, public bookings are in Everett and Tulalip. They are available for private bookings, too, including weddings and other events such as their annual performance on New Year’s Eve at Emerald Heights Retirement Community in Redmond. Please see http://moonlightswingorchestra.org.

Mr. Kunz says the musicians are an eclectic group—many with professional experience and others who are talented amateurs. Collectively, they have more than 200 years experience. The orchestra is paid nominally per performance, and the musicians’ individual shares basically cover expenses. They just love playing the music of Dorsey, Ellington, Miller, Shaw, and others for their fans. They have one CD currently available and another in process.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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“Bubblelator” Christmas Show at Alderwood Community Church in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 29, 2019

 

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This year, Alderwood Community Church (ACC) presented its 32nd Christmas musical—-“Christmas in the Bubbleator.” The Bubbleator was a spherical elevator in a building at the Century 21 World’s Fair in Seattle in 1962. (I graduated from the University of Washington that summer, and I rode in the Bubbleator with my parents from Texas.) Five performances produced a total attendance of about 2,800 during 6, 7, 8 December. For the second time, the church had commissioned Matthew Wilson to write a play. The first one was his “New Life of the Land” which also debuted at ACC  (use the Archives column on the left to see my post of 13 December 2017). This one is the sequel to that. _M3A0425

The play takes place in the span of only about two hours on Christmas Eve of 1961, about three months prior to the opening of the World’s Fair. The main character is a high school girl from Alderwood Manor (which was by then part of the new city, Lynnwood). She has applied for a job as a Bubblelator operator, posing as “Jacqueline Clarington,” the daughter of a wealthy San Francisco family. She dreams of living that Big City lifestyle in the future, and this job is to be a first step in that direction (use the Archives column on the left to see my post of 13 December 2017). Christmas in the Bubbleator, 2019_Moment(15)

In fact, she is actually Barbara Beck, the granddaughter of John and Margaret Beck, chicken farmers from Alderwood Manor. When she had applied earlier using her real name and address, Barbara received a rejection letter. But as Jacqueline Clarington from San Francisco, she is virtually already hired after she had an exaggerated, demonstrative interview with the Fair Director. Her grandparents spoiled her imaginative but devious plan. She is stricken by their honesty, goodwill, and love of her, and her conscience compels her to expose her fraud in a late confession to the Fair Director. “Everything I’ve told you is a lie. I wanted to be part of something great, but tonight, I realize that I already am. Oh…Merry Christmas!” The three of them leave the fairgrounds and return to reality—family and church back in Alderwood Manor. To see a high quality video of this entire Christmas show, produced by Monique Anderson for ACC, please see https://vimeo.com/380922775/85e704f214.

The 22-member orchestra, 55-member choir and The Evergreens combo (vocalist, saxophone and vocalist, lead guitar, and bass guitar) performed numerous pieces of music before, during and after the show. The brass section was comprised of three trumpets, three trombones, and one French horn.

Photos are courtesy of Alderwood Community Church. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

 

ACC Orchestra

 

ACC Choir

 

Cast

 

The Evergreens

 

Scenes From Play

 

Other Scenes

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More Bands with Brilliant Brass at 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland

Posted by glennled on August 27, 2019

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Opening Fanfare, 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

 

The theme of this year’s Royal Ediniburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland was “Kaleidoscope 2019—A Celebration of Glorious Symmetry.” This iconic tattoo is in its 69th season. More than 14 million people have attended the tattoo, and attendance has been a sell-out for 20 consecutive years. It’s spectacular. This year’s show was performed nightly from 2-24 August (~three weeks) on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, and my wife and I attended for the fourth time. We went on opening night. The planning, skill, fitness, discipline, obedience, alertness, teamwork, intelligence, and willpower on display in this show are indicative of what makes an effective, victorious military. And the music is terrific!

The current show features more bands with brass instruments than the other three that we have attended, so it’s one of my favorites. I shot about 400 photos, with close attention on trumpet players. Wouldn’t it be a thrill to perform in this world-famous tattoo, “the Granddaddy of Them All?” Here are a few photos.

