I’m currently stuck in Denver at the tail end of a long trip, but it’s been fantastic.
First, I went with the OPSU choirs on their trip to Chicago. Our choir director, Matt Howell, did a fantastic job planning and executing a great trip while still keeping it within a reasonable price range for the students. The choirs performed, but more importantly, they got to spend a week in the big city, navigating public transportation and taking in cultural things that just aren’t available in the Panhandle. The London Symphony Orchestra gave a fantastic concert of Prokofiev with Gergiev and Feltsman–core repertoire. The woodwinds in that group are simply astounding, and really made the Classical symphony sparkle. I first saw Feltsman play about 15 years ago in Cincinnati, and he hasn’t lost any of his charm or technique–the Prokofiev 2nd concerto was putty in his hands. The program ended with Prokofiev’s fifth symphony, which was absolutely sublime.
We were fortunate to get both a backstage tour and take in a performance at the Lyric Opera. The production values and musical technique made me feel like I’d never heard opera before. If you are in Chicago, be sure to take in the Lyric.
On our last full day, I spent the afternoon at the Art Institute of Chicago, which was absolutely worth the price of admission, even with their modern and contemporary collections currently in transition to the new building opening in May. Then it was across the street to hear the Chicago Symphony play Mendelssohn (Italian), Prokofiev (left hand concerto), and Beethoven (Eroica). I dare say it may have been an off night for the group… no need to mention any names.
Then it was back to Garden City, Kansas, where the choir headed back home and I hopped a plane to begin the rest of the trip. I have now appeared in New York City as composer and trombonist. David Morneau, Rob Voisey and Vox Novus set up a wonderful concert in the Jan Hus church in Manhattan, and I had a great time. I played my trombone and electronic piece “Let Everything that Has Breath Praise the Lord” and my solo trombone piece, “What It’s Like.” David, as always, had a fascinating collaboration with a dancer and a visual artist. I only wish I was so cool. A big “thank you” to David for making that happen. Vox Novus does a concert at this fantastic venue on the East Side on the last Sunday afternoon of every month, so be sure to check it out. It was a thrill to visit New York again (I hadn’t been since 1996) and to be there “on business.” David and his wife Jolaine were wonderful hosts, and around the corner from their place in Astoria is an Italian bakery that I will remember until I die… amaretti!
So… I’m now stuck for the night in Denver because my flight home was delayed and I missed the connection back to Garden City, delaying my return to my beautiful, wonderful wife. I still have one more stop on my “six weeks of insanity” that began with Oklahoma City in Feburary… the national SCI conference in Santa Fe.