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WSO Musicians Help You Learn About Music!

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


It's almost spring - there are little daffodil shoots and I have even seen some teeny flowers blooming along my favorite path by Morse Pond. It's fitting that our annual Family Concert on Sunday, March 26 celebrates young people in particular - but we perform for everyone in your family and ours because we truly believe that live music brings all people together!


If you attend our performance (and I hope that you do!), you will be able to read the wonderful program notes written by bassist James Heazlewood-Dale. James is completing his Ph.D. in musicology at Brandeis and knows a lot about music. He always finds interesting tidbits to share.


Briefly, we will begin our program with Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," which will be enhanced by a slide show to help you learn about the instruments in a typical symphony orchestra. The Britten will be followed by the third movement of Mahler's first symphony (known as "The Titan"). However, this movement is not titan-like at all - it's a wonderful take on a well-known tune - "Frère Jacques" (Brother John), that we all learned at an early age!


Following the beautiful and somewhat somber Mahler, you will get to meet the winner of our Michael H. Welles Young Soloist Competition. This is an annual competition that we have held for several decades (minus a couple of pandemic years). Several years ago, friends of Michael Welles, one of our fabulous French horn players, gave a donation to the orchestra in Michael's honor to fund this competition. We generally have about 30 competitors and they are all terrific. This year's winner, Brian Lee, played the first movement of Shostakovich's first cello concerto so brilliantly that we (the judges) were blown away! We are grateful to the wonderful music teachers who work with these students, and to the amazing accompanists without whom the students couldn't audition. We are also grateful to the Dana Hall School of Music for graciously allowing us to hold our competition there.


Our final two pieces are also fantastic - in fact, Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" (arranged by Rimsky-Korsakov) is included in Disney's famous "Fantasia" movie. And to end with a rousing fanfare, we will perform Joan Tower's sixth "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman". Joan Tower is a contemporary female composer who was inspired by Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man". As a woman, I am especially pleased to play this piece!


On a sadder note, the orchestra members are mourning the loss of one of our beloved colleagues. Becky Moury, who played clarinet in the orchestra for many years, died recently from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease). In Becky's memory, the orchestra has pledged to donate 10% of all donations received from today through the date of our next concert, May 7, to Compassionate Care ALS, one of Becky's favorite ALS organizations.



Here is a beautiful tribute, written by Bobby Kipp, our principal oboe, and a dear friend of Becky's:


We are so sad to report that our beloved Becky Mourey, former WSO clarinetist, passed away on February 14, 2023. Diagnosed with ALS in 2020, Becky motivated us every day to fight unselfishly for change in the ALS research, therapeutic, and legislative space.


Many of us in the WSO have known Becky for over 20 years. We first got to know her through our shared love for and involvement in music. Becky was a fantastic clarinetist and music teacher. One of the experiences she most enjoyed during her WSO years was playing the bass clarinet in “Tubby the Tuba” at the Orchestra’s 2017 Family Concert. You can see this on YouTube (https://youtu.be/XJqPkFQjRmI).





Our shared love of music blossomed into much deeper friendships, and when Becky was diagnosed with ALS, many of us rallied around her to support her in her journey and in her fierce advocacy for desperately needed changes in the awful world of ALS.


We watched Becky unselfishly join ALS organizations and working groups, show up at legislators’ events (see https://youtu.be/8po1sqItJ9s), and enlist countless others to participate. All while she traveled her own terrible ALS journey. Always with insight, wisdom, humor, and compassion. All while being a loving and caring mother, wife, sister, aunt, and friend.



Several ALS organizations recognized how special Becky was by giving her awards. But that wasn’t her motivation. She just wanted change, and so do we.






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