37. Abendmusik Thursday; La Traviata Saturday!
Tomorrow is the big day! Young People’s Concert – the third installment of my chamber music series Abendmusik Alexandria – begins tomorrow evening at 6 PM. Programs are printed, will call envelopes are stuffed, and the Hearn Stage is ready to welcome an eager crowd!
Young People’s Concert features twenty-two string students from across Central Louisiana billed as the Young Artists Chamber Orchestra of Alexandria and under the baton of John De Chiaro. Our program gets its title from the series by Leonard Bernstein aimed at youth. During his tenure with the New York Philharmonic, this eminent conductor-composer-educator hosted a series of fifty-three televised concerts which ran from 1958 to 1972, and for three years on CBS primetime. Here Bernstein and the professional musicians of the New York Philharmonic addressed diverse topics as difficult as understanding the music of noted twentieth-century composers and as controversial as playing jazz or folk music in the concert hall.
The aim of Bernstein’s concerts was to instill in young audiences the love of music, and that is our aim too, although here it is the young people themselves who are the musicians. This extension of De Chiaro’s highly-acclaimed Alexandria Youth Orchestra has required its musicians to undergo rigorous auditions, and then prove their continued dedication at rehearsals. Their challenging repertoire includes classics by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Camille Saint-Saëns as well as newer works by Soon Hee Newbold, Doug Spata, and others.
Young People’s Concert begins at 6 PM tomorrow evening at the Hearn Stage in Downtown Alexandria. Appetizer plates and a cash bar will lend to the comfortable cabaret-style atmosphere which guests at our last two Abendmusik concerts have found so welcoming. Join us if you can – it will be a great evening full of wonderful music! And, read my program notes for more info.
Two nights later, I’ll be in Shreveport for La Traviata with the Shreveport Opera. Not only am I looking forward to hearing this great opera by Giuseppe Verdi and the bound-to-amaze production by the Shreveport group, but it will also give me the chance to catch up with friends. Resident artists Sarah Bauer and Leroy Davis who toured Alexandria schools last season will be in the cast. Sarah’s back as a resident artist this year so I had the chance to visit with her when she sang at the Rapides Symphony Orchestra’s Pops on the River in September. Leroy has moved on, but is back for this production – so I’m looking forward to catching up with him too.
If you’re interested in attending, please call me tomorrow or Friday at 318.445.7705 to reserve your tickets. The Shreveport Opera is giving ten percent of tickets reserved through TicketCentral back to the arts community of Central Louisiana as a show of gratitude for its patrons down south. And – don’t worry – the quality of their productions certainly justifies the drive!
Hope to see you at these upcoming music events!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music historian and composer. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college – where he completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. As his day job, Jackson serves as Operations Manager of TicketCentral.