By Caitlin Custer and Eric Dundon
This summer, SLSO musicians are venturing out to a variety of locations throughout the region to share live performances with St. Louisans. From healthcare centers to local landmarks, check the schedule at slso.org/onthego to see when musicians will be giving a concert near you. And, check this page often for stories and photos of these performances.
Saturday, June 26
In a day of SLSO On the Go concert, SLSO musicians helped celebrate one of the biggest assets in St. Louis: Forest Park! Although the park's 145th birthday officially took place on June 24, festivities continued with SLSO On the Go concerts throughout the day at various locations in the park. At the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor & Education Center, a string quartet (Silvian Iticovici and Wendy Rosen, violins; Susan Gordon, viola; and Bjorn Ranheim, cello) performed works by Haydn and Beethoven before ending with a special medley of "Happy Birthday," arranged in various musical styles from a waltz to a rag. The park celebrated by offering free snow cones to the large crowd that filled the courtyard and surrounding lawn and playground. The afternoon concert concluded with a special performance by a quintet of cellists from the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, including Madeline Buchowski, Elinor Dana, Bryson Liang, Ellie Spangler, and Justin Wright.
Next up was an indoor performance at the Missouri History Museum. A small crowd gathered for the hourlong performance by a woodwind quintet consisting of Jennifer Nitchman, Xiomara Mass, Victoria Knutdson, Felica Foland, and Diana Haskell. After a fanfare introduction by Youth Orchestra trumpeters Nathanael Boston, Andrew Classen, and Sean Gallagher, the quintet performed new and already favorite repertoire like Valerie Coleman's "Umoja." And, Jennifer Nitchman introduced the Armed Forces Medley—mentioning wanting to honor veterans since the concert was so close to Independence Day—by sharing that this week was her 25th anniversary of going to boot camp before she went on to play in the Army Field Band.
The first stop of the day was at the Forest Park Boathouse. SLSO Trombonists Tim Myers, Amanda Stewart, Jonathan Reycraft, and Gerry Pagano performed several tunes for the crowd. Trombonists from the Youth Orchestra Jesse Bortz, Noah Davies, Thomas Gustafson, and Noah Woerther performed a few pieces alongisde the SLSO musicians, as well as one piece on their own. Many had lined up for the concert early, while others happened upon it while out on a walk, and still more enjoyed the music from paddle boats and paddle boards on the lake—and several dogs, ducks, turtles, and egrets gathered for the music, too.
Friday, June 25
Three chamber ensembles from the SLSO—a woodwind quintet, brass quintet, and string quartet—gave a concert in central St. Louis County at The J for the first-ever, city-wide Symphony Prelude to Shabbat. Concertgoers ranged in age from not-yet-walking to octogenarians. A musician from each ensemble introduced their pieces along with remarks on how happy they were to be performing for a live audience. Trombonist Gerry Pagano said of performing: "We do it because we love it. We do it because you love it." The highlight of the evening was when Rabbi Amy Feder joined the string quartet as a vocalist, singing a few tunes including, as she put it, "some from a couple of nice Jewish boys you may have heard of: George and Ira Gershwin."
Saturday, June 19
The congregation of Washington Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church welcomed members of the SLSO for a program of celebration and remembrance in honor of Juneteenth. A string quartet (Hannah Ji and Janet Carpenter, violins; Andrew François, viola; and Alvin McCall, cello) and brass quintet (Wes Skidgel and Mary Weber, trumpets; Tod Bowermaster, horn; Amanda Stewart and Gerry Pagano, trombones) were joined by members of the SLSO IN UNISON Chorus and the chorus' director, Kevin McBeth, for a hourlong concert of music that included works by Florence Price, William Grant Still, George Walker, as well as arrangements of traditional spirituals including "Amazing Grace," "Little Innocent Lamb," and "Deep River." The enthusiastic audience learned about Juneteenth from Kimberly Turner and her mother, Denise Turner, the church's 28-year coordinator for IN UNISON, the SLSO's long-standing community outreach initiative that also includes a chorus that specializes in the performance and preservation of music of African and African American cultures.
Thursday, June 8
Employees at Missouri Baptist Medical Center enjoyed a matinée performance from three SLSO ensembles: a string quartet, double bass quartet, and trombone quartet. Patients and employees in a nearby building joined the dozens of hospital staff who gathered to eat lunch and enjoy music outside. The string quartet of Silvian Iticovici, Shawn Weil, Shannon Williams, and Lizzie Chung presented works by Joseph Haydn, George Walker, and George Gershwin. The double bass quartet of Aleck Belcher, Brendan Fitzgerald, Sarah Hogan Kaiser, and David DeRiso followed with works by Scott Joplin, Anton Bruckner, and Johannes Brahms, while the Trombones of the SLSO—Tim Myers, Amanda Stewart, Jonathan Reycraft, and Gerry Pagano—concluded with a St. Louis-inspired program.
Wednesday, June 2
The first stop was a courtyard on Mercy's campus in Creve Coeur. Steve Mackin, Mercy's Executive Vice President, welcomed the small crowd who had gathered. "Once the music starts," he said, "you'll notice the windows in the building behind me start to open, as we share the healing power of music." In addition to those listening by their window, many staff and medical workers enjoyed their lunch during the concert, which featured several pieces from a bass quartet of Aleck Belcher, Brendan Fitzgerald, Sarah Hogan Kaiser, and David DeRiso, followed by another set of pieces by a string quartet of Silvian Iticovici, Shawn Weil, Shannon Williams, and Lizzie Chung.