AHREUM HAN - Organ Recital / Jan. 19th, 2013 Spivey Hall / Clayton State University:
visit her sight at

Ok, I got up this morning (Sunday 20th), checked the arts section of the Atlanta Constitution and yep,  just as I guessed there was not a review of Ahreum Han's organ recital. OR did I miss it ?  Uh, I'd say that it's a case of folks not being told of another great event in music. Allow me some of your time and I will try to explain the FLAWLESS and absolutely BRILLIANT performance of Ahreum.  I CAN NOT for the life of me figure out why "GREAT" newspapers will not write reviews of people that need to be reviewed or recognized. Oh my goodness, when I lived in Montgomery, Alabama I had to literally write a letter to the editor just to make mention of a great performance(s) that I'd seen or heard and my review/post to the editor would print before anyone else would write on the occasion......... anyway, you get my jest. 

Ok, I asked my friend Jim Tucker yesterday at lunch how to pronounce her name because like all musicologist "WE" want to be the first to know how to preach the "truth" in music. A' room (like I need a room), he said it's easy. So now you know.  Ahreum plays music at my friend Jim's church (First Presbyterian of Davenport, Iowa).  First of all I'll review the performance for you and then I'll post her bio from her website.  First of all a picture of her after the flawless performance.

You know the recital was at Spivey Hall, (I'll post something a little later about the beautiful organ that is there) but just to give you a brief overview of the organ check this out:

Ok, first of all this Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ is a Ruffatti Organ built by Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua, Italy, the organ curator Widener & Company of Grayson, Georgia. and the Virtuoso Pipe Organ Control System is built by Intergrated Organ Technologies of Atlanta, Georgia. (now that's just to wet your appitite)

The Program:

Carl Maria von WEBER Overture to Oberon

                                                  J.S. BACH Sinfonia, Cantata No. 29

                                    Sigfrid KARG-ELERT Valse Mignonne, Op. 142 No. 2

                                Thomas HEYWOOD Humoresque for a Pedal Trombone, Op. 28

Louis VIERNE From Pièces de Fantaisie pour Grand Orgue, Clair de Lune, Op. 53 No. 5; Symphonie
No. 6 in B minor, Op. 59: V. Final

Guy BOVET Hamburg Totentanz

 Max REGER Choral Fantasy on “Wachet Auf, ruft uns die Stimme” Op. 52 No. 2

Miss Han's performance was absolutely flawless from the beginning of the Weber (pronounced Va'ber),  where when my friend Gene Montgomery and I discussed (the organ is so much more complex to play than that of a piano), because of the pedals, stops and keys that are being played, it's almost like 5 different things, she is doing at one time. It was incredible, especially to see her "dance" on the foot pedals, in a almost waltz like state she was in as she was playing. Folks, I can't chew chewing gum and walk at the same time much less I would trip over my feet; Ms. Han was doing 5 times the work and not "just playing" notes. I will let my friend Gene Montgomery explain what all is happening in detail, at one time as she is playing. The Weber "Oberon" overture was filled with colors and it was brought to life by the acceleration of energy she applied to the keys, stops and pedals.  Next, was the Bach Sinfonia from Cantata # 29, WOW, oh my goodness how beautiful this piece was and as Ms. Han swayed back and forth to her own rhythmic beat, as she played it, was really quite remarkable, she looked as she and the organ we "one".  It was with the Karg-Elert that I was "really" captivated as the almost carnival sounds that she reproduced sounded almost like as she described in her brief synopsis of the piece, that it was to sound like a theater organ; not only did it sound like a theater organ but the sound that came from the organ "she manipulated" to make it sound almost like a carnival ride. I think this is where I broke the "ice" and called "bravo" from my seat, it must have been the right thing to do, because everyone seemed to follow suit. The Heywood Humoresque was delightful in it's own comical and "humor" way.  The Vierne (pronounced v' (then air) then a strong "n" at the end of his name) (don't be embarrassed, I didn't know how to say it either, my friend Gene Montgomery had to tell me how to pronounce it).  Vierne's Clair de Lune (not to be confused with Debussy's Clair de Lune), well folks I think I have found another "CLAIR de LUNE" that I love just as well. This piece was so rich in sound and beauty, I dozed off for just a few seconds and looked up at the art work on the organ and found myself "floating" in a cloud of musical notes. The Bovet Totentanz was delightful in it's sturdy and powerful notes and finally the Max Reger Fantasy, WOW, even for a new comer for me to be a Han performance, this was so overwhelming for me. It's beauty and powerful notes echoed throughout the music hall. It was hypnotic and breath taking. 

Organist Ahreum Han’s imaginative, powerful, and extraordinary performances have thrilled audiences throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. A rising star of the classical organ world, Ms. Han was a featured soloist at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists to be held in Nashville, Tennessee in 2012. She was a featured artist at the Regional Convention of the AGO held in Atlanta, Georgia (2007), the Winter Conclave of the AGO held in Sarasota, Florida, (2010), the Young Virtuosi Festival held at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, Colorado State University, Colorado, and the White Mountain Musical Arts Bach Festival in New Hampshire.

