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DPO celebrates 75th with debut concert program

Diamonds have been named “a girl’s best friend.” Certainly no dispute there. We learned recently, here in Dayton, that the diamond has a much richer meaning than a rock on a lovely finger.    

When the Dayton Philharmonic celebrated its Diamond Anniversary it was every bit as dazzling as a Tiffany offering.  The Philharmonic Volunteer Association, led by Nancy King and a myriad of devoted orchestra supporters, devised a celebration that brought out the best of Dayton’s rich culture.  

The grand plan was for Maestro Neal and his musicians to recreate the initial concert of the Philharmonic.  Fortune smiled on the entire enterprise.  How few organizations of any ilk could find that the same venue, the exact same date, the same concert program and even the same time could be recreated?

The magnificent Renaissance Auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute is just as beautiful today as it was in 1933. As a side note, it will remain as spectacular in another 75 years and beyond.  The calendar smiled and made June 1, 1933 and June 1, 2008 both Sundays.  

What made the evening and the event so memorable were the gala arrangements dreamed up by the volunteer organization.  A series of dinners were held at private homes.  These were noted in the Philharmonic’s publicity and those interested could sign up for the home and dinner of their choice.  A donation was made to the Philharmonic for attendance.

From the dinners, the attendees met at the Art Institute and were feted with dessert, champagne and the ubiquitous silent auction.  Well-fed and content, the audience filed into the Renaissance auditorium for the recreation of the first concert.  

The orchestra was scaled back to its initial size and filled the stage to capacity.  We hear many chamber performances in this marvelous room but Sunday’s was the first full symphony orchestra in my remembrance.  

The acoustics of the auditorium are lively and have a vibrant brilliance.  The orchestra did not out-match the venue and the music sounded wonderful.

The program was an interesting evocation of the musicianship, taste and knowledge of DPO founder Dr. Paul Katz.  This was not a “pops” concert by any stretch.  

The concert opened with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. The next work was the rarely heard Donizetti aria “Terra adorata de patri miei.”  Sung in French by contralto Kathleen Maurer, this lovely and dramatic song was certainly advanced programming for any orchestra.  

The major work on the program, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 has familiar melodies and enticing dynamics.  It was played flawlessly by the Philharmonic musicians and greeted with spontaneous applause at each of the sections.

Again, the dedication to great music of Paul Katz was evident in the choice of Brahms’ Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen.  This orchestral transcription of the choral prelude requires fine musicianship. We certainly heard it on the 75th anniversary.  Knowing Paul Katz, it was played as well at the opening concert.  The evening continued with a work by Glazunov and a Schubert song, Seligkeit, lovingly sung by Kathleen Maurer.  

The concert finale, Strauss’ Tales from the Vienna Woods was given a rich reading and sent the audience away full of joy in what we have and how we received this fabulous gift of great music.

Carillon Park Memorial Day Concert

The Philharmonic ended its official season with the annual Memorial Day concert at Carillon Historical Park.  More that 2500 people gathered in holiday mood for the free event.  

I attended with Dr. Ben Schuster. Anticipating the crowds, Ben phoned Melanie Boyd of the Philharmonic staff to ask if she could save a pair of seats for us. To our delight, well admixed with embarrassment, two chairs with very visible signs, front and back, announced that they were reserved for Dr. Ben Schuster and Dr. Burt Saidel.

The ribbing we took did not diminish our joy in the music and the ambiance.  Patriotic American music joined stirring salutes to our armed services and loving remembrances of those who have left us.

Baritone William Henry Caldwell narrated Beckel’s Gardens of Stone.  This musical and poetic tribute to our lost defenders sharpened our realization of what we owe to so many who have made us and kept us free.

The fun of the day was enhanced when Carillon Park director Brady Kress strode, in full Revolutionary War costume complete with a very long rifle, to the podium and commandeered it, relegating Maestro Neal to the percussion section. He conducted the Sousa Liberty Bell March.  Fortunately he used a baton and not the rifle.

The smiles at the Memorial Day concert matched those at the gala.  How lucky we are and how fortunate we are to appreciate it!

Busse Brothers

Well, it has happened.  My long aversion to electronic music hasn’t ended but there is a slight crack in my negative resolve.

To me, there is a recurrent drone of electric keyboards, guitars and so forth.  It renders the musical elements into mish-mash instead of music.

A most unlikely event caused my epiphany.  Attending a large birthday party at a country club, there was a duo playing during dinner.  I recognized the guitarist, Oakwoodite Danny Busse and we conversed.

The more I listened to their background music; it emerged from the background into something clear, tuneful and exciting.  The more they played; I realized that while the source was electronic, the music was pure and engaging.  

The keyboardist, Chris Klepinger had a way of eliminating the drone and constantly challenging the rhythm and arioso lines of a song.  After dinner, their show proved the point more emphatically.  These are musicians who play with heart and soul. They fashion their music by their gifts even on electric instruments.

They go by the Busse Brothers and play at a number of clubs in the area.  Catch them and tell me if you agree – music lives when it is played with life!

Cityscape photos on display at Starbucks

Oakwood photographic artist Lorraine Parmelee will have an exhibit of some of her most recent photographs of cityscapes and landscapes on display at the Oakwood Starbucks coffee shop on Far Hills Avenue through the month of June.

Exhibition of paintings by Fr. Goetz June 13-27

Father Joseph Goetz, a retired priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, will exhibit a collection of his watercolors and drawings at the Cannery Art and Design Center, 434 East Third Street, Dayton. The exhibition will run from Friday, June 13
through Friday, June 27.  Proceeds from the exhibition opening will support adjunct teachers at Stivers School for the Arts.

A native of Dayton, Fr. Goetz served as pastor of Holy Angels, Dayton and St. Paul’s, Yellow Springs. From 1970 until 1980 he was professor of systematic theology at The Athenaeum of Ohio. Fr. Goetz was an art major at Ohio Wesleyan University and received a PhD in theology from Cambridge University, England, where he was a member of King’s College.

Dancers All

The 12th Annual Dance Performance was held on Sunday, June 1, at Oakwood High School auditorium with 102 dancers, ages 4 through 12, performing. The girls pictured are this year’s graduates of Miss Camille’s Dance Program which was held at the Oakwood Community Center. Several  dancers have studied with Camille for nine years, starting with the “just for threes” class.

Photo by Jennifer Welch

Pictured, left to right:  Naomi, Mary Grace, Victoria, Maddie, Emily and Charlotte.

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June 10, 2008
Volume 17, No. 24

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