When I was choosing the repertoire for the Longmont Symphony’s 51st season, I had the idea to program Elgar’s Enigma Variations for our season opener because the work is about friendships – including expressions of love for family members, profound respect for friends and funny anecdotes. At times, Elgar refers to his friends “pictured” in the Variations by name, at other times, he only gives initials, and when he wants the people he is referencing to remain anonymous, he only indicates ***.
The experience of getting to know people here in Longmont has filled me with tremendous joy. In the spirit of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, where each vignette represents a friend, I wanted to share my thoughts on some of the stories and friendships involved as we prepare for our Opening Night.
Polly (my wife): I was out of town when I received the call from the LSO informing me that I had been selected for the position of Music Director. I was exceptionally honored and humbled to have been offered the position and was very excited to share the news with Polly. While she was very happy, she did have some reservations about leaving our home in Michigan. Witnessing her sense of adventure during this process has been incredible. Observing how she has embraced her new job and community has made me tremendously happy, and her new passion for interior decorating makes me laugh every day! My gratitude for her support leading up to this performance has no end.
Bob Olson: Bob (LSO’s Conductor Emeritus) and I met for coffee in May. As you may imagine, being passed the baton from someone who has been at the helm of any organization for 34 years can be daunting. He was so kind to not only offer me advice on the organization but on various ‘tips & techniques’ that he used during his tenure here. While I won’t divulge all, I will say that one did come in very helpful during our annual July 4th concert (my first performance as Music Director with the LSO). When I have a question about something LSO related, it has been fantastic to have Bob as a friend and colleague.
HH: Holly Hickman and I work together almost daily and complement each other well. As the newly hired marketing consultant for the LSO, Holly has demonstrated exceptional knowledge of the field, coupled with an eye for authentic creativity. She is one of the many individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the LSO what it is.
RP: Robert “Bob” Pilkey is a loving husband, father, veteran and the LSO’s board president. Under his watchful eye, the organization has already experienced positive change and growth. Through his extraordinary vision and commitment, he is inspiring us all to achieve the full potential of this great organization.
KL: Kay Lloyd has demonstrated a steady hand as the Executive Director of the LSO during this recent period of transition. And while it seems that everybody knows her extraordinary talents as our Executive Director, it must be said that she is an AMAZING flutist! Sharing her artistry with us, and observing her musical leadership, I feel so fortunate to have her as a leader among colleagues here.
***: I have been incredibly moved by an LSO musician, who shall remain anonymous. While we all face trials in life, this individual seems to have received a disproportionate number. Despite these trials, this musician continues to be an extremely active member and a fantastic asset to our orchestra. My experience tells me that this wonderful musician continues playing with us because the Longmont Symphony represents something more than just an organization that performs symphonic music – it’s a community of people who will bend over backward to help one another. I believe that by standing for something greater than ourselves, we invite the possibility of transformation into our lives. I hope that part of the reason that this player continues to give so much of themselves to the LSO is due to the feelings of love and support that they receive, which, when coupled with performing some of the greatest musical works, creates the space for healing through music.
CBM (aka “Mom”): My mom has a very special place on this list. For the last few months, she has been undergoing radiation therapy. When she began the treatment, it was unclear if my parents would be able to come to our season opener. I am happy and relieved to say that her last treatment will take place a few days before our performance and that my parents will be there cheering!
Thinking of what my mom and *** have gone through just to make it to the performance gives me pause. Who else in our audience is going through something similar? What incredible and challenging circumstances have people gone through just to make it to the concert hall? Are there other orchestral musicians who draw strength from the Longmont Symphony’s community? Whose life will be altered by meeting Carter Pann and hearing his work Slalom? Who will draw from the well of inspiration that is Spencer Myer’s artistry? And who in the audience will feel as though the message in Elgar’s Enigma Variations touched their life just at the right moment?
The Longmont Symphony musicians, board and I will be heading to Bin 46 Wine Bar + Restaurant after the October 7 concert. In the spirit of making new friends, I hope that you will join us. It promises to be an opportunity for us to exchange thoughts about great music, art, food, and our wonderful community. Hope to see you at the concert and after-party!