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Emily Grossman

Northern Lights

October 16, 2012 at 2:01 AM

(Aurora borealis, 10-13-12. Photo courtesy my next door neighbor, Stephanie Snyder)


The first snowfall came in a silent, smothering hush of white, making travel difficult for those who hadn't gotten around to changing tires. As a result, the church was noticeably thinner in audience for Saturday's performance by Kathryn Hoffer, Roxann Selland Berry, and Maria Allison. Many of the familiar elderly faces were absent, but so many of the loyal regulars managed to make it in spite of the weather. And me? I wouldn't miss it for anything. Kathryn is the concertmaster of the Anchorage Symphony, and Roxann is the principal flautist. Not only that, but they were performing a new work by Canadian composer Kenneth Nichols. As the trio shared a fresh program of modern works, I felt privileged to be able to enjoy such a treat. Looking out across the audience, I could see I wasn't alone in my sentiments.

We have such a beautiful audience here in Soldotna. I've never once taken for granted a single gracious face or thirsty ear. I can always trust their welcoming applause, un-jaded enjoyment, and appreciative reception. They come ready to soak up any culture they can get, and I feel deeply that it is our responsibility as musicians to make it happen for them. The town of Soldotna exists amidst a harsh wilderness in a climate that promotes isolation and silences our efforts to shine, and a lot of good ideas simply never get off the ground. And that's the part I hate about living here. Musicians like Paul Rosenthal, Zuill Bailey--and tonight, Kathryn, Roxann, and Maria--are my heroes, and I'm so incredibly thankful to be able to experience world-class musicians in such an intimate setting because they took an interest in creating the venues in the first place.

I crave to emulate that concept myself, but I need help from others in making it happen. I know there are more like-minded, capable people out there--people like my new cellist-friend Kevin, who could be anywhere playing with anyone, but fell in love with Alaska and came to stay. It truly is a bewitchingly beautiful state, and what setting could possibly be more profoundly inspiring to us artists and musicians? The snow may seek to suffocate, and the mountains may rise in resistance, but we will stubbornly tackle them for the rewards to be had, for the sake of the shining beauty that's to be shared with those thirsty ears.


From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 16, 2012 at 3:37 AM
What a gorgeous picture, wow! I can just imagine the music too.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 16, 2012 at 5:20 AM
I was in wonderland, walking under their display that night!
From Laurie Niles
Posted on October 16, 2012 at 6:01 AM
Beautiful!!!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM
Thanks so much for sharing the beauty of your environment with us. I think we sometimes forget how much we miss down here in the lower 48, but you remind us from time to time. However, I hope you changed your tires in time.

The folks up there in Soldotna are lucky to have you and the others there to remind them of the beauty and joy good music can provide.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 16, 2012 at 1:57 PM
I was a good girl and got them done that morning, Tom!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM
Nice work. BTW, I am glad to hear that you found a cellist. I know you really wanted one. Hopefully, great things will come from your collaboration.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 17, 2012 at 8:44 AM
He's coming Saturday for Beethoven Op. 11; cross your fingers on the road conditions. And maybe a little Brahms piano trio #1, but I've a long way to go on that one, and Maria has yet to see the music! (Sorry, Maria, I'll get that to you tomorrow morning for sure...)
From Christina C.
Posted on October 18, 2012 at 3:39 PM
Wonderful post Emily, so beautifully descriptive.

So glad that fate has sent you a cellist & hope you make the most of it...sounds like you're off to a great start. Piano trios = wonderful (especially with such a good pianist).... Brahms = awesome.... and I'm sure it'll be accompanied by something yummy, yes? Pretty much my idea of heaven right there.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 18, 2012 at 6:03 PM
Yes, it is... :)
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM
Heaven is Beethoven's Archduke Trio, my favorite piece of music.
From Randy Walton
Posted on October 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
An appreciative audience gives real satisfaction to a musical performer and you're blessed to have them.

I'm glad for you that your musical cravings are finding musicians with which to collaborate.

Alaska does possess some beautiful sights but it's way too cold for me!!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 19, 2012 at 4:22 PM
Currently 11 degrees F at my house--winter is here!
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 19, 2012 at 5:20 PM
AS long as it is not 11F in your house.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 19, 2012 at 9:24 PM
No, it's cozy warm, bright outside, and I'm listening to Beethoven Op.11. What a way to shut out the chill!

(Tomorrow's the day! So excited...)

From Randy Walton
Posted on October 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM
11F !!!!!!!! YIKES!!!! Can't stand the thought!:(

Good Luck!!! today, Emily.... as the saying goes....break a leg!!!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on October 21, 2012 at 3:07 AM
So happy... :)

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