So now it’s Monday after the CHSO Season Finale, and I’m closing the books on another year – our sixteenth consecutive season.
Over the past month we’ve been talking about the program for the season finale– building excitement and anticipation amongst both our audience and orchestra members– and then it was concert week. We immersed in intense rehearsals to put together this complex program in three nights of practice – coordinating new vocal charts, narrators, navigating through the intricacies of Leonard Bernstein’s masterful West Side Story, and then it was concert night and I was so intensely focused on getting through each part of the program, that I wasn’t aware of it as a whole.
After the concert, I was almost in a fog. All that was running through my mind at the time was, “It’s over, I think it was good.” People were coming up to myself and orchestra members exclaiming praise on the event that night. I know the “America the Beautiful” was an effective encore after the evening’s flow – everyone in the hall was on their feet singing strongly – it was like a sudden “Flash Mob” – and for a moment, I was brought to tears.
We all adjourned to the Caffe Sorrento to unwind, have some great food, and share stories. I was still kind of in a stupor. It’s over, the season is done. Was it as good a finale as the season deserved? Was I at my best? I think it was a similar feeling to “post partem!”
Below is the message I sent out today to the orchestra. It pretty much sums up my feeling today about the night, our orchestra, and our audience.
“I just want to thank you all and congratulate you on a phenomenal Season Finale on Saturday night – a truly appropriate climax to an already amazing and stellar season.
It was a complex and varied program, with all the new charts, and the constantly changing instrument set up, and dealing with a singer and narrators to boot. (Imagine, we were thinking of also doing a projected image package on the screen along with it, and the TV station had wanted to bring a new 30-foot camera boom to extend over the orchestra to get some better individual camera angles on you!!!!!)
After the concert, I was so mentally exhausted, I wasn’t even sure how happy I was with the concert! I thought we had done a pretty good job with everything, but I wasn’t sure it was as great as I hoped or that I was as perfect as I wanted to be. I know the audience seemed pretty ecstatic over it.
I just finished watching a video clip of the entire Bernstein, shot by Bernadette up in the side balcony. Watch this clip and relive this stellar moment!
I was astounded. Astonished, humbled, moved, proud, and grateful for the privilege of working with you all as fellow musicians and community advocates.
The performance was worthy of national broadcast, and going viral so we can share your great artistry with the world.
The GORGEOUS orchestra sound, and especially of the strings in the elegiac slow moments in the Bernstein – reminiscent of the Intermezzo from Cavaleria Rusticana -- the perfect intonation in the woodwinds in those moments, the power and percussive force of our brass and percussionists – and the total emotion, intensity and energy of all you brought our audience a profound rendering of Lenny’s masterwork – creating a moving narrative and morality play for our community – a fitting centerpiece to the theme of the evening.
And I know that our Claflin Hill audience and supporters feel the same way about THEIR orchestra.
It is INDEED quite a feat we’ve all accomplished together – the creation of a vibrant, musical culture and a community – sharing great music, educating young people, a workplace for great musicians to create together and be a family, and an audience that participates in a true communal sense – supporting, engaging in dialogue and sharing with friends and enlarging the circle.
Thank you again to all – orchestra members, audience members, board members, donors and corporate sponsors. And CONGRATULATION to ALL of YOU. You have made this happen.
Stay tuned, for there’s more to come. . . . .