Archive for February 13th, 2010

Wrapping up….

We are wrapping up our Florida tour now, and with only two more concerts left to perform, the orchestra has settled into life on the road.   We have greeted a new venue each evening, wondering how our reeds, strings and mouthpieces are going to respond to an unfamiliar set of acoustics and then made the appropriate adjustments.  For some, getting enough sleep at night in different surroundings after winding down from a performance has been an issue.  The art of catching up as best as one can curled up in a bus seat has become a daily ritual. Others bury themselves in a good book, watch movies on their iPods, search the web with their laptops, (Internet access on a bus?  Welcome to the 21st century, Shelley) or chat quietly with colleagues or on their iPhones to pass the highway miles.

We have adapted to irregular dinner hours in a variety of ways.  I’m a walking supermarket right now, with my bag of goodies in tow.  Whatever the case, it hasn’t taken long for each of us to slip into a routine that allows us to perform our best.  And, while there is definitely a chill the air here in Florida (those poor oranges), the concert halls have been warm, if not downright hot, with applause energizing us for the next day’s travel and concert.  In closing, I’d like to say that I feel so very lucky to be a member of this orchestra where, regardless of the bumps in the road, we come together and dig deep to fulfill our mission of excellence.

Shelley Heron, DSO oboist

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Greetings from Randy!

Greetings Detroit Symphony Orchestra Fans!!

This is my 24th year in the DSO , and although I’ve lost track of how many tours
I’ve been on with the orchestra, I’m fairly sure it’s somewhere around 15.  3
European, 1 Japan, 2 Florida, 1 California (Hollywood Bowl) and countless Upper
Peninsula tours add up to a lot of traveling, hotel rooms, lost socks and time away
from family.  The idea of a tour may seem glamorous to many, but in the orchestra
business it can be grueling and a necessity.

This current tour is taking us all over Florida and to some interesting and very
different concert venues. Last night was called the Church Distributed at Northland.
It was a mega church that seats probably around 3200 people. A very unusual venue
for an major symphony orchestra, but they have a series called Great Orchestras of
the World , the same words shown on a large video screen in the back of the
orchestra while we performed.

This hall was rather on the dead side acoustically, compared to our beloved
Orchestra Hall. The technicians at the hall counter act that deadness by
electronically “enhancing” the sound produced onstage. It was very subtle. Onstage I
did not notice the amplification but out in the hall while listening to the Barber
Cello Concerto (no trombones in that score!), I thought I heard a slight delay then
an echo between what I saw and heard. Very strange, but the audience that is
familiar with that hall is probably used to it.

The orchestra on tour seems to be hitting it’s stride and adjusting to these
different acoustics is just part of the job for us. the Rachmaninov Symphony 2 is
really sounding great and I’m proud of the recording (with Leonard Slatkin and the
DSO) that was just released a few weeks ago. Tonight we play at the Van Wezel
Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota and it’ll be special for me because my parents will
both be there. Both 81, they are the reason I’m a musician. They are both still
performing in local groups (clarinet and violin) in northern Michigan near Beulah.

We all miss our families and wish they were all here, but realize the importance of
getting the orchestra out on tour and interacting with the public, and especially
letting the donors who make all of our music making possible how much we appreciate
them and their love of music and their monetary support. I see that interaction as a
really important part of my job!

Orchestras are vital living organizations, that are constantly evolving and adapting
to current climates, both cultural and economic. The way an orchestra is perceived
by the public both locally and away from home is very important to it’s health.

Musicians know this better than most, as our lives involve many hours striving to
maintain our skills and growing musically by playing chamber music home and away.
One of the best side benefits from this job is to listen to and observe the feedback
of what we do on stage from you, our audience!

I look forward to seeing you back in Detroit at Orchestra Hall!!

All the best,

Randy Hawes , DSO bass trombonist

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Northland Performing Arts Center, Longwood


Photo by David Dredla

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Naples News Review of DSO Concert

Detroit Symphony shows larger-than-life style
By Harriet Howard Heithaus
Feb., 12, 2010

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Hello from chilly Orlando!

Today’s weather is 41 degrees, windy, and overcast.  I write this so that you Michiganders don’t feel so envious of our “Florida weather.”  Granted, it’s warmer here than Detroit and far less snow…
Yesterday was a long bus trip (5 hours of travel time plus one hour lunch break) from Naples to Orlando.  The bus rides are a chance to catch-up with old friends, make new friends, read, do crossword puzzles, listen to music, or nap.  Upon arrival at our hotel yesterday afternoon, it seemed to me that everyone raced up to their room for a little “quiet time” before getting on the buses to head-off to our concert.  We had about 1 hour and 45 minutes between arrival at our hotel and departure for the evening’s concert.

We played another wonderful concert last night (have you read the review of our tour performances?  They’ve been great, and we are thrilled for the great press!) to a great crowd.  I noticed some of our Detroit-based “fan club” in the audience.  A special thank you to our patrons on tour with us is in order here.  Special thank you to Julie and Peter Cummings who were in attendance at last night’s concert as our “DSO Groupies”.

This AM, the hotel lobby is rather quiet.  I have run into a few colleagues who are early-risers, but I’m guessing that the majority of our musicians are resting up for the long day ahead.  We will be busing-it back across the state to Sarasota for our concert tonight.  The Rachmaninoff #2 we’re playing is very physically demanding (it’s a long piece and requires a LOT of concentration and endurance) and is technically demanding, too.  Each musician needs to use their personal warm-up time before our concert well to prepare for the difficult concert each evening.

Off to pack before leaving for Sarasota…

Caroline Coade

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Orlando behind the scenes

Photos by Hart Hollman

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Pre-Concert Orlando

Photos by Hart Hollman

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