I’ll be away from Powell Hall for a little while.
Brooklyn-based PROJECT Trio and the St. Louis Symphony played two Education Concerts Tuesday morning to two substantial audiences made up of local schoolchildren. The students heard music by Brahms, Rossini, Bach (by way of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame), and PROJECT Trio themselves: Peter Seymour on bass, Greg Pattillo on flute, and Eric Stephenson on cello. The joint was rockin’ with the sounds of Baroque, raga, hip hop, salsa. Here is some of what it looked like.
We gave the last Where the Wild Things Are Tiny Tunes concerts of the season to two wild audiences on the Powell Hall stage Monday morning. Many thanks to musicians Jooyeon Kong, Eva Kozma, Chris Tantillo and Alvin McCall for putting together some Ravel and Shostakovich to complement Max’s journey; to Steven Jarvi for conducting the audience; to Jessica Ingraham for her work at the Grace Hill Head Start schools and for assisting in about a dozen other ways; to the Symphony Volunteer Association for giving the children hands-on experience with musical instruments during Instrument Playground before the shows; to SVA volunteers for cutting and gluing about 300 leaves; to room13delmar for creating the cool sets and Max’s boat; to Holly Silva for Max’s fork; to the PNC Grow Up Great program for allowing the Symphony to do great things in schools; and to our Max, Moses Weathers. Here we are together one last time.
A couple who are longtime Symphony fans emailed the following comment about the Friday morning Coffee Concert, featuring Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Andre Watts, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique,” with guest conductor Juraj Valcuha in his St. Louis Symphony debut:
Four musicians talking intently center stage following a full day of rehearsals of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique,” Wednesday afternoon. It is obvious they are talking about one of two things: music-making or restaurants.
Friday night the Black History Month Concert: Lift Every Voice featured R&B/Gospel legend Patti Austin. She shared many stories with the audience and sang up a storm–but don’t blame her for the snow.
At intermission of the BHM concert, following a performance of Adam Maness’ Divides That Bind, the composer and Brian Owens, who read text by Martin Luther King, Jr., during the piece, meet with IN UNISON Chorus members backstage.
Saturday night I experienced one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had at Powell Hall: a sold-out audience on its feet singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” with a tribute band and the St. Louis Symphony. Nobody even asked them to, word for word from beginning to end: “Just a small-town girl/ Livin’ in a lonely world….”
Sunday the Heart Quartet, which is performing throughout February advocating for Women’s Heart Health, played at IN UNISON Church partner St. Philip’s Evangelical Lutheran.
Also on Sunday, Symphony musicians played Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds, Cello, and Double Bass at Peace Lutheran Church.
Monday morning, Angie Smart and Claire “The Clown” Wedemeyer entertained girls and boys at Mercy Children’s Hospital. All the kids they entertained were in isolation, so Angie and Claire made in-room performances.
And on and on, and on, and on…throughout the St. Louis region…anywhere.
The duty of art is to inspire. Bob Dylan said something like that. A lot of people have.
My colleague Jessica Ingraham has been making visits to Grace Hill Head Start pre-K classrooms, teaching some musical basics to the children. Some of these boys and girls and their families have been in the audience for the Where the Wild Things Are Tiny Tunes concerts recently. Jessica sent a photo of some of the art the Grace Hill Magnolia Head Start Center kids made after seeing the show.
For what it’s worth, the St. Louis Symphony had approached Katy Perry to accept the Grammy Award for us, but as it happened, her eyelashes were not done by the time of the presentation. Maybe next time, Katy!