Ahreum has appeared as a solo recitalist at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall (Philadelphia); St. Bartholomew’s Church and Trinity Church, Wall Street (NYC); Princeton University Chapel; Memorial Chapel at Harvard University (Boston); Ocean Grove Auditorium (Ocean Grove, New Jersey), St. Philip’s Cathedral (Atlanta), Broadway Baptist Church (Fort Worth), Merrill Auditorium (Portland, Maine), Jack Singer Hall (Calgary, Canada), Michealskirche (Leipzig, Germany), Oxford Town Hall (Oxford, United Kingdom), Nottingham Albert Concert Hall (Nottingham, UK), and Esplanade Hall in Singapore. She has appeared as organ soloist with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at Kimmel Center and the University of Pennsylvania Orchestra at Irvine Auditorium.

Ms. Han has received top prizes from numerous competitions including the Oundle Award, undergraduate division of Westminster Choir College Scholarship Competition, the Charlotte Hoyt Bagnall Scholarship Competition, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Performance Competition, the John Rodland Memorial Church Music Scholarship Competition, the Albert Schweitzer organ competition, the Carlean Neihart Organ Competition, the Edwin Seder prize at Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the West Chester University Organ Competition. Her live performances have been featured on the radio show PIPEDREAMS from American Public Media.

She was born in Seoul, Korea. Her family immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia when she was sixteen. Ahreum graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in organ performance from Westminster Choir College where she studied with Ken Cowan. She obtained a Diploma from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music having studied with Alan Morrison. Ms. Han received her Master’s degree from Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music studied with Thomas Murray.

Ahreum is presently the Principal Organist, Assistant Director of Music, and Artist-in-Residence at First Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa. She also is on organ faculty as Lecturer at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She has served as the Principal Organist at First Presbyterian Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania, an organist at Marquand Chapel of Yale Divinity School, an organist the Berkeley Divinity School of Yale University, and Organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut.

Per Ms. Han's request we insert some pictures of the event for your and her pleasure.

left to right:
Jim and Annette Maxey, Jim Tucker, Gene Montgomery.  Jim Tucker and Annette Maxey

Ahreum Han receiving her THIRD curtain call


Mark Hughes and Richard Morris - Organ / Trumpet Recital / April 27th, 2013 Spivey Hall / Clayton State University:

Some say that Richard Morris comes across as a "cranky" organist and prof. of music at Clayton State University; I say he is a brilliant Maestro that pulled off some incredible feats of music performance today. He made several comments that most people would have to think about before they found it comical but then soon would burst out with laughter because his comments really are funny. I met him up close and personal after the concert and his warm personality is just a overwhelming as his witty comments.

So then, Spivey Hall organist-in-residence Richard Morris is one of few organists with the honor of having been presented in recital by New York’s Carnegie Hall, a highlight of his distinguished concert and recording career.

Drawing on his unsurpassed knowledge of Spivey Hall’s magnificent Fratelli Ruffatti pipe organ, he reveals in recital his artistic mastery of a far-ranging repertoire. Morris is equally renowned for the commentary and acerbic wit that accompany his performances, applauded by loyal and enthusiastic audiences. Mark Hughes on the other hand is one of the finest trumpet and cornet players that I've ever heard, without doubt. Mark "knows how to spin out a long line with the eloquence of a gifted singer," says Derrick Henry of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Hughes developed his abilities while a student at Northwestern University where he studied with the late Vincent Cichowicz of the Chicago Symphony. After graduation, he was selected to be in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago allowing him to be a scholarship student with Adolph Herseth, the legendary Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony.

Hughes then began touring with Richard Morris as the popular organ and trumpet duo, "Toccatas and Flourishes," performing throughout the US and Canada. His appo-intment as Associate Principal Trumpet with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra followed, a position he held for 12 years. During his time with the ASO, he appeared as soloist with the orchestra on numerous occasions, performed on dozens of recordings, and was an active studio musician.

