The Beethoven (Prometheus and Egmont) concert went well. Reviews were good although attendance was slim. Our next concert will be Made in America and will feature, as suggested, American composers. The music is fun and I can play most of it already. We are partnering with members of the Southern Crescent Youth Symphony for a few pieces. My stand partner is a 12 year old home schooled cutie. She makes me laugh.
I had the privilege of playing in a string ensemble last Saturday. It was for “A Service of Celebration of the Passing Over of Gene Priest” and all ensemble members were friends of his. Gene was a wonderful gentleman with a rich history – Methodist Minister, professional violinist, orchestra founder, concertmaster, founder of the Crescent String Quartet, Arts Clayton director, public school teacher, Sunday School teacher and inspirational friend/teacher/counselor to many. He waited patiently for a kidney transplant to no avail. As principal violinist, he welcomed me into the church orchestra his last year of playing and taught me something new every week at rehearsal. I was so intimidated and he bent over backwards to make me feel at ease. Gene wrote out directions for his celebration in detail and we played the pieces of his choice – Polovetzian Dance, Ode to Joy, Slavonic Dance, – there was to be nothing sad or dreary. One of his favorite and most talented high school students, now a 29-year-old professional violist, played a solo on Gene’s violin. Gene had given it to him a few years ago when he became too ill to continue playing. The performance was beautiful and heartfelt – there weren’t many dry eyes around. Gene Priest will be welcomed with open arms by those who have gone before him. We will miss him on this side.
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