There is a new member of the St. Louis Symphony. It is an addition that almost brought bassoonist Felecia Foland to tears. “I am just so happy,” she said. “I could cry.” Felicia has a brand new custom-made bassoon case cover.
The red, black and gold cover is easy on the eye, but the process of getting the cover was hard. “I invested in a new case for my bassoon, but I could not find a cover that fit,” she said. That’s when Bassist Carolyn White jumped into action.
Carolyn spent weeks making the bassoon case cover for Felicia. Carolyn is known for her precise play with the orchestra, but her talents extend beyond the stage. She has been working on creative projects, like the bassoon case cover, since she was six. “I really enjoy it,” she said. “It is my purpose in life.”
Carolyn once made red sequins shoes for the entire orchestra to wear during a performance of the Wizard of Oz.
The cover is waterproof and will help protect Felicia’s bassoon from cold winters and hot summers. It is also equipped with zippers that Carolyn ordered from New York, and It has a special pocket for bassoon reeds and sheet music. Felicia showed off the cover backstage during a recent STL Symphony rehearsal. ‘It’s just so beautiful,” she said.
Some people might call the case a simple accessory, but for Carolyn and Felicia it is a symbol of the bond shared between STL Symphony musicians.
Bassoonist Felicia Foland was eating a vegan lunch with bass trombonist Gerry Pagano and the director of orchestra personnel, Beth Paine, in Costa Mesa, California, when I reached her by phone on Wednesday afternoon. A cloudy day in Costa Mesa, sunny in St. Louis. Go figure.
“It takes less time to find vegan food here than in Missouri,” Felicia confirmed, especially one in a “groovy strip mall.” Travels went smoothly and the musicians bided their time before an afternoon rehearsal at the Soka Performing Arts Center–John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 opens the tour. It’s a hall the orchestra has not played before, which is just one reason why it’s good to have a pre-show rehearsal.
Meanwhile, the most recent news around the hall is the announcement of the Tribute to David Bowie concert, with tickets going on sale to the general public Thursday at 10am, STL Symphony social-media subscribers can buy now. Brent Havens, known for his Music of… concerts (Music of Led Zeppelin, Music of Michael Jackson, etc.) will bring a hot band and a cool vocalist to play our Bowie favorites. My blog post after his passing “reached” nearly 23,000 Facebook friends. I had mentioned that the St. Louis Symphony had not yet played Bowie music–emphasis on “not yet”–so it’s appropriate to say that this concert comes by popular demand. (And in-house demand, our Marketing department was on this like a lightning bolt across the face.) Put on your red shows and dance the blues June 17.
Cinematographer Joshua Dobkins and I took a road trip to Missouri’s Rhineland, where bassoonist Felicia Foland and her spouse Kati Guerra live in their 19th-century home. We figured it was a good spot to talk about Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, since so many of the immigrants who settled along that stretch of the Missouri River Valley came from Germany, many with Beethoven tunes in their head, for sure. And considering the Play Memory theme, we knew this combination of landscape, history, and Foland’s own thoughts and recollections about a work she has performed many times would be well-worth the long drive. We never expected we’d get such a good lunch though. Thanks, Kati!