Newsletter – September 2015 - Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur
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Permit No. 168
2015-2016 Season, Issue 1
r il 201
From The President
Board of Directors
Sam Kershaw, Immediate PastPresident
Shirley Swarthout, President
Maya Fombelle, VP Funds
Kay Villarreal, VP Audience
Mary Gendry, VP Guild
Marilyn Mertz, VP Education
Ruth Cortright, Secretary
John Benda, Treasurer
Peggy Ruff, Asst. Treasurer
Jon French, Auditor
Michael Luxner, Orchestra
Mark Your Calendars for This Season’s Performances
Andrea Frakes Pope, Mezzo Soprano
Concerto Grosso No. 1
Symphony No. 4
Rachel Barton Pine, Violin
Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39
Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
The Addams Family
Advent Services at Central Christian Church
Conductor Candidate/Young Artists Concert No. 1
Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88
Conductor Candidate/Young Artists Concert No. 2
Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
Janice Chandler-Eteme, Soprano
Leon Williams, Baritone
Millikin Union of Choirs
Porgy and Bess
Lullaby Concert at the Decatur Public Library, 6 p.m.
The excitement of new beginnings is palpable this time of year – kindergarteners
eagerly starting school, college freshmen moving in to their dorms, teachers anticipating
new faces in this year’s classroom.
All these new beginnings require
“… I am reminded anew of what a
Saturday, November 21, 2015
preparation – whether loading the backpack
generous and supportive community
will be our annual holiday
with crayons and pencils or packing the Ufundraiser at the Decatur
we have here in Decatur.”
Haul for the move to college. Of course the
Club Ballroom. This year’s
same is true for the Millikin-Decatur Symphony
Symphony Holiday Gala
Orchestra. Music director and conductor, Dr. Michael Luxner, has devoted much of the
promises an elegant
summer to studying and preparing the scores for this season’s repertoire; musicians similarly
evening including cocktail
are practicing their individual parts so they are ready for the full-orchestra rehearsal.
hour, dinner, and live and
Your symphony guild too has been preparing for the coming season – tracking
membership contributions; working with local businesses and organizations to prepare their
Entertainment for the
ads for the concert program book; enlisting corporate sponsors.
evening will be provided
As I reflect on the work that guild board members have been doing these recent weeks,
by Four Other Brothers.
I am reminded anew of what a generous and supportive community we have here in Decatur.
If you are an advertiser, a corporate sponsor, or an individual or family that supports the guild
with a membership donation, please know that we deeply appreciate you. Your financial backing
enables the guild to offer some truly remarkable programs for young musicians:
• The Decatur Youth Symphony, which offers a full orchestra
experience and advanced performance opportunities
• An instrument lending library of some 250 instruments,
making it possible for qualifying elementary students
to participate in band or orchestra
• More than 20 scholarships each year, providing
summer music camps and private lessons with a
Millikin faculty member.
First and foremost, of course, the guild supports the
symphony, with a $65,000 annual grant to Millikin that
provides the orchestra’s music and pays professional musicians,
both faculty and freelance, as well as guest artists.
As I write, we are still days away from the Labor Day Pops
concert in Nelson Park – a 19-year tradition initiated by Dr. Luxner
when he was the MDSO’s ‘new’ conductor! Labor Day Pops will be
followed promptly by Opening Night at Kirkland Fine Arts
Center on September 26. It’s a new season, another beginning,
and we are eager with anticipation! I look forward to seeing
you at the Symphony!
President, Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur
From The Podium
Music Director and Conductor
Mahler Four, Encore
After the concert on
September 26, the
Symphony Guild will host a
reception with guest artist
Andrea Pope. Please plan
to stop by in the lobby and
enjoy light refreshments
before heading home.
Each newsletter is available at
under the News tab.
The music of Gustav Mahler has been an important thread in MDSO
programming over the last fifteen years or so, for all kinds of good
reasons. Mahler’s deeply-felt, all-encompassing world view, and the
awesome power of his ability to convey this in musical sound, makes
every good Mahler performance a real event for the listener. And the
demands of his scores help keep an orchestra on its toes, giving a great
sense of achievement when we meet the challenges well. We’ve played
each of the first six symphonies once, and I knew I would want to revisit
one this season. But which, and why?
I decided on the Fourth, which is in some ways Mahler’s most “modest”
symphony. It is the shortest in duration, uses a smaller orchestra than the
others, and ends quietly and intimately. But it’s no bon-bon. The entire
range of emotion, the whole world of orchestral sound, is there. And in the
end, I think that the greatest personal satisfactions that I recall from a lifetime
of Mahler have been in performing this particular symphony.
