May 2021 Newsletter
Happy May from the WSO! We have exciting news to share, as well as some fun upcoming events for your enjoyment! As better days appear ahead, we are looking forward to returning to MassBay at some point this fall. Until then, we’re busy creating ways for you to engage with the WSO safely, both in the comfort of your own homes and outdoors. Here is what we have on tap:
A New Virtual Performance from the WSO
Coming this weekend, a new virtual orchestral performance! Work is underway to record the Nocturne from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Suite. Elaine Kline, an alumna of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Apprentice Program will set the scene for the serene music which features WSO principal horn Jeff Stewart. We have already created several performances with smaller groups which you can find on our YouTube channel, including our February Valentine, “You Made Me Love You”!
The Second WSO Living Room Concert
Our second Living Room Concert was held on Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 pm, featuring our principal cellist, Seth MacLeod. We are proud to be a presenting partner with Groupmuse, an organization that empowers musicians and brings music into your living room. Here’s a small snippet from that performance. You can watch the whole concert on our YouTube Channel!
Our first Living Room Concert took place in January with WSO concertmaster Emil Altschuler giving a moving performance of solo violin music. You can watch it here.
WSO Search Committee Update
We are almost ready to announce the names of our guest conductors, and to give you a preview of our 2021-2022 season. We are thrilled about the innovative and creative programming that has been submitted, and look forward to sharing this with you.
We continue to work closely with MassBay in planning our 2021-22 season. Thank you for your patience and look for a season announcement coming some time in June!.
SAVE THE DATE!
WSO Pops Concert at Elm Bank
Wednesday evening, June 23 (rain date – June 30), 7-8 pm
Max Hobart will lead the orchestra in a special outdoor Pops concert at Elm Bank (home of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley). Mark your calendars for a fun evening of music in beautiful surroundings!
Tickets can be purchased here.
Congratulations to Leslie Holmes!
Leslie has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award from MassBay Community College! “We are truly grateful for your years of service to the College as president of our beloved orchestra-in-residence.” Leslie retired from the WSO Board at the end of December 2020. The commencement will be a virtual celebration this year.
Meet a WSO Musician!
We asked Jeff Stewart, our principal French Horn, who has a gorgeous solo in our forthcoming virtual performance (see above!), to talk with Jan Schwaner, our Board vice president. Here is the interview:
French horn player Jeff Stewart grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan as a pianist. When he was about to start high school, two of his best friends played in the band and he decided to take up an instrument so he could join them. His uncle, a band director, suggested that he take up the bassoon, gave him a lesson, and wrote to Jeff’s band director. When he went to see the band director in the fall, there was only a French horn available, so that became his instrument. Having played the piano for years, he understood the importance of practicing. He made the third band, and by senior year was first horn in the top band. At the University of Michigan he played horn in the marching band, but gave it up after his first year because it took too much time from his demanding engineering course. He started playing again once he moved to Massachusetts, and then met Shelagh Abate, a teacher who transformed his playing. He discovered chamber music and has played at the Bennington and Vermont Music and Arts Conferences, as well as with friends. He plays in the New England Philharmonic and Concord Orchestra as well as in the Wellesley Symphony. What he enjoys most about the WSO is that director Max Hobart often chooses pieces with challenging and exposed horn parts. The Nocturne from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a favorite.dit me. It's easy.