Glancing Back and Leaping Forward

PaulLizQSOAEach passing year brings new experiences in my own life as a parent and teacher. The years quickly flitter by and it’s rewarding to reflect on the past year and also exciting and exhilarating to peer forward into the next. My own children enjoyed a rich and abundant school year augmented with baseball, soccer, tennis, band and chorus. This fall, my son Paul leaves home and starts his first year at Quincy University. My daughter Elizabeth will begin her senior year at Macomb High School. When I started my first season as Music Director of the QSOA (2007), they loyally attended our programs in Morrison Theater and always came backstage after the program not only to congratulate their father but also locate any candy and snacks that were left in my dressing room. In recent years, my children frequently find themselves in different cities on concert days, which is the reality of growing up and fulfilling numerous responsibilities. The university and high school student musicians who join the QSOA are also on a timetable and have a relatively short tenure as they move on to new experiences transitioning to college, graduate school and life. We will miss many of those wonderful contributors who begin their own new chapters and experiences.

As I look back over the last eight years, I feel a great sense of pride in the organizations’ growing accomplishments including performances of a long list of rich repertoire and an impressive collection of newly commissioned pieces. We’ve also explored two major productions from the Chicago Symphony’s Beyond the Score collection involving video projections, actors and the orchestra and staged Peter Boyer’s multimedia Ellis Island, the Dream of America. As we embraced the overwhelming power and exhilaration of Respighi’s Pines of the Appian Way last April, one could simply inquire, “what’s next?!”

The QSOA’s 2015-2016 season showcases two Fifth Symphonies of revolutionary concept and design. In October we begin the season with Beethoven’s monumental Symphony 5 and in April we’ll conclude the season with Shostakovich’s Symphony 5. Between these immense musical pillars you’ll find a newly commissioned work by composer James Caldwell featuring orchestra and electronic sounds. Soprano Penelope Shumate is featured on Beethoven’s virtuoso concert aria “Ah, perfido.” Audiences will also enjoy music from the American movie theaters in November with featured guest, Ben Bumbry and his combo. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony 1 anchors the February concert and the Symphony Chorus joins the orchestra in April on Karl Jenkins’ The Peacemakers. After the 2015-2016 season, let’s meet again in April 2016 and ask the question, “what’s next?!”