And there are some other advantages to No. 4. One is the opportunity to
have Andrea Frakes Pope back with MDSO, as mezzo-soprano soloist in the
fourth movement. When she sang Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder so beautifully with
us a few years ago, I knew immediately that she would be perfect for the Fourth
Symphony’s tender closing song. Come hear her on September 26 and see if it
And another advantage is the symphony’s relative brevity, which leaves enough
time on the program for more great music! The concert’s first half comprises two
lesser-known but unique and engaging works from the early 20th century, Leos
Janacek’s On an Overgrown Path (a string orchestra version of excerpts from his suite
of vignettes for solo piano), and Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 for strings and
piano. Both are MDSO premieres, and both are one-of-a-kind works that are like
nothing you’ve ever heard before, and will never forget. And in their originality and
eclecticism, perfectly complement the Mahler.
There’s a lot of fine music to be heard this season, and it all begins on Opening
Night. See you at the Symphony!
Instrument Petting Zoo
This August, the Symphony Guild, in partnership with the
Decatur Public Library, sponsored an instrument petting zoo.
One of the education goals of SOGD is to introduce children to
the instruments of the orchestra. Over 42 area children
participated in the petting zoo. The children were able to hold
and try to play various instruments
from the string, woodwind, brass,
and percussion families. Local
musicians were on hand to assist the
students during the demonstration
sessions. The petting zoo is an
active program of the Symphony
Guild throughout the school year.
Youth Symphony 2015-2016 Season
Welcome back to an exciting season of music making and superb performances that we can all enjoy
and admire. This year’s Decatur Youth Symphony Orchestra will once again be bringing together
talented young instruments from all over the area to rehearse and perform a wide variety of symphony
repertoire. You are invited to join us in support of these exceptional young people. It’s always
wonderful to see (and hear) how the students grow and mature musically as they work together and
meet the musical challenges involved in performing with a full symphony orchestra throughout the year.
For more information about the Decatur Youth Symphony Orchestra or to get a student involved in the
program please visit millikin.edu/dyso or contact Neal Smith at [email protected] or (217) 424-6358.
Symphony Guild Elects New Board Members
At the May 8 annual meeting, The Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur elected three to its Board of
Dave Brandon is a native of Toledo, OH who spent his formative years in the western suburbs of
Chicago, Dave Brandon moved to Decatur in 1985. A recent graduate of Southern Illinois University at
Carbondale, Dave launched the Decatur News Bureau for WCIA-3 (CBS) Champaign. Dave continued
in this role, as well as anchoring and producing weekend newscasts, until August 1997 when he left the
television news business to join the Alumni-Development staff at Millikin University as Director of
Development. In September 2012, Dave was promoted to Vice-President, Alumni & Development
and presently serves in this capacity. Dave is married to Kelly and they have two sons; Peter and
Patrick. In addition to the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Dave was elected to the Board
of Education for Mt. Zion CUSD #3 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Community
Foundation of Macon County.
Rev. Ted A. Hartley was born in McLeansboro, IL. He has a Bachelor of Music ED from
SIU-Carbondale and a Masters in Music from Vandercook School of Music. His major
instrument is tuba with a minor in voice and piano/organ. Rev. Hartley taught public school
music for 15 years in Fairfield, Illinois. He also was Adjunct Professor of Music and
Philosophy at Lakeland College in Mattoon for seven years. He has played and served on
the boards of a number of community organizations: Rend Lake Symphony, Centralia
Symphony, John A. Logan Community Band and Orchestra, Charlevoix Michigan
Community Band and Harbor Springs Michigan Community Band. Rev. Hartley
is a member of the Decatur Municipal Band. Rev. Hartley is single and has a 27 year
old son, Chris, who is a professional musician in the Peoria area.
Col Robert R. Tyler has more than 40 years of experience in key leadership positions
as a career Marine Corps officer, aviator, DoD acquisition executive, college
administrator, and support contractor to the Department of Defense, the Federal
Aviation Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security. Bob has a
distinguished record of achievement in command, operations, personnel management,
training, and scholarly pursuits. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology and a
Masters in Safety that serve to inform his focus on human performance and operator
error. He is an adjunct professor of Psychology at Richland Community College.
Since moving to Decatur in 2009, Bob and his wife, Carol, have become friends of
Kirkland, members of the Symphony Guild, and members of the Eastern Illinois
University Foundation. Bob serves as the Council President of First Lutheran
Church, the president of the Lincoln Land Chapter of the Military Officers
Association of America, and the 1st Vice-President of the Illinois Council of Chapters
of the Military Officers Association of America.
• Saturday, Oct. 17, 2 p.m.
Jr. Orchestra Fall Festival
Kirkland Fine Arts Center
• Monday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m.
(with Amy Catron, cello)
Central Christian Church
• Friday, Feb. 19
St. Louis Symphony Trip
• Thursday, April 14, 10 a.m.
Kirkland Fine Arts Center
• Sunday, April 17, 2 p.m.
Kirkland Fine Arts Center