Mark is currently Principal Trumpet of the Houston Symphony, a position he has held since 2006. He has appeared as soloist with the orchestra on several occasions, including the performance of the Shostakovich Concerto #1 for Piano and Trumpet with Jon Kimura Parker, a performance heard nationally on American Public Radio’s “Symphony Cast”. Since his arrival in Houston, Hughes has performed and recorded with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies, and continues to be in demand as a soloist, with orchestras and in recital. In addition, each summer Mark serves on the faculties of the Brevard Music Center and the Texas Music Festival. Mark lives in Bellaire with his wife Marilyn and their two children, Thomas and Caroline. So, having introduced these two fine gentlemen lets' talk about the concert. First and Foremost the folks there that were listening found as I did as it to be "FLAWLESS" as Ms. Hans' but this concert differed from that of Ms. Han's because hers was with tremendous energy, while the Morris/Hughes concert was "heavenly".  
Mark came out with two (what looked like trumpets) and Richard boarded the organ. Gene Montgomery whom sat next to me commented that the first 5 notes of Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man, would bring joyous tears to my eyes. Mark put the trumpet to his lips and began. I never have been so shocked in my life to hear the "fanfare" played like that, live and alive. Oh my goodness this young man "CAN PLAY" trumpet without error. 
I know everyone reading this has heard the fanfare by Aaron Copeland, Ric Flare used it as introduction when he came into the wrestling arena and Elvis Presley used is when he entered a room but Mark Hughes played it as though I'd heard it for my very first time. It was an absolute "transformation" of something mental into lively colors that flowed from the organ and trumpet into the concert hall.  What I mean by that is you knew that a man was playing organ and a man was playing trumpet but the essence that flowed from each instrument into the audience was breathtaking. 

The Program

Toccatas & Flourishes

Aaron Copeland (1900-1990) Fanfare for the Common Man - we've already established that this was an excellent piece played both the trumpet and organ harmonized with each other and it was unreal at times as to how on absolute on pitch both were.

Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)  Concerto in D major - Mark and Richard made this so humorous and delightful. In the middle of the piece, I believe where the trumpet took the lead and the organ followed suit, Mark played and Richard did not. Mark said "where are you" ? not embarrassed, Richard said "oh I got it now". I don't know if Mark was embarrassed but we were NOT, it was a difficult piece to play anyway and the two being as one was an absolute eye opener and the hint of humor and wit was just what the audience needed to loosen up and enjoy the concert not as a "uppity" performance but a laid back and "enjoy yourself" afternoon of classical music. Mark was impressive from the beginning and as surprised as he was to pick up and continue the piece we applauded he and Richard for their professional ability to pick up and press on with the ending of the piece without error. Comical ? yes but enjoyable even more. 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Sinfonia on "Nun danket alle Gott" ("Now Thank We All our God") this famous piece by Bach was highlighted

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) Arioso from Cantata BWV 156 - if the wondering of having  to start over in the Albinoni piece was still fresh in the back of folks minds, it was quickly dissolved with the absolute breath taking Arioso performance, because it was so perfect I could not even believe it myself. If a redemption was needed this piece complete that. I have the Arioso by so many people it's really not imaginable as to really how many different versions I do have of it. When you have close to 25,000 compact disks, one tends to duplicate a lot, and generally don't duplicate with duplications and much the same piece played by several different artists and composers (if you want to call that a duplication). ANYWAY it was so beautiful, I won't lie, I cried during the piece, I've never listened to it (even when I was commissioned to play it for weddings), did it affect me like listening to it today. Mark never implied he was out of breath but where he got that extra burst of air to hold out the notes was incredible to me.  

Eugene Gigout (1844-1925)  Grand Choeur dialogue -  

+++++ Intermission ++++++

Herbert L. Clarke (1867-1945) Sounds from the Hudson - ** borrowed from wiki as being a great story. Mark Hughes gave this wonderful story before playing this piece. It's a bit extensive but so very interesting. Here we go:

