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From the Podium...

Spring Concert

This concert is a special one for the orchestra. We have dedicated our season to the memory of Deb Gordley, our longtime principal oboe, who passed away unexpectedly in August, 2016, just as we were about to begin rehearsals for our Fall Concert. She had planned to step down, trading places with our other oboist, Angela Sass, after this Spring Concert. She and I had chosen music she particularly enjoyed for what was to be her final performance as principal oboe. I decided to turn this concert into a celebration of her tenure with us, including the works we had chosen plus other appropriate selections. The concert will include guest conductors, performers, and composers! This free concert will be at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at Drake's Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main.

You are cordially invited to the pre-concert talk I will be offering as the music director/conductor of the orchestra. The talk will take place in Levitt Hall at 1:00 p.m. and will last about forty minutes, allowing time for all of us to get in position for the concert. My fellow panelists will be drawn from our guest artists.

The theme for this concert is "Women and Fairies" and is drawn from the title of a piece we first played in 2008 for a concert featuring works by women composers. We asked that composer, Nimrod Borenstein, to write a new piece for this season. The result is the commissioned work Inside the Fairy World, which we will play in addition to Women and Fairies. We are extremely excited to announce that Mr Borenstein, an Israeli composer living in London, will be able to attend our concert for the playing of these two works, one we premiered before and one we premiere on this concert.

Elaine Erickson, a local composer living in Urbandale has written a work titled New Horizons for string orchestra and piano. Francine Griffith will join us to solo on this world premiere.

One of Deb's favorite pieces was the ninth movement of the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar. Quite appropriately, it is subtitled "Nimrod" and we are proud to present it. We will also play the Overture to The Barber of Seville by Rossini, conducted by Tyler Bainter, a student at Iowa State who will be Associate Conductor through the 2017-18 season, presenting a selection on each concert as he prepares for his graduate work. The "Bacchanale" from Samson and Delilah by Saint-SaŽns and DvořŠk's Serenade were also Deb's choices. She enjoyed playing the second movement of Marcello's Oboe Concerto; Angela Sass will play the solo and our principal bassoon, Deb's husband Rich Gordley, will conduct.

I have added the Fanfare from La Peri (The Fairies) by Paul Dukas and Selections from Funny Girl to round out the program.

I am certain that you will find much for all ages to enjoy on this concert; and the orchestra looks forward to presenting it. We do appreciate your support and we hope that you will be able to attend both the concert and the talk beforehand.

As always, we offer to anyone attending our dress rehearsal (9:30 a.m. to noon on Sat., May 20th, in Sheslow Auditorium) the unique opportunity of sitting onstage among the orchestra members. This is informal, for all ages, and free!


Carl B. Johnson, Music Director and Conductor