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Pipe bands cross the Edinburgh Castle drawbridge onto the esplanade

Performers came from Scotland, England, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, France, China, Nepal, Tasmania, Nigeria, Trinidad, and Tabago. I love the pipes and drums, but I also love conventional wind bands comprised of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. This year, there were more than the usual number of the latter (in order of appearance):

  • Guards Brigade Band, Silent Drill Platoon and Nigerian Cultural Ensemble
  • Heeresmusikkorps Kassel (Army Band Kassel, Germany)
  • Music De L’Artillerie (Artillery Band of the French Army)
  • Beijing Marching Wind Band and Cultural Display (China)
  • New Zealand Army Band
  • Band of the Scots Guards
  • Band of the Irish Guards
  • Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • Tattoo Stage Band

For me, the abundance of these bands made this year’s tattoo one of the top two which I’ve attended. And I’m always thrilled with anticipation when the herald trumpets sound the fanfare to open the show. This year two trumpet ensembles played “Pure Light” and “The Prism.”

The kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by the Scotsman, Sir David Brewster. The instrument displays infinite combinations of patterns and colors. One hundred and twelve years earlier, in 1704, Sir Isaac Newton named seven hues of color in the visible spectrum of light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV). Various mixtures of these hues form all colors, including white. Each group in the show was assigned one of Newton’s hues to use in its performance, thus creating a kaleidoscopic effect, representing the “fabulous and constantly changing human mosaic.”

More than 800 musicians created a human kaleidoscope image when they assembled together as the massed military bands and massed pipes and drums . Watching the many intricate, technically precise formations, maneuvers, and movements of the marchers and dancers, dressed in multi-colored uniforms and clothes, was like watching the ever-changing images inside a kaleidoscope.

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Side-stepping by The French Artillery Band Lyon

If you can’t get to Edinburgh for the next tattoo, perhaps you could attend one of these:

Anne, Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, is Patron of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. She writes in the tattoo program, “…the glorious symmetries of marching men and women, their disciplined approach—whatever the weather!—the music, the lighting, the projections [onto the castle wall], fireworks, special effects, the storyline and the appreciation of the audience are the very essence of ‘Tattoo.'”

The tattoo is a not-for-profit charity and has raised more than 11 million pounds for many good armed services beneficiaries and arts organizations over the years.

For my accounts of two of the past three tattoos we have attended, please see my blog posts of 6 September 2018 and 18 September 2014, using the Archives in the left column. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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Joint Concert—Two Orchestras and Two Choirs at Alderwood Community Church in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on May 8, 2019

On the evening of 31 March, two outstanding church orchestras and choirs (O&C) presented a joint concert to a packed-house audience at Alderwood Community Church (ACC) in Lynnwood. The host O&C was from ACC, and the visiting O&C was Mosaic Arts Northwest, based at North Sound Church in Edmonds. It was billed as “Voices of Praise, An Evening of Inspirational Music.” And that it was!

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ACC Orchestra and Choir, 2017

Of special pride to me, of course, was the privilege of playing in the ACC trumpet section, led by Rob Rankin, our superb principal. The ACC C&O performed first, followed by Mosaic, followed by the combined C&Os. The combined orchestra gave us six trumpets, five trombones, two French horns, and one tuba. It was grand.

For the past 9 years, I have played 3rd trumpet in the ACC Orchestra, under the direction of Linda Collins, outstanding Director of Worship Arts Ministry (please see http://www.alderwoodchurchfamily.org/). I have posted numerous blog articles about my experiences, so for this article, let me focus on Mosaic.

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Mosaic Arts Northwest Orchestra and Choir, 2014

Mosaic Arts Northwest (MANW) is a non-profit organization (please see https://mosaicartsnw.wordpress.com/). The 80-member Mosaic C&O is directed by Allan Skoog, who has been an outstanding music director for 45 years. At the time of this joint concert, he was battling cancer. Mosaic originated in 2006, and performs several concerts each season in various locations. Their repertoire includes gospel, classical, a cappella, Americana, and patriotic music. Their music comes alive with energy and sound, appealing to musical audiences of all ages.

According to their website, “Our requirements for membership are simple: work with us. Come to the rehearsals, learn the music, travel to the concerts, become a part of us. There are no auditions.” Mosaic C&O rehearses weekly at Westgate Chapel in Edmonds. “With the goal of creating the best blended sound possible, the members of Mosaic, as much as possible, stand in quartets (SATB) during rehearsals and concerts, rather than typical choral sections.”