Clarke was born in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1867. The son of composer, organist, and organbuilder William Horatio Clarke, Herbert's family moved often to accommodate William's work engagements, from Massachusetts to Ohio, to Indiana, back to Massachusetts, and finally to Toronto in 1880. There were three brothers, Edwin, Ernest, and Herbert; all became prominent musicians, Edwin on cornet and flugelhorn (he also managed Sousa's Band in its 1911 world tour), Ernest on trombone (and later professor of trombone at Juilliard), and Herbert on cornet.
Clarke's early musical instruction had been on the violin; by 1881, he was a second violinist in the Toronto Philharmonic Society. However, according to his autobiography, one of the formative moments in his musical upbringing was attending a concert of D. W. ReevesAmerican Band ofProvidence, Rhode Island at the Horticultural Pavilion in Toronto in 1881, and hearing Bowen R. Church play a cornet solo. He subsequently began practicing his brother's cornet and took a chair as a cornetist in the Queen’s Own Rifle band in 1882, in order to obtain his own government-issue cornet on which to practice.
Between 1884, when he graduated from high school, and 1887, Clarke drifted between playing both viola and second cornet (when required) in the pit orchestra of English's Opera House in Indianapolis, where his family had moved; working (unhappily) at the John Kay store in Toronto, while playing second chair cornetist with the Queens’s Own; and playing at the Ontario Beach lake resort in the summer. He had joined the Queen's Own at the age of 14 (even though the legal age was 18), in order to obtain his first Cornet, a band owned Curtois. In Indianapolis he would finally buy his own horn, a Boston 3-star cornet. It was with the When Clothing Store Band that in 1886 Clarke won a solo cornet contest and received a one-of-a-kind pocket cornet made by the famous instrument maker, Henry Diston of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which can be seen at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[1] It was in 1887 that he joined the Citizen's Band of Toronto, under John Bayley, as the band's cornet soloist. He spent the next five years playing in and leading several bands around Toronto (the Taylor Safe Works Band, Heintzman Piano Company Band, Streetsville Ontario Band) and teaching viola at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (where he also played in the Toronto Conservatory String Quartet) and at the Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. In September 1889 he married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Loudon, with whom he had two children: Vivian (Grace) in 1890 and James (Edward James Watkin) in 1892. In the spring of 1892, he left Canada once again, after successfully auditioning for the 22nd Regiment N.Y.S.N.G Band in New York City, popularly known as "Gilmore's Band" and directed by Patrick Gilmore. He was introduced to Gilmore by his brother Ernest, who was already playing trombone with the band, and the audition took place at Gilmore's residence.
In 1893, he joined John Philip Sousa’s Band as a cornet soloist. After playing at the Chicago World's Fair in the same year, he left to play with various other bands, continuing to do so over the next five years. During this period, he held temporary positions as second trumpet with the New York Philharmonic, and as principal trumpet in the Metropolitan Opera, for which he temporarily switched to trumpet. He also divorced Lizzie Loudon and married Lillian Bell Hause, with whom he had two more children, Ruby Bell and Herbert L. Clarke, Jr.
In 1898 he returned to Sousa's Band, with whom he toured extensively. However, in late 1901 Clarke himself became leader of the American Band, the band which had made such an impression on him in his youth, and he moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Ironically, after only a year the band voted Clarke out as director in favor of Bowen R. Church, the same cornetist Clarke had admired when he first heard the band under Reeves. Clarke then formed his own band in Providence and occasionally conducted other local ensembles; he also led both the American Band in 1902 and his own band ("Clarke's Band of Providence") in 1903 in recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Clarke finally returned to Sousa's Band as solo cornet and assistant director in 1905 and conducted the band in many recording sessions for Victor at that time. Furthermore, he spent time testing and developing instruments for Conn Instruments in Elkhart, Indiana, and making a considerable number of solo recordings for Victor, Edison, Columbia, and finally Brunswick. He resigned from Sousa's band in September 1917, as he had determined to retire from active solo work at the age of fifty after hearing Jules Levy continue to play well past his prime. (He did make a few final recordings for Brunswick Records in New York in 1922, possibly to oblige his old friend Walter Rogers, Brunswick's musical director at the time.) Clarke returned to Canada to lead the Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band in Huntsville, Ontario from 1918 to 1923; during this time he performed very little, instead focusing his efforts not only on conducting, but also composition, and setting up his own school of cornet playing in Chicago.
In 1923, he moved to Long Beach, California due to his wife's health and conducted the Long Beach Municipal Band until 1943. In April 1934, he was elected President of the American Bandmasters Association. From 1936 until his death in 1945, he developed a friendship with and gave private lessons to Claude Gordon. His ashes were interred at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., near the gravesite of John Philip Sousa. His papers and memorabilia are held at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Pavane for a Dead Princess - (pronounced Pa'vane) When Karl Haas introduced this piece on his Major Ups / Minor Downs show, I heard it for my first time as being a novice in classical music. I didn't even know how to pronounce Pa'vane. Never the less it was a great piece for me to enter in my classical music collection as it has its own unique sound of haunting and emotional beauty. First of all when asked, Ravel quickly confessed he didn't write it for a deceased Princess at all, it was just a great name for the piece. I found that interesting.  Another piece of my all times to bring "tears to my eyes" this piece did. Mark was so awesome on this I've decided to post a YOUTUBE to just show you how very awesome he is. 

Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) Symphonie gothique: 2 mvt Andante sostenuto)  

Music from the English Chapels Royal - Including but not limited to one movement being Boyce it was a wonderful piece.

Houston trumpet player plays in symphony's master series

Mark Hughes didn't get the lead trumpet position in junior high school. But after his humbling defeat, he made a vow to himself to not be in second place.
Years later, he became the principal trumpet with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.
Friday morning he wanted to help aspiring musicians to fulfill their dreams. He learned from his college professor to help others.
"We know how to play the trumpet and know how to teach, it is our responsibility to share with others," Hughes said.
Trumpet players from Victoria East and West High Schools listened to Hughes the day before in his own concert.
The Victoria Symphony invited Hughes to be a part of the Master Series and encouraged him and other artists to reach out to the community.
Debbie Durham, the symphony's education coordinator, said it's important for students to see the standards of a professional musician.
One of the symphony's goals is to inspire, inform and engage the students, she said.
"Music is not a highbrow thing. It's relevant to children and students of all ages," she said.
It's been almost 30 years since Hughes sat in the classroom as a student. Now the student has become the master.
Hughes was inspired by the late Vincent Cichowicz, his professor who was a a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's trumpet section. He retired from the orchestra early to teach at Northwestern University.
Hughes, who's originally from Jonesboro, Ga., taught students about proper breathing and technique.
Playing the trumpet with them, he emphasized the importance of developing good habits.
Hughes advised the students that mastering an instrument takes a long-term commitment.
"It's going to take many, many hours of hard work," he said. "But the benefit can be very rewarding."

