Claire “The Clown” Wedemeyer and Symphony violinist Angie Smart are in the business of smiles and laughter. Through Clowns on Call and SymphonyCares they visited Mercy Children’s Hospital this week and lifted spirits from room to room. A little shtick goes a long way to making children and their families feel a little bit better.
Friday night the Black History Month Concert: Lift Every Voice featured R&B/Gospel legend Patti Austin. She shared many stories with the audience and sang up a storm–but don’t blame her for the snow.
At intermission of the BHM concert, following a performance of Adam Maness’ Divides That Bind, the composer and Brian Owens, who read text by Martin Luther King, Jr., during the piece, meet with IN UNISON Chorus members backstage.
Saturday night I experienced one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had at Powell Hall: a sold-out audience on its feet singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” with a tribute band and the St. Louis Symphony. Nobody even asked them to, word for word from beginning to end: “Just a small-town girl/ Livin’ in a lonely world….”
Sunday the Heart Quartet, which is performing throughout February advocating for Women’s Heart Health, played at IN UNISON Church partner St. Philip’s Evangelical Lutheran.
Also on Sunday, Symphony musicians played Dvorak’s Serenade for Winds, Cello, and Double Bass at Peace Lutheran Church.
Monday morning, Angie Smart and Claire “The Clown” Wedemeyer entertained girls and boys at Mercy Children’s Hospital. All the kids they entertained were in isolation, so Angie and Claire made in-room performances.
And on and on, and on, and on…throughout the St. Louis region…anywhere.
What happens on stage, whether that stage be at Powell Hall or a child’s hospital room, takes a lot of hands and hearts and minds to prepare. And I’m not even talking about the orchestral concerts.
For example Mrs. Silva gave up a few hours to make a fork for Max of Where the Wild Things Are to use in the Tiny Tunes concerts for pre-K kids from Grace Hill Head Start.
It took three St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association members to create leaves for the children to wave during the concerts.
Meanwhile, the students at room13delmar, just across the street from Powell Hall, with Ilene Nodhouse, made this swell boat for Max, and a cool set too.
But that’s just one show. Meanwhile, on Monday Community Programs Director Maureen Byrne was with Claire “The Clown” Wedemeyer and Symphony violinist Angie Smart working on some new bits to perform at children’s hospitals as part of SymphonyCares.
For one of the skits, it looks like Claire is doing a Joan Jett impersonation.
Those are just a few of the things we do around here when we’re not playing Bach.
The Symphony musicians continue to make the rounds of places where people get together, whether sick or well, old or young. It’s kind of like the Symphony’s marriage with the community: in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.