Together with the audience at the joint concert at ACC, the sentiment in both choirs and orchestras was—“Let’s do this again!”

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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Photo Gallery of Trumpeters and Buglers at 2018 Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted by glennled on September 6, 2018

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On opening night, 3 August, my wife and I attended the 2018 Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K. It’s a great show, and this is the third year we have attended (2014, 2017, 2018). This year, I shot more than 300 photos. By far the most prevalent musical instrument was the bagpipes, but there were lots of trumpeters and buglers, also, in the many bands. I got a few photos of some of them, and here are the better ones. Wouldn’t it be a thrill to play your trumpet or bugle at the Tattoo?!

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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“Holiday Inn” at Fifth Avenue Theatre, Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2017

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“Holiday Inn,” a favorite American musical that is based upon a 1942 movie of the same name, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, ends its run at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle tomorrow. It’s been playing there since 24 November. My Seattle family members and I went to see the performance on 16 December, and loved it, as we knew we would.

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5th Avenue Theatre interior

To me, the most memorable of its 20 songs, written by Irving Berlin, are “White Christmas” (1942), “Easter Parade” (1933), “Cheek to Cheek” (1935), “Blue Skies” (1926), “You’re Easy to Dance With” (1941), and “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” (1942).

In the orchestra pit, Caryl Fantel was the conductor, and the trumpeters were Brad Allison and Paul Baron—the same two who played the musical, “Room With a View,” about which I posted a blog article on 6 June 2014 (see “Archives” in left column). They’re true pros.

For a spectacular virtual tour of the 5th Avenue Theatre, please see http://www.gotyoulooking.com/1fifthavenuetheatre/mht.html.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

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“New Life of the Land”—2017 Christmas Musical Drama at Alderwood Community Church in Lynnwood

Posted by glennled on December 13, 2017

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ACC cast, “New Life of the Land,” Dec. 2017

 

On 1-3 December 2017, Alderwood Community Church (ACC) presented its 29th Christmas program in five public performances, drawing a total audience of more than 3,000. This year marked the 100th year since the Puget Mill Company developed the planned community called Alderwood Manor in 1917. As residents settled there, they wanted a church. In 1920, Alderwood Manor Community Church was born.

To celebrate this 100th anniversary year, ACC commissioned Matthew Wilson to write the play, “New Life of the Land.” Mr. Wilson attended ACC while growing up. It was presented as a musical drama, not a typical musical. None of the main characters sings play-87or dances. In one comedic relief scene, a barbershop quartet is featured as they rehearse “Deck the Halls.” Instead, the orchestra and choir, under the direction of Linda Collins, perform music to open and close the drama; intersperse different scenes with songs; and provide soft, instrumental music (underscore) while the actors continue with the play. The stage sets employ mixed media: some outdoor scenes are presented by videos on three huge screens above the stage floor. The entire drama takes play-95place during slightly more than one hour on Christmas Eve in 1917. A young couple who intend to marry obtains a 5-acre plot of land through the dramatic, providential trade of their train ticket with a stranger at the Alderwood Manor trolley station. They plan to raise chickens to support themselves and their (eventual) children.

The theme of the play is hope. Each of the four main characters have different hopes for themselves and each other. The hopes of Margaret (played by Hannah Blomberg) and Jebediah (Charley Delaney) come true. Eliza (Deborah Turcotte) is forced to abandon her hope for her granddaughter, Margaret. Finally, John (Mike Tate) undergoes a renewal: in the beginning, he has lost hope and is melancholy, having been crippled by polio. He wants to marry Margaret but has no job. In the end, he enthusiastically adopts her hope of staying in Alderwood Manor, establishing a chicken farm, and raising a family there. When they do acquire the land, he proposes marriage, and she accepts. They will enroll in the “New Life of the Land” program created by Puget Mill Company to help settlers learn to raise chickens and certain vegetable crops for sale and family food.

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L to R: Rob Rankin (lead), Corban Epp, (2nd), Glenn Ledbetter (3rd), ACC Orchestra trumpeters

I have now played trumpet in four Christmas programs at ACC. Please see my blog posts of 23 April 2015, 15 December 2015, and 10 December 2016.

More ACC, Alderwood Manor, and Lynnwood History and Future Plans

The musical drama aroused my curiosity. I’ve lived in Edmonds for 14 years and don’t know much about Lynnwood history. What happened after 1917? How did we get to where we are now? Here’s some of what I’ve learned as a result of this Christmas program.