July 6th 2013 Blakely, Georgia. 
David and I had been going to New China Restaurant in Blakely for a long time and there is Mrs. Dong and her son Juigo. There they have a piano in the restaurant and Mrs. Dong knows I am in to music, so as we entered she had Juigo play for us. It was incredible to watch this "little" boy grow up to be a young man talented with the art of music. Coming later tonight is his video.


Sept. 29th 2013 Huntingdon College, Montgomery, Al. 
Huntingdon College Choir / Homecoming Concert
Ligon Chapel - Flowers Hall

As I surmised THE MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER was not there to hear this FLAWLESS performance of the Huntingdon College Choir under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Canfield, it will be up to me to explain in my own words of what the world has to look forward to by the outcome of Freshmen, Sophs, Jr's and Seniors at Huntingdon (especially in the music department). It seems that one Dr. Jennifer Canfield is doing her job because the hair that stood up on the back of my neck while listening to the Alma Mater (A Capella) listed below. Wow, in my own words flawless ! ok, but how to explain that without embarrassment to myself (because I know that Huntingdon students will read this and go OMG, at the grammatical errors), well forgive those in advance.  It was Huntingdon's annual homecoming concert; I'd rode up with my friend, Gene Montgomery, (you'll hear his excerpt here too), to hear him and turn pages for his playing the organ. I didn't know that in a few hours my heart would melt at the performance you are about to hear. It seems that Dr. Jennifer Canfield is only one of a few, if not the only full time posted music instructor at Huntingdon, (I'll get my information straight later on that) but her job consists of training the young people to sing and sing well.  Students obviously come there for studies in music (and may know how to sing and play an instrument well) but Canfield's job is to polish a student for the "big time".
My friend Allen Swafford whom used to write column reviews at the Montgomery Advertiser would get irate at me for pushing the fact the the MA did not EVER send reporters out to interview these performers or performances, so that is why I started in 2010 gearing up to do just that. The review of this performance, it is (as you will see) and was Sept. 29th "flawless and electric".  There are several points of interest about the concert all to be posted before the end of the month of Oct. 2013, but to start you off here are a few of several excerpts.
The concert started off with the Alma Mater arranged by Eddy Williams and under the direction here by the amazing  Mary Gasson (soprano) (later a full description about Mary and her singing)
Next was the incredible "The Prayer with Lead Us, Lord" arranged by Tom Fetke under the direction here by the choirs' director Dr. Jennifer K. Canfield. (all I can say is WOW !!!!!) see if you agree
The rest of the concert is coming up. But I'd be very remiss if I didn't expose Caleb Hart. (later a interview with Caleb and his playing) Oh me, wow, he is awesome.
Stay tuned for Mary Gasson's performance and the Huntingdon Harmony. (it is totally overwhelming).
Mary Gasson is an Instrumental and Choral Music Education Major. Mary's major instruments are Voice and the Bb Clarinet but she also is in the Marching Scarlet and the Grey Drum Line section leader. She was just musical instrumental Ed until her sophomore year when she began taking voice lessons. She is in the concert choir, Huntingdon Harmony Show Choir, and the Montgomery Chorale. She is part of the Gamble Music Production and Archive family of performers and she can be found at Gamble Music Production and Archive. Her excerpt of her solo at the recent Huntingdon College Homecoming Concert is played here. If you are a scout "you might want to take heed" she is a SENIOR at Huntingdon soon will be on to bigger and better things. If you are looking for a star, I'm sure she might be looking for a contract !!! You better grab her while you can.

Dec. 18th 2013
Helen Steineker’s name may not have been well known outside the Montgomery arts community — and she preferred it that way — but the people closest to her say she touched more lives through music than could ever be measured.
Steineker, manager of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra for 26 years, died early Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer. She was 60.
MSO conductor, Maestro Thomas Hinds, knew Steineker for 40 years.
“The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra is her creation,” said Hinds, who is now in his 31st season with the symphony. “There are hundreds and possibly thousands of people, over the course of the last 30 years or so, whose lives are better because Helen Steineker was there.”
Just Monday night, Hinds concluded the annual Holiday Pops concert with “Sleigh Ride,” dedicating it to Steineker because it was her favorite Christmas song. Only two months before, Steineker had played in the symphony’s opening night performance; less than a month ago, she was working with the group to prepare for a late November concert.
That did not surprise Sherry Culver Mann, MSO’s office manager, who worked with Steineker for 22 years.
“There was none any better,” Mann said of Steineker, with whom she spent every day at the organization’s office, a historic house on Hull Street in Old Alabama Town. “She would have lived here if she had needed to. She gave all of herself.”
A Montgomery native and graduate of Sidney Lanier High School, Steineker earned her bachelor’s degree in violin performance at the University of Alabama, then earned a master’s degree in the same curriculum at Penn State. After her music studies, she traveled the world, eventually becoming principal violinist of the National Orchestra of El Salvador.
By the time she returned to her hometown in the late 1970s, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra was in its early stages. She joined, not just as a playing member but also a fervent volunteer in fundraising and recruitment.
When Hinds arrived on the scene he encouraged Steineker, who had by then had earned a degree in public administration, to manage the orchestra.
History of the Montgomery Symphony

