“Spring is in the Aire” celebrates the season
FROM FATHER, Wis. (WFRV) – In a way, spring was two years late this year.
A concert originally scheduled for April 19, 2020 and canceled in the dark early days of the COVID-19 pandemic was performed Sunday afternoon at the Walter Theater in the Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts at St. Norbert College.
The Civic Symphony of Green Bay concert entitled “Spring is in the Aire” included three separate works. Thoughts on them, in order:
A. The orchestra has a tradition of having a host who welcomes the audience and introduces the works, adding information about the piece and its composer.
The orchestra had a rare case on Sunday – a living composer speaking about a composition of his hand and his mind on the stage of the building which is his workhouse… then he sits in the audience and hears his music played . How is it special? Way. Additionally, he wrote the program notes for the printed program.
John Hennecken, PhD, is assistant professor of music at St. Norbert College.
In his introduction, he talked about his affinity with the styles of Ludwig van Beethoven and Dmitri Shostakovich, how his work was commissioned to connect sister cities in America and Japan, and how, when premiering in Japan, a listener made an unexpected connection.
An observation John Hennecken made along the way works for me as an invitation: when you listen to this brand of elevated music, you can “write your own story.”
The piece being played is “Everything is Beautiful in Its Time,” composed nearly 10 years ago, John Hennecken said.
A listener in Japan associated it with a tsunami. The work sometimes feels like a cataclysm. It’s a powerful, monumental and tumultuous big part – a sound image of disturbing force. For a moment the music shifts to a calmer mode with a kind of cold but comforting melancholy. At the conclusion, the principal violinist (Charlotte Bogda in this case) plays a very long note as if pulling an extremely fine silken thread. It’s a wonderful job.
Of them. Music director and conductor Seong-Kyung Graham has chosen a daunting challenge for the orchestra, a symphony by Robert Schumann with the popular title “Spring”.
The musicians performed very, very well. The audience got a glimpse of what inspired them. Throughout, Seong-Kyung Graham smiled as he guided the musicians with his hands. Her expressions indicated that she liked what Robert Schumann offers, she liked what she heard from the players and she was “gone” in the experience. The wide range of sounds in musical creation was a kind of camaraderie.
How to describe this music? Music of the ear as music of the eye: a Queen Anne house. A majestic structure. Elegant. Substantial. Two stories, with an expansive wrap-around veranda with ornaments in the roofline. Bright and strong colors. Solid columns. Pretty flowers lining the paths leading to the house and sturdy foliage in the garden. Inside, an ornate wooden floor, a grand staircase with carved railings with a chandelier there and above the front door. Many rooms full of people who are doers.
Three. The second half of the concert included the “Spring” and “Summer” movements from “The Four Seasons”, written by Antonio Vivaldi 299 years ago. Old? Pfffft. Forever is different from the old one.
Lawrence University faculty violinist Samantha George and large-scale performance veteran played and conducted two segments of the orchestra’s string sections.
The moves were a drop of a shoe. At the orchestra’s October 2021 concert, Samantha George performed the movements “Fall” and “Winter”.
On a different note: In March 2014, Samantha George performed the entire work with the now defunct Green Bay Symphony Orchestra at the Weidner Center.
That was then, and this was now: Samantha George, in a colorful, flowing dress and a light foot, pouring notes from her violin as she conducted with a nod here and a gesture with the tip of his instrument there.
It was music of yesteryear performed by people of today sensitive to the delicate but firm dynamics of music.
In one segment, Samantha George essentially clashed in a sonic compromise with the altos which included another professional player.
The One, Two and Three added to a beautiful and interesting afternoon of music by people who care.
Program: “Spring is in the Aire”
Host: John Hennecken
Conductor: Seong-Kyung Graham
+ “All beautiful in its time” – John Hennecken
+ “Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Opus 38 (“Spring”)” – Robert Schumann
+ “Spring” from “The Four Seasons” – Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor: Samantha George, violin
+ “Summer” from “The Four Seasons” – Antonio Vivaldi
Conductor: Samantha George, violin
+ First violin: Charlotte Bogda (concertmaster), Natalie Sturicz-Heiges, Chris Williams, Noah Schaffrick, Anatole Wiering, Samuel Bieneman, TJ Lutz, Brianna Healy, Beth Chafey-Hon
+ Second violin: Jennifer Coopman (lead), Claire Sternkopf, Dan Bogda, Patricia Wilson, Amanda Barnes, Hannah Loveless, Mary Beth Williams, Dwight Hayes, Joy Dunning
+ Viola: Allyson Fleck (lead), Cyndee Giebler, Kaleb Kohlmeyer, Brianna Kupsky, Martha Frater, Karin Barth
+ Cello: Adam Korber (solo), James Wagner, Hannah Barron, Chelsea Breyer, Luba Letunovskaya, David Giebler
+ Bass: Lee Klemens (lead), Jane Kanestrom, Tracy Pachan, James Wilke, Amy Warmenhoven
+ Flute: Lynn Liddle-Drewiske (solo), Jean Fontaine
+ Piccolo: Becky Fronek
+ Oboe: Shahnnon Hawkins (solo), Shawn Limberg
+ English horn: Kimberly Hawkinson
+ Clarinet: Timberly Kazmarek Marbes (solo), Althea Rosenberg
+ Bass clarinet: Melissa Huber
+ Bassoon: Rachel Richards (solo), Beth Shaw
+ Horn: William Klumb (co-principal), Andrew Parks (co-principal), Theresa Pelkey, Paul Oleksy, Lisa Niermann
+ Trumpet: Dan Marbes (solo), Carisa Lueck, Greg Sauve
+ Trombone: Bill Burroughs (solo), Brian Sauve
+ Tuba: Tim Kozlovsky
+ Percussion: Mindy Popke (solo), Mahri Hodges, Ben Taylor, Glenn Niessner
NEXT SEASON: 7 pm Saturday 8 October, Walter Theater, Saint-Norbert College: “Habanera” by Chabrier, “L’Arlésienne Suite n° 1” by Bizet, “Nemeth” by Utar Artun, with the Griffon string quartet. Time and date to be determined, a Saturday in November, Lambeau Field Atrium: dances, waltzes and ballet music including “Tales from the Viennese Forest” by Johann Strauss Jr., “Voices of Spring” and “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, “Pizzicato Polka” by Johann and Joseph Strauss, “Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson and “Hoe Down” by Aaron Copland. 7:00 p.m. Saturday, February 18, Walter Theatre, St. Norbert College: Familiar themes and arrangements from films such as ‘West Side Story’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘ET’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Frozen’. 3 p.m. Sunday, April 16, Walter Theatre, St. Norbert College: “American Fantasia for Orchestra” by Victor Herbert and “Ellis Island” by Peter Boyer.
THE PLACE: The 724-seat Byron L. Walter Theater includes a proscenium stage (flat facade). Its walls are made of textured concrete blocks laid in waves. The ceiling includes white acoustic clouds. Seating material and carpeting are the theater’s traditional red. The theater is located in the Abbot Pennings Fine Arts Hall of St. Norbert College in De Pere. It is the larger of the two theaters in the building, the core of which was constructed in 1955. In 1989, the Walter Theater was renovated to improve the lobby and interior aesthetics, adding seating and improving acoustics .
THE PERSON: Byron L. Walter (1877-1954) was a businessman. He ran Green Bay Hardware, Inc. until his retirement in 1953. Walter was a co-founder of Paper Converting Machine Co. and served for a time as president. After his death, the Byron L. Walter Family Trust was established and made the theater possible. The trust continues to make numerous contributions to community projects and institutions.