My job as Savannah Dream Vacations Local Concierge definitely has its Priveledges and this week my VIP Pass gave me a FRONT ROW SEAT to the Savannah Philharmonic Dress Rehearsal for their First Performance of the Season. “Bernstein, Buckley and Beethoven” was performed to a SOLD OUT Audience on Saturday, September 21st so I felt very lucky to be able to have a sneak peek into the Magic of Opening Night.
My new found love for Classical Music began this past August when I attended the First Annual Savannah Voice Festival. The Festival’s Death By Aria event allowed me to experience Opera from a Fresh Perspective and opened my eyes to the Cultural Art Community in Savannah. One of the most exciting things I learned through the Festival was about the existence of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. I had NO IDEA Savannah even HAD a Philharmonic, which I’m guessing is a direct result of watching too much of the Real Housewives instead of cultivating my Cultural Side, but all that has now changed.
I would like to take a minute of this blog to give a Shout Out to Mary Catherine Mousourakis, Orchestra Manager of the Philharmonic, for offering me a generous invitation to attend the Dress Rehearsal for the Opening Night Performance at the Lucas Theater In Savannah Thank you for helping me expand my horizons and I look forward to learning more about the organization and volunteering for upcoming events.
This was my first time at the Lucas Theater and I was very impressed with its Ornate Decor and Impressive Architecture and I felt like I had stepped back in time to Savannah’s Historical Past. There were only a few audience members in the Theater so I made my way down the Aisle to the Best Seat in the House – 4th Row Center! This is the closest I’ve ever been to a Live Orchestra unless you want to count the year I spent as First Chair Saxophone in the 7th Grade Band. Unfortunately, I had to give up on my musical dreams in order to pursue more important things, like boys. Looking back on my Band Days, I remember all the hours of practice I spent learning “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” so I can only imagine the Dedicated Hours of Practice that the Orchestra Members must spend to learn these elaborate pieces of music.
Before the performance began, the Orchestra received an uplifting review of the continued success of the Savannah Philharmonic by Executive Director, David Pratt. As David expressed his gratitude to the Members of the Orchestra for all of their hard work and talent, I felt like I was watching the Braveheart Freedom Speech as he Rallies the Troops for Battle. It was very Motivational to hear about the dramatic growth of this Non-Profit Organization over the last 5 years and as David so eloquently put it, “The Savannah Philharmonic is Here to STAY!”
David went on to add that the Philharmonic ended its last season with 278 Subscribers and this year they already had 350+ Subscribers before Opening Night. If that isn’t good enough, all of the Orchestra’s Chamber Concerts are already sold out for the year AND as I already mentioned, their Opening Night Performance was completely Sold Out! Congratulations TEAM PHILHARMONIC!!
After David’s Inspirational Speech, Artistic Director and Conductor, Peter Shannon took to the stage to give the Orchestra their final notes before they began. The Audience rose to our feet as the National Anthem was played and the performance brought a Patriotic tear to my eye. Next, the Orchestra performed their first piece, “Candide” Overture by Leonard Bernstein. Shannon was very entertaining as I watched his terrific facial and body expressions while he directed the music. In fact, I am a bit surprised that he didn’t pull something! Each musician bobbed their head to Dance to the Music in their own special way and all of the performers were extremely focused on their part in the piece.
The Second Song performed was the World Premiere of Concierto for Violin and Orchestra composed by John Buckley , featuring Violin Soloist, Gwendolyn Masin. Listening to the Concierto took me to a different place, it had a haunting melody that made me feel like I was in a movie with Detective Nancy Drew and we were snooping for clues where we shouldn’t be looking.
I was completely mesmerized as I watched Gwendolyn perform because she was so precise and sharp with her movements. It appeared as if she never took her eyes off of the Conductor and I still haven’t figured out how she was able to watch his direction AND read the Music at the same time, but she was flawless and I was totally invested in the performance. PLUS I got the opportunity to see the WORLD PREMIERE of the WORLD PREMIERE – pretty cool huh?
If you have never been to a Performance of the Savannah Philharmonic WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? Tickets are moving fast and these seats won’t last long. You can catch a special performance of the Orchestra and Chorus accompanied by Guest Soloists from the VOICExperience at Savannah’s Picnic in the Park event taking place at Forsyth Park on Sunday, October 6th at 7:15pm. The Philharmonic’s next performance at the Lucas Theater will be “The Faure Requium” on Sunday, Oct. 20th at 5pm.
The Savannah Philharmonic is a Non-Profit Organization that relies on the support of our Local Community, so Become a Supporter and Donate Now to help keep your Local Concierge away from those Darn Real Housewives. There are alsoVolunteer Opportunities available, so turn off the TV and come out to be a part of this Inspirational Organization.