For 35 years, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra has played a key role in Montgomery's artistic community. Through the years, many people have given generously of their time, talent and resources to ensure that residents of Montgomery's River Region and the state of Alabama have the opportunity to hear great orchestral works performed. 

The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra began in 1976 under the direction of First United Methodist Church Music Director John Dressler who originally organized the group to accompany the church's choirs. Wind, brass and percussion players were recruited and a close relationship was developed with the City of Montgomery's Parks and Recreation Department through the efforts of Joanna Bosko, the city's Cultural Arts Supervisor and a member of the orchestra. The MSO rehearsed at the church and as it grew, began to offer concerts in the community. Maestro Dressler guided the young orchestra with great success and retired from the podium in 1979.

MSO trombonist Marshall Brown was the Orchestra's second conductor and led the MSO for three seasons. It was during this time that the orchestra's structure began to take shape. A Board of Directors was formed in 1980 and incorporated in 1981 under the leadership of Stanley Gregory, President. The Montgomery Symphony League formed a year later with Barbara Barnes serving as the first president. 

Following a year-long search for a new Music Director and Conductor, Thomas Hinds stepped onto the MSO's podium at the beginning of the 1983-84 season where he remains today. Many of the Symphony's best known concerts and programs, including the Children's Concerts, Broadway Under the Stars, the Montgomery Symphony Radio Show and the Fellowship Program, were instituted under his direction. His debut as Music Conductor coincided with the MSO's debut on the Davis Theatre stage.

In the late 1980's the organization turned its combined efforts toward nurturing the artistic development of the Orchestra. The Fellowship Program brought a world class violinist into the MSO's midst to help lead and inspire the strings. A new scholarship program sponsored by the League supported the musical development of the orchestra's volunteer musicians by subsidizing lessons and promoting attendance at music festivals. An instrument loan fund allowed players to purchase more professional caliber instruments. Finally, the MSO moved its weekly rehearsals from its longtime home at First United Methodist Church to the Davis Theatre. A professional administrative staff member was added in 1986, expanding the orchestra's capability to establish and maintain programs.

A focus on music education inspired the development of several programs in the 1990s. The Montgomery Symphony Radio Show first aired in 1992 and continues today, providing a weekly opportunity to educate listeners on all aspects of music. Two other programs, the Trawick Players and the Stringfellows Summer Music Seminar were initiated to provide musical learning opportunities for elementary and junior high students.

The key to the success of the Montgomery Symphony has always lived in the hearts of those who loved it. Through the years, hundreds of musicians have devoted nearly a half million volunteer hours to rehearse and perform the great music of the ages. Many musicians have pledged their Monday nights to the MSO for 30 years or more, including several charter members. The maturity they bring to the Orchestra's performances under girds its artistic success. In appreciation, they have been supported by the time, energy and resources of an entire community and sustained by the enthusiastic applause of a grateful audience.


SUNDAY, March 2nd, 2014 / Covenant United Methodist Church, Dothan, Al.

I posted on FACE BOOK that if I ever wanted to hear a heavenly choir, I heard it tonight. That is the truth. A choir made up of Wallace Community College students, Enterprise State Community College, First United Methodist Church, Covenant United Methodist Church and several friends made up the almost 100 member choir and the orchestra consisted of several members as well (about 25 people). The first piece was the Vivaldi "Gloria" in D / RV#589 and then the John Rutter "Gloria" under the direction of Dr. Phillip Copeland. 
I was thrilled beyond belief and so were the almost 500 people at the church attending this flawless concert. Per Claudia Bryan (music director at Covenant, it was an undertaking of almost 4 years) and it was so worth it. Even though the audience applauded after almost every movement, it was absolutely flawless. Dr. Jean Johnson was the accompaniment on organ with Dr. Ken Thomas turning the pages for her. There were so many people behind the scenes that helped, I couldn't even begin to know whom to thank for my great time. The Vivaldi Gloria 12 movements went my so fast, I couldn't believe it, concerts generally do that, when they are so very good. I asked Claudia had anyone recorded the concert for this night and she said yes audio but not video. I asked might I video tape it, if I promoted the churches and the colleges and she said yes. They are posted here. Eventually I will post the concert in it's entirety. 