Before 1910, only a few hearty pioneers lived in the area. It took about two days to travel some 13 miles to Seattle. Then, in 1910, the electric trolley line which connected Seattle to

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Linda Collins, ACC Orchestra and Choir Conductor

the Esperance stop near Hall’s Lake was extended to Everett. That cut the travel time from the Forest Park stop (later re-named the Alderwood Manor stop) to about one hour.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the Puget Mill Company owned thousands of acres of forest land north of Seattle. Once the land was logged, taxes remained the same as if it still was timbered. To reduce its tax burden, the company decided to sell off some 7,000 acres then covered with blackened stumps and snags. In 1917, it offered land for sale in 5- and 10-acre parcels, known as “stump farms,” within a planned community that it named “Alderwood Manor.” [Incidentally, 1917 is the year of my mother’s birth, may she rest in peace; it’s also the year that the Ballard Locks officially opened for boat traffic and America entered World War I.] play-127

The Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway ran through Alderwood Manor. Just east of the electric trolley tracks, Puget Mill Company built a 30-acre Demonstration Farm to promote land sales. Here, land purchasers could learn to raise chickens, farm fish, and grow fruits and vegetables both for sale and family food. “New Life of the Land” was the name of this project. On the Demonstration Farm was a superintendent’s cottage, hotel, community hall. water tower, chicken houses, and an incubator house. The preferred chicken species was the single comb white leghorn. By 1921, the American Poultry Association had recognized Alderwood Manor as one of the nation’s greatest poultry centers.

Meanwhile, the early residents had a strong desire for a Christian church in their community. They began by meeting for Sunday School in private homes in 1919. On 28 November 1920, Alderwood Manor Community Church was born. They built a wood-frame building on the present site of ACC.

Through the years, things changed. Highway 99, to the west, was completed in 1927. The play-31Great Depression hit Alderwood Manor hard, the price of eggs fell, and many residents left the business. Land parcels were subdivided and sold off. The Demonstration Farm was closed. In 1939, the crucial Interurban Railed ceased operations.

In the late 1940’s, after World War II, a community named Lynnwood (named after Lynn, a real estate agent’s wife) began to emerge around the intersection of Highway 99 and 196th Street SW. In 1939, the Interurban railway was converted into a power line corridor. In the 1990s, the right-of-way was opened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Today, the Interurban Trail is a 16-mile, hard-surfaced, non-motorized, rail trail.

The City of Lynnwood is now planning another major transformation. It is converting to high-density, high-rise, mixed-use (commercial and residential) zoning in its City Center. Among the regulatory changes is this: the maximum allowable building height in the City Center Core is up to 350 feet. Assuming that one story equals 10 feet, that’s a building height of 35 stories! The City’s long-range, 20-year vision is to become the “Bellevue of the North.” The current population of Lynnwood is about 38,000. play-118

Much of Alderwood Manor and Lynnwood history is preserved in Heritage Park which opened in 2004 at 19921 Poplar Way. Even some of the original buildings and a railway car, Interurban Car 55, are located there. For more information about this area’s history and its future plans, please see:

 

play-1202020 will be ACC’s 100th anniversary. I wonder what musical they will choose for their 32nd Christmas program. Will I still be playing trumpet and blogging in 2020, at age 80? As my dear, late mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was fond of saying, “Time waits for no man.”

Photos courtesy of John Crozier, http://www.crozierphotography.com. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

 

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How I Discovered the Cascade Symphony Orchestra: the 2016 “Holiday Pops” Concert, Edmonds

Posted by glennled on December 15, 2016

 

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Cascade Symphony Orchestra at Edmonds Center for the Arts

My wife and I have lived in Edmonds for 13 years and had never heard of the Cascade Symphony Orchestra until this month. That says a lot more about us than about the CSO which was formed in 1962. But it’s never too late to discover another of the good things in life, is it? How did this one finally happen?

Well, I’d been thinking about taking her out on a date, and one evening I was talking with the outstanding principal horn player in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra. “What other orchestra do you play in?” I asked. “The Cascade Symphony Orchestra,” he replied, and that took me to the internet the next day. I found out that CSO was presenting its “Holiday Pops” concert in Edmonds on 11-12 December. My wife said yes, so I drove to the ticket office at the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA), bought two tickets for Sunday night, peaked inside to see the dark auditorium, and picked up a booklet on the ECA to educate myself a little.

