Thursday night's SoundCheck Concert--high school and college
students experienced the Child of Our
Time program for free--was phenomenal in so many ways: the unique binding of
Ives' Unanswered Question and Barber's
Adagio for Strings; the raucous gospel of Rollo Dilworth's world premiere Freedom's Plow; the visual spectacle of
the Symphony's two great choruses, the SLS Chorus and SLS In Unison Chorus, on
stage together for the intensely moving main event, Tippett's Child, with the breathtaking vocal power
and subtlety of the dual choruses and guest vocalists Measha Brueggergosman,
Kate Lindsey, Paul Groves and Jubilant Sykes. The Wow factor was substantial.
The balcony was closed to give the near 1000 in attendance a
greater community feel on the orchestra level, but I had the privilege of
observing from above with a photographer from the St. Louis American, Wiley Price, who was shooting images that will
go up on the paper's website soon. Price was more than just a journalist on the
job--he was as moved by the performances as I was. "It would have killed me if I
had missed this," he said after the final waves of applause had crested.
Flutist Jen Nitchman's parents send me e-mails now and then
from their home in New Hampshire.
They said after watching the Rollo Dilworth interview on the video blog they
were ready to book a flight for St.
Louis to hear the concert. For those of you in the Lou,
you can just buy a ticket and show up. Prepare your "Wow" face.
And of course there is a promising cellist named Yo-Yo Ma
playing the Gala Saturday night. Sold out. If you don't have a ticket, you won't
be the least bit disappointed if you go to Friday night's Child of Our Time concert instead. David Robertson often speaks of
an orchestra as an inspiring presence--a hundred or so people from different
walks of life who come together to make incredible beauty. Nowhere is that
sense of coming together more in evidence than on the Child program. With St.
Louis turning cold and getting colder, you could treat
yourself with some vital music to keep your spirits warm.
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