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Why the Guest Conductor? Where’s Tom? Is he okay?

Artistic Director Tom Morgan

I want to assure you that I’m still here, and I’m fine. More than fine, actually: inspired, energized, and excited to welcome Joan Szymko to our podium this month.  It’s been a while now, but over the course of our history, we’ve had a few guest conductors, including such luminaries as Dale Warland, Giora Bernstein, Simon Carrington, and others. It’s a good artistic stretch for our singers to tune into the nuances of different conductors’ musical leadership styles. It’s good for our audiences to experience a fresh perspective on the sound world of our ensemble, and on the arc and flow of a program.

Guest conductor and composer Joan Szymko

Joan Szymko is a master of this art on many levels, from her deeply insightful connections to great poetry and literature to her ability to craft a melody to her embodiment of rhythm and musical line in her conducting. In rehearsal, we’ve all been appreciating the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the words of great poets such as Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, and some of the great mystics represented on this program. In this time of division, war, and strife in the larger world, this is both a comfort and a reason to hope for the future.

Leonard Bernstein once proclaimed, “Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” In Joan’s music, we can certainly sense this, and it invites us to share in it. I look forward to seeing you at the performances; please keep track of your favorite pieces on the program; I look forward to discussing them with you!

-Tom Morgan, Artistic Director