The Edmonds Center for the Arts, with its new 700-seat auditorium, held its Grand Opening on 6 Jan 2007 (see http://www.facebook.com/edmondscenterforthearts). Originally, in 1910, the building was the Edmonds High School. This is now ECA’s 10th Anniversary Season.

CSO is a non-professional orchestra, composed of accomplished musicians with careers in other fields who “perform purely for the joy of it.” The orchestra was formed in 1962, and led by Robert Anderson, the original conductor (see http://www.cascadesymphony.org). That was the year of the Seattle World’s Fair and opening of the Space Needle. It was also the year I graduated from the University of Washington, joined the Navy, and reported for duty at Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. There was no freeway in Seattle then. The Seattle portion of I-5 opened in 1967, the year I returned to Seattle to teach Naval ROTC at the University of Washington for the final two years of my active duty.

Several musicians in the original orchestra were still members in 2011-12, the 50th-Anniversary season. The 2016 Holiday Pops program lists 86 musicians in CSO. Of those, 17 members have played in CSO for 30 years or more. And of those, five members (two violinists, two violists, and one cellist) have been members for 50 years or more! The trumpeters are George Steward, Principal; Rocklyn Meredith; and Delsin Thomas. Annual auditions are held in August; individual auditions are scheduled by appointment. At least four CSO members also play in the Alderwood Community Church Orchestra: Lance Ellis (Principal, French Horn); Rob Rankin (Principal, Trumpet); Madison Bromel (Cello); and Heather Hoskins (Bass).

CSO’s 2016-17 concert season (September through May) consists of five symphony performances, all at ECA in Edmonds. The orchestra rehearses every Monday night during the concert season—it’s known as “Cascade night.” Maestro Michael Miropolsky (a Russian violinist) is the Music Director and current Conductor.

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Michael Miropolsky

As for the concert itself, the program included works by Johann Strauss, Peter Tchaikovsky, Leroy Anderson, Victor Herbert, and Robin Seletsky/Ed Marcus, as well as five “Holiday Sing-Along” songs led by the Maestro playing his violin. The orchestra is composed of accomplished musicians and is well-rehearsed. It was a good reminder of how widespread musical talent is shared among all societies, nationalities, and races throughout the world. To me, that has a divine purpose. No wonder music is called the “universal language.”

The piece arranged by Robin Seletsky and orchestrated by Ed Marcus is called “Chanukah [Hanukah] Klezmer Medley” was extraordinary. It features a Klezmer clarinet solo, expertly performed by Beverly Setzer, who made her clarinet talk like a person—amazing! Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews that reflects the emotional vocal and dance music of Eastern Europe, especially Romania, and is most often played at Jewish weddings and celebrations.

The two Leroy Anderson pieces, “Sleigh Ride” and “Chicken Reel,” showcased the composer’s catchy tunes and playful orchestrations. We learned from the program that Anderson was a linguist who specialized in Scandanavian and German languages. He was Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence at the Pentagon. But, like the CSO musicians, he pursued a second career simultaneously—in his case, with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He wrote “Sleigh Ride” in 1946. “Chicken Reel” is a dance tune written in 1910 by Joseph M. Daly which Anderson then orchestrated.

Learning more about Victor Herbert was also a treat for me. A composer, conductor, and cellist, he was Irish-born in 1859 and died in Connecticut in 1924. CSO concluded the concert with his march, “Auditorium Festival,” which premiered in 1901 in Chicago with Herbert conducting the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra on tour. It incorporates the familiar folk song melody, “Auld Lang Syne.” Among his many compositions are 43 operettas, including Naughty Marietta (1910), Sweethearts (1913), and his best-known Babes in Toyland (1903).

Oh, by the way, the date was a success. When we returned home, I got a kiss from my bride, and she accepted when I asked for another date. Perhaps I’ll suggest Monday, 9 January 2017 at 7:30 p.m. when CSO presents Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in Eb major, featuring Jeffrey Fair, soloist, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor (Pathetique). Maybe we’ll see you there.

Most of these photos can be enlarged simply by clicking on them.

 

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