Everyman, uhm, Everygirl and Her Daughter Went to the Orchestra

One of the best things for me about being the singe parent of teenagers is that if I want to do something at the last minute, I usually have a co-conspirator.

Last Friday night after my daughter Laney’s ballet class, we scooted over to the Ogle Center and watched the Louisville Orchestra’s Seville performance, a collection of opera overtures, arias and other music the artistic staff connected through Seville.

I kinda made Laney go with me; she coiled at first.  I knew she might.  Afterall, she’s in ballet class 20+hours a week and listening to more live music might just kill her.  Now that my children aren’t in band anymore, there’s no live music in my house and for that I am truly longing.

We had our programs handy so we could follow along (we do this at Mass, too) and listened.  I love how the orchestra’s conductor, Bob Bernhardt knows that everybody in the audience might not know the background to each piece although most recognize the music.  I also like how cute and funny he is without being cliché and annoying.

Bob Bernhardt seems to have a real friendship with the music, surroundings and singers Hana Park and Rebekah Bortz Hardin.  As you may know, conductors lead multiple orchestras across the country – a sad sign of our artful times – but he has a way with connecting with his musicians and the audience bringing us all together.

I’m not at all intimidated by music in any form and especially classical music.  I took some 100 level music appreciation class course at my local community college while I was still in high school to knock out some art appreciation requirements, but that’s not the reason.  I think context for the music is important.  It matters.  Knowing the setting, time and mental state of composers and musicians obviously deepens one’s context for the music.  But, you know, it doesn’t matter to me sometimes who was doing what under what unruly dictator during what famine or Renaissance.  Sometimes, it’s just great to sit next to somebody you love and act like there’s nobody else but you and the orchestra showed up at your house to play at salon.

During the Carmen overture more than halfway through the program, Laney leaned into me and whispered in my ear that the piece sounded like something she recognized from the ballet Don Quixote. I was pleased that she found her own connection to the music.  Nearing the end of the program, I called a new friend and left my phone just on the top of my purse so he could hear the “Toreador March”.

If we let it, music can connect us for reasons we don’t care to know or understand.  About a million years ago, I was the guest of a prominent donor at the Louisville Orchestra’s season kick-off dinner and at my place at the table, I found this quote on a piece of paper that is still on my refrigerator just above the ice and water dispenser:

So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning. – Aaron Copland

I believe it.