Zhou B, Disney, Organ Symphony: Reflecting on May 8 – 21, 2018

We spent much of the month of May balancing several different projects simultaneously, as usual. After a few rare days completely off, we started up again with chamber music rehearsals in preparation for our performance at Zhou B Art Center on May 18th. I was involved in the groups performing Nonet by Bohuslav Martinu and Wind Octet Ludwig van Beethoven. I always look forward to our bi-annual appearances at Zhou B thanks to the gorgeous new art, ego-boosting acoustic, and in-gallery bar for a post-concert beer.

Civic Musicians perform at Zhou B Third Friday exhibition. | May 2017

Prior to this event, we hosted three final events involving our CSO-Connect project: the 10th complete performance of the presentation at The People’s Music School; an excerpted version at a meeting of the Negaunee Music Institute Board; and the grand Culminating Event on May 9. This culminating event was a beautiful gathering of all the participating schools in the CSO-Connect project, for a chance for them to perform their own original works of art for their peers. We were happy to offer one final performance of The Moldau by Bedrich Smetana. As the introduction to the performance, we each placed an individually-decorated small box on the stage, and when we combined each Fellow’s box with the others, it built a grand castle (a programmatic element of Smetana’s composition). We related this to balance, teamwork, and individual contribution, as also practiced in music, and throughout our work in the CSO-Connect project.

ABOVE: Civic Fellows host the CSO-Connect culminating event at Disney School. | May 2017

During this two-week span, our woodwind quintet also wrapped up a months-long effort: our chamber music performances. Since winter, we have been preparing a recital of five works written by all non-white composers who have not been historically recognized in the classical music canon. We gave our final of six performances of this recital and presented works by Louis Ballard, Lena Mathon Blanchet, Xinyan Li, Arturo Marquez, and Kevin Scott.

Finally, in any spare moment we could find, we were also preparing for a reading of Symphony No. 3 (Organ) by Camille Saint-Saens with Maestro Emmanuel Krivine and Paul Jacobs on organ. Knowing that we only had a few hours with Maestro Krivine, we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. So I was proud of the orchestra for arriving ready to work through the challenges of this demanding and virtuosic symphony.

By Civic Fellow Midori Samson

TOP: The Civic Fellows combined individually designed boxes to create a castle at the CSO-Connect culminating event earlier this month.