Taking a Bow

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Bernard Labadie, who conducted the extraordinary Messiah concerts this past week, is averse to taking solo bows. He bows with the soloists, he requests orchestra and chorus to take a bow, but not for himself alone.

Bernard Labadie
Bernard Labadie

Amy Kaiser and Susan Patterson, Chorus Director and Manager, respectively, sought to alter this personal tradition. After all, these were not only magnificent performances of this most-popular work–Kaiser tweeted that these were her finest Messiah concerts ever–but there was the heroism of Labadie himself, conducting his first concerts after battling a brutal cancer, and choosing to make his return with the St. Louis Symphony and Chorus.

So on Sunday afternoon, after “…for ever and ever. Amen,” after the soloists bows, the orchestra bows, the chorus bows, Labadie returned to the stage with Kaiser. The chorus rose again, but when the maestro asked for the orchestra to bow again, the musicians stayed in their seats. There was nothing for Labadie to do but turn and receive the audience applause.

Then he turned back to the chorus members, and waved an admonitory finger at them.