Thursday March 13th, 2014

Wallace Community College, Dothan, Alabama tonight featured the Wallace Singers in "THE EVOLUTION OF MUSIC" under the direction of Claudia Bryan in Beneze Theater.  I'll comment on each song performed and then comment on the soloist artist and total performance. 
The Wallace Singers composed of 9 men and 7 ladies, the men in black with red ties and the ladies black dresses with red shoes. First and foremost the performance was a capella and that with in itself was a undertaking that was VERY IMPRESSIVE. It is very hard to sing a piece of music a capella starting by pitch pipe and the piece be "pop music".  A cappella (Italian for "in the manner of the church" or "in the manner of the chapel") music is specifically group, or solo, singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It contrasts with cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato style. In the 19th century a renewed interest in Renaissance polyphony coupled with an ignorance of the fact that vocal parts were often doubled by instrumentalists led to the term coming to mean unaccompanied vocal music.
The show began with music from the early 1900's to the 2000's. The show began with "Danny Boy" (1910's), very fitting since this celtic month features that song a lot but not sung this well, again they did it in a capella. The men set the tone and the ladies followed their music; the harmonizing was excellent and everyone was on pitch.  The soloists featured were: Amanda Hunt, Aaron Parrish, Jordan Hall and Daniel Thompson.  The "beat boxing" did not start until the next song "Happy Days" (1920's) (soloist featured were: Jordan Hall and Emily Jones), both were on key and on rhythmic beat, especially with the help of a few hidden "beat boxing" specialist in the background voices. Now if you don't know what "beat boxing" is, it takes a LOT of skill and a LOT of breath to do it. One has to keep the pitch and the right key and when there are key changes those can be tricky, I'm told. I can not do it, I can sing on key and on pitch but can't do beat boxing. We will use that term a lot before this review is over. Since the concert was without canned music there had to be some beat and some rythum and humming and singing to keep the beat of the song flowing. Tonight they did it without fail. They are really talented singers.  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was the Israel "Iz" Kaanoi Kamakawiwoole (Hawaiian pronunciation: [kəmkəvivoole]) translation: "The Fearless Eyed"; May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997), also called Bruddah Iz (Brother Iz), was a Hawaiian musician. It was his rendition that was pulled off without a hitch. It was done excellent.  The beat of the mouth drumming beats were very impressive and one I COULD NOT PULL OFF ! However the pitch was perfect and Baily Hope and Emily Jones did an excellent job.  The next piece "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was sung by all 7 ladies and no men. They harmonized and pitched perfectly to pull off a very hard piece of music.
Jessie Johnson and Daniel Thompson stole the show with their version of the Johnny Cash song "Walk the Line". The beat boxing of this piece was incredible because the timing slow, fast, slow, etc. There was a structure to the arrangement that was tricky but they did a great job from start to finish.

"La Bamba" featured the entire ensemble but no one was left out. It was a group effort or it would not get pulled off. From the pitched singing to the beat boxed structure of the rythmic tones changing keys from here and there, it made for a very interesting piece. It must have been just what the audience needed because the crowd erupted when the song was in the middle and at the end. "Stand by Me" and "Let it Be" were wonderful but it was "Master Blaster" that broke the monotony of the relaxed song to up beat tempo "get down" piece of music. The beat boxing was incredible again for this piece was from the 1980's and the other pieces up to this point I might be able to learn and pull off myself but I would NOT EVEN ATTEMPT to try this. Only a young person with a perfect sense of pitch and rhythmic beat be able to perform this. Maria Kenner, Tatiana Townsend and Jordan Hall soloist in this flawless piece of "rap" music from the 1980's. I don't particularly like rap music but this was so fun to listen to. Oh the crowd erupted again !  "Love Shack" featured Cameron Gray and Emily Jones both have strong voices that would make any maestro sit up and take notice ! JT McDaniel featured on the next piece "Under Pressure" I knew was going to be a treat. I competed against JT at Center Stage a couple years ago (and yes he beat me), his high notes that he reaches is really impressive and the audience seemed to like it tonight as well, the crowd once again came out of their seats, literally. Great job JT !! The next four pieces Tearing Up My Heart, Sunday Morning, Royals and I Can See the Light of a Brand New Day were all excellent pieces featuring Brandon Hannon and Wade Turner on the first two pieces and Baily Hope, Matt Crooms, Tatiana Townsend and Dylan Blair featured in "Royals" another fine piece just to sit back and listen to. The whole concert was worth attending again and listening to again. I am a fan of classical music, hardly do I ever attend anything much that has "fast pop songs" but oh me this was staged so well that even I got an appreciation for the art music of the 80's to the 2000's. Great job Wallace Singers.  

