Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wafna! It's Carmina Burana Time

For anyone who may be in northern Michigan, please consider joining us for our performance Sunday, June 10, 7 pm of Orff's CARMINA BURANA. I have the honor of conducting the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, Chorus and Festival Singers in the concert. All the musicians have taken dedication to the highest degree to ensure a memorable and stunning performance!

A week ago, I was just a guy on summer break. Then, my pal and colleague Chris Ludwa reached out to me with the news that, through an unfortunate circumstance, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra was in need of a conductor for their upcoming performance. Sadly, their music director Matthew Hazelwood suffered a major heart attack while working in Bogota, Colombia, from which he did not survive.

Under the circumstances, one would hardly be surprised if the concert might be simply cancelled. In fact, I mentioned that to the orchestra leadership, but the response was an emphatic "no." The dedicated musicians all felt strongly that Matt would have wanted the performance to go on. And in so doing, it would become a most moving tribute to the legacy of music making he has left.

Upon my arrival a few days ago, I was struck with a number of things: how friendly everyone is, how dedicated they are to music, and how much this particular performance means to them. Believe me, it's been a great, group with which to work, and the results are going to be amazing in the concert!

The John M. Hall Auditorium is in Bay View, Michigan, just next to Petoskey. It's a beautiful spot, with views of Lake Michigan and numerous other lakes connected via the inland waterway. Rudy has been enjoying the visit as well, and went swimming twice: first, yesterday on chorus master (and former Indy resident) Peter Sims's boat, and today at Zoll Beach in Harbor Springs. He's still trying to decide how much he likes it, but he is a very good swimmer!

It's been fun to share this experience with two of my own singers from the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. Tenors Larry Stout and Dave Rose (along with wife Kay) made the trip up to add to the chorus. We had a wonderful dinner of prime rib and olive burgers at Side Door Saloon last night.