After our lovely experience on Sunday with our Classical Breakfast, we are excited for our Gala at SPAC on Saturday, August 22. We have the great fortune to have a world-class orchestra here in our backyard in the summer – we’ve celebrated the ongoing growth of classical music with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 18 summers, in an evening that combines outstanding music, an elegant outdoor setting, delicious food and a chance to meet new friends. Over the years we have experienced performances by artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, Branford Marsalis, Alisa Wilerstein, Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman and Van Cliburn.
This year’s program features Beatrice Rana, named by the prestigious International Piano magazine as “One to Watch” in 2013, and highlighted again in the magazine’s “30 under 30” list in 2014. The evening concludes with Tchaiowsky’s 1812 Overture complete with fireworks on the lawn. For the first time this year we are offering the option of lawn seats, in order to encourage attendance by younger audience members – it should be a great evening and a wonderful way to introduce the joys of classical music. For more information about the gala click here.
With a champagne buffet at the renowned Hall of Springs before the concert and seats in the amphitheater secured, the only question is the weather. And for the most part, we’ve been pretty lucky over the years. It’s been reasonably comfortable – although we have had a few rainstorms, and some hot nights.
But the most memorable evening was the concert that didn’t happen.
One year – and I can’t remember whether it was 2006 or 2007 – violinist Sarah Chang was scheduled to appear with the orchestra. The evening was unsettled and the wind began to pick up during dinner. As we made our way from the portico of the Hall of Springs and settled into our seats, an intense summer thunderstorm broke over us and the power to the theater went out. With water coursing down the concrete floor of SPAC’s amphitheater, we waited for half an hour or more, wondering whether the issue would be resolved. Although the rain subsided, the theater stayed dark. About 45 minutes from the scheduled start time, Sarah Chang stepped onto the stage in a white gown with her violin, lit only by flashlight, and performed a solo: Fritz Kreisler’s Recitative and Scherzo.
When she finished, we made our way up the dark steps to our cars. Despite the lack of the scheduled performance, it was a treasured evening. For what is music but the connection between performer and audience?
For another reflection on the evening: Sharing Art Through The Storm
If you were there night, what do you remember? And wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience music in a similar way this August 22?