March 21, 2014 / Trinity Presbyterian Church / Montgomery, Al. 

Bach's 329th birthday could NOT have been more joyously celebrated than at Trinity tonight as Gene Montgomery paid homage to the composer by playing flawlessly two pieces. First was the Prelude in C Major BWV 547. You might want to see it here. This however is just the first selection in several pieces that will be posted here over the next couple of days. You see it still takes several hours to upload even a simple 9 minute video.  

========================================================================April 27th / Grace Episcopal Church / Montgomery Alabama / The Montgomery Youth Chorale under the direction of Joel Gregory and Rebecca (Becky) Taylor at piano. THE MYC Spring Concert

Thomas Morley - Now is the Month of Maying (madigral) - Now is the month of maying is one of the most famous of the English ballets, by Thomas Morley published in 1595. It is based on the canzonet So ben mi ch'a bon tempo used by Orazio Vecchi in his 1590 Selva di varia ricreatione.
The madrigal forms a key part of Oxford's May Morning celebrations, where the choir of Magdalen College sing the verses from the roof of the college's Great Tower.

Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing,
Fa la la la la la la la la,
Fa la la la la la lah.
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass.
Fa la la, etc...

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter's sadness,
Fa la la, etc...
And to the bagpipe's sound
The nymphs tread out their ground.
Fa la la, etc...
The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Catholic Christian prayer. It is widely but erroneously attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi. The prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in Paris in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell), published by La Ligue de la Sainte-Messe (The Holy Mass League). The author's name was not given, although it may have been the founder of La Ligue, Fr. Esther Bouquerel.  A professor at the University of Orleans in France, Dr. Christian Renoux, published a study of the prayer and its history in French in 2001.  The prayer has been known in the United States since 1927 when its first known translation in English appeared in January of that year in the Quaker magazine Friends' Intelligencer (Philadelphia), where it was attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Cardinal Francis Spellman and Senator Albert W. Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II.

Kyrie Eleison from the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by Johann Sebastian Bach is a musical setting of the complete Latin Mass. The work was one of Bach's last compositions, not completed until 1749, the year before his death. Much of the Mass gave new form to vocal music that Bach had composed throughout his career, dating back (in the case of the "Crucifixus") to 1714, but extensively revised. To complete the work, in the late 1740s Bach composed new sections of the Credo such as "Et incarnatus est".

"Shall We Gather at the River?" or simply "At the River" are the popular names for the traditional Christian hymn titled "Hanson Place," written by American poet and gospel music composer Robert Lowry (1826–1899). It was written in 1864 and is now in the public domain. The title "Hanson Place" is a reference to the original Hanson Place Baptist Church in Brooklyn, where Lowry, as a Baptist minister, sometimes served. The original building now houses a different denomination.  The music is in the key of key of D and uses an R meter. An arrangement was also composed by Charles Ives, and a later arrangement is included in Aaron Copland's Old American Songs (1952). The song was sung live at the 1980 funeral of American Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

Aaron Copeland - Ching a Ring Chaw (sometimes Ching-a-Ring, or Ching-a-Ring Shaw) is a song from the early days of the Minstrel tradition included by Aaron Copland in his Old American Songs.

Ching-a-ring-a ring ching ching,
Ho a ding-a-ding kum larkee,
Ching-a-ring-a ring ching ching,
Ho a ding kum larkee.
Brothers gather round,
Listen to this story,
'Bout the promised land,
An' the promised glory.
You don't need to fear,
If you have no money,
You don't need none there,
To buy you milk and honey.
There you'll ride in style,
Coach with four white horses,
There the evenin' meal,
Has one two three four courses.
Nights we all will dance
To the harp and fiddle,
Waltz and jig and prance,
"And Cast off down the middle!"
When the mornin' come,
All in grand and splendour,
Stand out in the sun,
And hear the holy thunder!
Brothers hear me out,
The promised land's a-comin'
Dance and sing and shout,
I hear them harps a strummin'.
Ching-a-ring-a ching
ching ching, ching a ring ching
Ching-a-ring-a ching ching,
ching-a-ring-a ching ching,
ring, ching ching ching CHAW !!!!
J'entends le Moulin (I Hear the Millwheel) - translation:  A girl who is watching a house being built (the water wheel (mill wheel) sounds "ticka ticka tocka" Inspired by the French Singing game J'entends le moulin. Researched the history of this French childrens song, some say it may go back as far at the early 1800's when a simular game was played then.

The MYC is an outstanding group of young people and I am so glad I took the time to drive 120 miles to hear this fabulous concert. WOW, what some great gifted singers. This stunning and flawless performance is yet another one that should have been raved over by the newspapers, yet I didn't see any there. Allow me to put credit where credit is due and applaud their abilities as young singers getting ready to go places in their music career. 

end of concert / reception afterwards.

1 comment:

Susan Carnes said...

The organ is awesome. I am sure everything was beautiful!