During the rehearsal break for Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 I strolled the stage and took notice of the elegant device holding a double bass together:
I also saw David Halen’s violin set on a table with Vivaldi music near his chair:
And before the Mahler 4 began, on Wednesday members of the St. Louis Symphony brass visited Brittany Woods Middle School. Even with a David Robertson program to practice this week, the brass took time out to share some musical knowledge with young people:
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.
This Thursday the Trombones of the St. Louis Symphony perform their 21st annual St. Agnes Home Holiday Concert in Kirkwood.
It’s part of the SymphonyCares for Seniors program, but it began with bass trombonist Gerry Pagano driving by St. Agnes Home one day and figuring that they could use some holiday brass. The ensemble has changed a few times, but the residents at St. Agnes keep wanting them to come back for more.
The current ensemble is Pagano, Tim Myers, Amanda Stewart and Jonathan Reycraft. They will all be wearing their Santa caps.
The Fab Four that is the St. Louis Symphony trombone section plays Ludwig van Beethoven’s Three Equali for Four Trombones at Powell Hall Friday and Saturday night. They start the show, alone on stage, and make music with their amazing song machines. Trombone is a very songful instrument, as you’ll hear in this week’s video blog.
Powell Hall is receiving a circus makeover for A Winter Fable, the Circus Flora-St. Louis Symphony collaboration playing this weekend, December 12-14.
The musicians return to the hall Thursday for rehearsal. In the meantime, they are teaching and performing around the region. Here is Principal Trombone Tim Myers teaching a class at Parkway Central Middle School.
Myers has taught me a lot about music over the years. I bet he could teach anything and be inspiring.
Also this week, a Tower Grove Park concert in the Piper Palm House with Karin Bliznik, trumpet; Dave DeRiso, double bass; Tom Stubbs, percussion; and Patti Wolf, piano, Tuesday night.
Thursday, bass trombone player Gerry Pagano makes his 20th annual visit to St. Agnes Home as part of SymphonyCares. He brings the whole section: Myers, Amanda Stewart and Jonathan Reycraft. That concert is a highlight of the year every year.