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- Don't miss Sounds Like Fun! TONIGHT at the Centrum in Spring! https://t.co/vd7zKoRESg #hsslf 07:30:45 PM June 11, 2013 from web ReplyRetweetFavorite
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I am from south-central Pennsylvania and how I got interested in symphonies is perhaps typical of many in my age group and from the area in which I was raised.
I am from a small town close to Gettysburg. I began singing at a very young age much to the chagrin of my sister. Our musical tastes were so different!
Leonard Bernstein rescued me on Saturday mornings with his Young People’s Concerts. Wow – I was transported to another world. I not only got to hear beautiful music, I was educated as to all the instruments and their place in a symphony. I was more than turned on to the symphony. I was imbued with it.
I have been a subscriber for a number of years to the Houston Symphony and am proud to be. For me, the best symphony took place last year when I had tickets for a performance but could not attend. I gave my two tickets to a University of Houston student who took his girlfriend, a University of St Thomas student. This was a first time for either to attend a symphony. For me their excitement transported me back to my first attendance at a symphony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The U of H student sent me so many text messages the evening he and his girlfriend attended. Of course, I reminded him of phone decorum and do think he adhered to all the rules and regulations.
Seeing and hearing the symphony from two who never attended was for me the ultimate. I so wish I could expose more to our great symphony. Sometimes, all it takes is one experience. I was fortunate, I was a self-starter. Some, on the other hand, need a push. I freely give my tickets to college students when I cannot attend which is so very rare. I once gave a ticket to a university football player (but that’s another story).
Plus, he told me to never talk about the fact that he attended the symphony and was eager to go again.
-Floyd Robinson, subscriber
Question of the day: How were you introduced to symphonic music? Have you ever introduced someone else to symphonic music? Please share in the comment section below.
I have enjoyed enriching music ever since youth. My wife and I both grew up playing instruments in our schools’ band programs, and I into college. I cut my teeth on Maurice Abravanel and later Joseph Silverstein with the Utah Symphony, and after moving to The Woodlands in the mid-1990s, was introduced to the Houston Symphony at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. What a wonderful treat to have such a magnificent symphony right here in Houston.
We began purchasing season tickets to the POPS Series about 9 or 10 years ago. We make it a special date night and go out to dinner, the highlight the evening with the Houston Symphony POPS nine times a year. We also enjoy some of the Special Concert Series. This past year’s favorite Symphony Special was with Tony Bennett. It was a gift and honor to see him perform here in Houston.
My wife Trish and I look forward every month to our Houston Symphony night out with great anticipation. We are most pleased with the unique guest performers and artists, and the large variety of music that conductor Michael Krajewski lines up for each year’s schedule. We are often times richly rewarded and surprised with the talent of the guest performers that we are not very familiar with.
We are committed lifetime season ticket subscribers and love our Houston Symphony!
-Bryan and Trish Felt, Subscribers
The Houston Symphony has been woven through our lives for decades. We’ve both served as trustees and on committee, had the pleasure of getting to know some of the musicians and their families, and many music directors. But it’s the musical experiences that fill our souls and hearts. Whether it’s Mahler or the Mariachi Orchestra, Pink Martini or Purcell, we are always grateful for our amazing symphony. Thank you, HSO!
-Rita & Blair Justice, donors and subscribers
I have always enjoyed music. My parents had a subscription to the Houston Symphony for many years. My first memory of going to the Symphony was in junior high school. My family was downtown at an event that was not interesting to me so my dad bought me a ticket to the Symphony – it was summer and I was wearing shorts so the seat in the top balcony allowed me to enjoy the music without feeling too self-conscious.
Playing the trombone was a large part of my youth. I gave it my all when I competed in state competitions and performed with the marching band at school. A highlight was having the privilege of playing with the Houston Symphony at the Festival of Schools back in 1983 and 1984. Performing Tchaikovsky and Dvořák symphonies alongside Allen Barnhill is something I will never forget.
Although I no longer play, music continues to have an influence on my life. My second date with my now wife was at the Houston Symphony. We have been subscribers ever since. Together we also experience music worldwide, from comedic Chinese opera, to the surprisingly melodic yet rudimentary instruments of Burkina Faso, to a quick weekend jaunt “across the pond” to hear the London Symphony’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet or the Proms in Gothenburg, Sweden. Even going on safari brings us to Maasai chants, Samburu instruments, and common church hymns with an African beat. Music has a way of making you feel at home wherever you are.
But we always enjoy coming home to Jones Hall to hear our Houston Symphony. I tend to like the large orchestral works while my wife favors chamber music, so the variety of music performed by the symphony is much enjoyed. Our favorite recent memory was at the end of the Verdi Requiem — the piece was so moving that instead of immediate applause the audience just sat in silence until the echoes from the music stopped. We look forward to many more moments in the future seasons.
-Mark Smith, donor and subscriber
I literally grew up with the Houston Symphony. My father, Irving Wadler, was a first violinist with the orchestra, and he played continually from 1933 until his retirement in 1980. So a large and wonderful part of my childhood and adolescence was spent going to all sorts of concerts, meeting great artists, and getting a terrific musical education.
I have so many memories that I could fill book writing about my many experiences. It was a special joy to meet some of the past conductors – Leopold Stokowsi was fascinated by the “poodle skirt” I wore to a party for the children of symphony musicians in the 1950’s. I remember how exciting it was to visit Sir John Barbarolli in his dressing room after a concert in London. I had been studying there during college, and when I went to the stage door and told them my dad played in the Houston Symphony, he ushered me right in and was so happy to talk about the Houston Symphony and what a good orchestra it was. I also was privileged to join my parents at a White House reception given by Lady Bird Johnson to honor the symphony during their concert tour to Washington, D.C.
The most fun experience happened when I was about 8 years old and was invited to actually conduct the orchestra at an outdoor summer concert at Miller Theatre. That venue was nothing more than a simple band shell in those days and the audience sat on the lawn very close to the stage. Our good friend, Andor Toth who was the associate concertmaster and conductor during the summer, thought it would be a cute idea to talk to the children and explain to them that conducting was not really all that hard once you learned to keep the beat. He then said he would call up a child from the audience to prove that almost anyone could learn to conduct in waltz time. He picked me, and of course, it looked like he just chose me at random. But we had arranged this all ahead of time, and I even came to rehearsal that morning to practice. It was pretty exciting for me to be standing on the podium in front of the musicians, but when I looked directly to my left, there was longtime friend, concertmaster Ray Fliegel, and my father, and that made everything more relaxed.
It is a wonderful thing to be a part of the Houston Symphony in my adult years, and to be able to give back to the organization that played such a pivotal role in my life.
-Bobbie Newman, donor and subscriber