Charles Wendelken-Wilson tribute tonight at Shuster
Charles Wendelken-Wilson entered the musical life of greater Dayton with a mission in 1975. His goal was simple to conceive, but viewed as impossible to accomplish.
He wanted to use the podium of the Dayton Philharmonic to bring music to new and higher levels. He began to transform the orchestra and its program. When there was resistance or difficulty, he worked through it with his complete conviction that, like a doctor’s prescription, it was good for you.
And how good it was! Audiences accustomed to standard repertory were introduced to Russian masters, Richard Strauss, the French literature in ever-increasing doses. Acceptance was accomplished by giving clearreadings of the music with élan and gusto – accomplished even in the acoustical difficulties of Memorial Hall.
He came for ten years – he remained with the orchestra for twelve. Dayton became his home and his mission ramified into the ascendancy of the Miami Valley Symphony. His leadership of Dayton Public Radio was a landmark accomplishment which continued for the rest of his life.
Any interested person could have easy accessibility to Charles. He became Charlie 2W, Charles, or Charlie. He never imposed the title of Maestro between himself and his wide ranging constituents.
When Dayton Opera went through its painful reorganization in 1981, Charles conducted the first opera, Rigoletto. He continued as advisor, consultant and conductor until illness forced him to relinquish the opera podium two years ago.
Often, these classes would be given at my home. Charles had complete knowledge of score, content and the essence of the opera. He would mold a phrase, a syllable, or even a single note into something grander and more beautiful. Hearing them, I felt that I had been transported into musical heaven.
There will be a special memorial concert on Tuesday, May 12, the very day when you receive this copy of the Oakwood Register. Neal Gittleman has worked tirelessly to organize this special community response.
Come to the Schuster at 5:30 for something as extra special as Charles!
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and Footloose
Two high school musicals. Only one is a true high school musical; the other is a play about a high school. At The Miami Valley School, the students mounted a most unusual play, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. My review must be prefaced by admitting that I understood about half of its avant-garde humor and actions. For someone in my age group, understanding half is pretty darn good. Directed by Ross Williams and Richard Braithwaite, the gifted MVS students took us into a world where evil meets evil. The goal of ruling the world seemed co-equal to attracting a delightful and beautiful young lady to be a girl friend.
Played on an imaginative 21st century set, we watched the antics of Dr. Horrible, Chris De La Cruz, Captain Hammer, Julian Ceipek and their mutual love interest, Corri Johnson as the lovely Penny. They romped through scene after scene to very tuneful music played by an on-stage orchestra.
The large cast, all beautiful young persons, did every conceivable manner of strange things and the play ended happily, or was it a tragedy? Certainly someone of my generation couldn’t tell. What was evident was that these kids were replete with talent, verve and enthusiasm. True evil never looked so heavenly!
Dayton Playhouse mounted their high school musical, Footloose. Directed by Craig Smith, with amazing choreography by Gretchen Hindson, it replicated Pitchford and Snow’s Broadway hit.
The musical play lives on several levels. As a generation warfare drama it pits child against parent, freedom against authority, old-time religion against the hedonism of youth. Some clichés are inevitable, yet the total effect made the audience sympathetic to all sides. This is the mark of a successful play.
Chris Harmon’s set provided seamless and imaginative scene changes to move the action. The music, by a large on-stage orchestra, was tuneful and well played.
The adults were led by a stunning performance by David Shough. David is well-remembered for his performance as FDR several seasons ago.
As the powerful and intolerant Reverend, David erased his presidential persona and replaced it with a Bible-thumping would-be Prophet. His songs were the dramatic turning points of the play.
Amy Brown switched from the front office to the stage and was joined by veterans Roger Watson and Cathy Long in important roles. The musical, full of fun, delivered a message. I would have never chosen to see this in New York. Thanks to Dayton Playhouse, it landed in my backyard.
Bach Society presents Handel’s ‘Israel in Egypt’
On Sunday, May 17, at 4 p.m., the Bach Society of Dayton, under the direction of Music Director John Neely, will mark the 250th anniversary of George Frideric Handel’s grand-scale oratorio “Israel in Egypt” with soloists Jennifer Gilchrist, Soprano, Deborah Martin, Soprano, Steven Rickards, Countertenor, Tony Burdette,
Tenor, Mark Spencer, Baritone, Joshua Zink, baritone, with double chorus and orchestra. Rabbi Judy Chessin, of Temple Beth Or, will present a concert preview entitled “Did Handel get it right?” at 3 p.m. The concert will take place at the Kettering Adventist Church, 3939 Stonebridge Road. Oakwood residents who sing in the chorus are Donna Reece, Faye Seifrit, Mary Beth Rhodes, Laura Thie, David Grupe, Larry Hollar, Alan Kimbrough.
Tickets $15-general admission, $10.00 students, (Children 12 and under free) are available at the door or may be purchased in advance by calling the Bach Society of Dayton, 294-2224 (BACH).
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