Tovey, Financial Planning, and Project Pitches: Reflecting on January 1-15, 2019

2019 started and we’re not wasting any time.

The Civic Fellows met on January 8 to regroup after the holidays. Our break was spent memorizing music for our CSO-Connect presentation. We are learning selections of Dvořák’s New World Symphony, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Florence Price’s First Symphony, and Berlioz’s Hungarian March. The presentation will be performed for schools as an interactive presentation, fully choreographed, with no music stands to get in the way.

The holidays were also a good time to get notes under our fingers in advance of the Civic Orchestra’s third regular season concert, led by Maestro Bramwell Tovey. The programme featured Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Vaughan Williams’ Variations on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and Elgar’s In The South Overture. Sectional rehearsals began on January 8, and a prep rehearsal with Solti Conducting Apprentice Erina Yashima proved very useful to give us a chance to try out the music as a group before Maestro Tovey stepped up to the podium. Civic musicians were offered complimentary tickets to Maestro Tovey’s concert with the CSO the day before our rehearsal, and after hearing his interpretation of Elgar’s Enigma Variations (and his hilarious introductory remarks), the anticipation to work with him was high. After leading us through two days of intense double rehearsals, Tovey and Civic took the stage at Orchestra Hall on January 15 to a packed house. The lush programming and energetic finale brought the audience to its feet.

Also of interest during the first week back from break was a seminar for Civic musicians on the subject of personal economics by financial planner Tad Gray. With practical advice about different kinds of insurance, investment strategies, and debt management, Mr. Gray left the attendees a little bit richer (…at least in wisdom).

Between rehearsals and last-minute practicing, some Civic members were extra busy submitting proposals for independent projects. New this season, regular members and fellows alike could submit proposals for community or professional development projects, with funding up to $2000. Eligible proposals were selected and applicants presented their project’s details and goals to a panel of CSO administrators as well as guest panelists from local philanthropic agencies. Twelve ideas were approved this year – three times more than last year – so we can expect to see a huge amount of creativity this spring when these projects come to life.

By Civic Fellow and viola Roslyn Green

TOP: Maestro Bramwell Tovey leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Elgar’s Enigma Variations during a January 11 concert. Four days later, Tovey would lead the Civic Orchestra in a concert also featuring a work by Elgar — In the South(Alassio). | Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019