Monday, October 19, 2015

From the Wings, by Eleanor Long

This year we decided to simplify things and drop “Music Festival” from the title of our fall tour, just calling it “Made in Vermont.”  In honor of that fact, the speakers who introduced the concerts came clean with their origin stories.  In Johnson, violinist Hilary Hatch confessed that she was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Vermont for 33 years, and “is here for the duration.”  In Derby Line, Dirk Elston, representing the North Country Friends, revealed he was made in Ohio; three days later in Lyndon he sang the same tune, but wearing a different hat--having just been elected to the VSO’s Governing Board of Directors.  In Castleton, violinist Jane Kittredge did NOT shock a mostly-college-student audience, “I was made in Vermont, although this isn’t a topic I like to dwell on, considering the parties involved are here tonight.  Go, Mom and Dad!”  In Bellows Falls, local Board chair Dutch Walsh said he was not made in Vermont, but his three grandchildren (all at the concert) were.  Violinist Melanie Dexter shared that she was made in Rochester, and wasn’t able to escape for 22 years; however, she and her husband “made” a Vermonter.  In Randolph, cellist Bonnie Klimowski said she was made in New Jersey, but her parents were “gung ho” Vermonters, and the sojourn in the Garden State was brief.  She said her dad, who grew up in tiny Island Pond in the Northeast Kingdom, maintained that he walked to school all winter through chest-high snowdrifts!  In St. Albans, oboist Katie Oprea gave a synopsis of this family history:  “I was born in St. Albans, at the old St. Albans hospital where my grandmother did her nurse’s training back in the 30s.  This building is now part of Bellows Free Academy, where my son goes to school.”  (And where our concert was taking place!) “Alex is the fourth generation of my family to attend BFA:  my grandfather was a student there when the building was new.”  Although (full disclosure) Katie says she was made in Maine…if we were holding a contest, I’d say she wins hands down!

As for other participants in “Made in Vermont,” Jaime Laredo, of course, was made in Bolivia.  Jennifer Jolley, our commission composer, was made in Los Angeles, but came to Vermont, “maybe following Ben & Jerry?” but also because she wanted to experience snow.  After four years, she’d experienced enough!  But she loved being back for this tour.  Sue Jenkins from the Champlain Valley Friends, who introduced the Vergennes concert,  didn’t tell the crowd (but told me) that she was born in St. Louis but moved here in 1965—another win for the Green Mountain State.  Violinist Sofia Hirsch was born in Ontario, but moved to Vermont when she was 11.  Flutist Alison Hale was born in New Hampshire, but married a Vermonter who was born in Brattleboro, and they live in the same house he grew up in!  Joy Worland, French horn, was born in Indiana, but her mother was a New Englander who got two degrees from the University of Vermont, and taught high school in White River Junction.  Joy relates, “She never completely reconciled herself to Middle America, and obviously neither did I!”  (Joy and her family have recently relocated to Montpelier from Nashville.)

We had a doorprize at each concert, a bag of “double” gifts as a nod to the Bach Double Concerto.  Winners received double fudge brownie mix, double-stuffed oreos, double-dipped chocolate peanuts, doublemint gum, and (wait for it) double-acting baking powder.  Flutist Anne Janson, who handled the  giveaway at each concert, got a good laugh from each audience as she announced “I WAS made in Vermont.”  

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Meet Ben

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra has turned to a Vermont native for leadership. The Governing Board of Directors announced Monday that the Orchestra's next Executive Director will be Benjamin Cadwallader, currently Education Programs Manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Previously, he had worked in New York City and San Antonio, Texas in senior administrative positions.

Charles Smith has been acting Executive Director since May. Cadwallader said in a statement that he was looking forward to working with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Jaime Laredo. He called the orchestra “the brightest example of a Vermont cultural gem.”

"Growing up in South Burlington, the VSO has been part of my musical life from an early age and had a profound impact on my steps to a life-long career in music. Returning to my beloved home state to work for an orchestra committed to sharing world-class concerts with the entire State of Vermont is inspiring. My decision to join the VSO was further confirmed by the Board's commitment to inventing the institution's future, the passion and dedication of the outstanding staff and impressive family of volunteers throughout the state, and the truly exceptional artistic leadership of Jaime Laredo and Anthony Princiotti," Cadwallader shared. "I look forward to building on the legacy of musical excellence, commitment to community, and financial strength. My Vermont pride runs deep, and the opportunity to call this beautiful state home once again is, of course, the icing on the cake."

In announcing the appointment, Board president Victoria Young noted, “We are thrilled that Benjamin has chosen to return to his home state to lead this marvelous organization. Benjamin’s experience in educational programming and new initiatives will be invaluable as the VSO moves forward.”

The VSO Board is grateful to the Search Committee, which included past Board member Ed Colodny, marketing committee chair Toby Knox and members of Board, staff, and orchestra. “Benjamin has been working tirelessly and effectively in arts management for many years. Beginning his musical career in his home state of Vermont was a definitely a factor in our decision to hire him,” explained Colodny.

“I am delighted with the choice of Ben. I couldn’t be happier. He and I are going to be great partners,” remarked music director Jaime Laredo. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra looks forward to introducing Cadwallader to the communities of Vermont. He plans to be fully “on board” in November.

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Friday, October 2, 2015


At its September 2015 board meeting in the offices of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Governing Board of Directors approved their new officers and elected new board members. The four three-year term members new to the board are Jim Girardin of Burlington, Cathy Stadecker of Burlington, Dirk Elston of St. Johnsbury and Betsy Bloomer of Rutland.  “The level of experience and commitment these newly elected board members bring to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra is truly gratifying,” noted Board chair Victoria Young.  “The breadth of talent will insure that the strategic and artistic directions created will continue taking the VSO in the right direction.”  Officers elected were Victoria Young, Chair; Barbara Wessel, Vice-chair; Ginny Roth, secretary and Perez Ehrich, treasurer.

Gov. Madeleine Kunin and Andrea Forrest Brock retired from the board after six years of service. “We are truly appreciative of the service of Madeleine and Andrea during these past years,” remarked Board chair Victoria Young. “They have brought not only an appreciation for the art form but insight into the financial and operational aspects of the organization.  We thank them truly.”

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