This week was the Landmarks Orchestra’s annual Gala. The gala this year was held in honor of Fay Chandler who has been an important advocate for the arts in the city of Boston. We are happy to report that the event was a huge success and a good time was had by all.
Students from the Conservatory Lab Charter school’s brass ensemble performed a Fanfare for Fay to kick off the evening. It was a wonderful treat and we are so excited to say that this will not be the last time we are able to put these young performers on stage.
At the Gala, Music Director Chris Wilkins provided guests with an outline of our plans for the summer season. The first concert he described is entitled: Gandolfi- A Wizard’s Guide to the Orchestra. At this performance the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will be partnering with students from the Conservatory Lab Charter School to premiere a work composed by award winning composer Michael Gandolfi for double orchestra.
Preparations for the performance are well underway with joint rehearsals beginning this week. For the first few rehearsals, Landmarks Orchestra musicians will be visiting the school to work with students in small groups and (when possible) one-on-one to help them gain mastery of the piece. The first rehearsal was held this past Tuesday, the day before our Gala.
During the warm-up the concentration was remarkable. Students sat silently counting whenever they weren’t playing, some on their fingers, others tapped out time with the aid of a foot or two. Students responded to the directions of their maestro and received corrections with grace. Dana Oakes, principal trumpet with the Landmarks, dove right in. He was already sitting with the students when I arrived. There he was, horn up, sitting in a chair that was much to small for an adult warming up right along-side the students. The aspiring trumpet players often glanced his way and tried to model his posture and playing.
After warm up, the Landmarks musicians were asked to take groups of students to various locations in the building to work on their parts. Bob Lynam, bass, was asked to take his group to “the hall”. Dana Oakes, trumpet; Adele Ohki, violin and Jolene Kessler, cello were sent to 4th, 5th and 6th grades respectively, while Melissa Howe, viola was asked to take her students to the stairwell. Photos of this last group are difficult to come by, as we could not open the door without knocking into the students.
Other rooms at the school were unavailable due to other rehearsals. The Conservatory Lab Charter School really seems to be determined to make music happen in any space that they have available. The school is just buzzing with the music. We are eager to perform live with this group of dedicated young musicians! Just 22 more days until we make that magic happen.
Teachers interested in bringing their students to this educational performance are welcome to sign up here.
Join the Landmarks Orchestra for our annual Gala. Proceeds will support our wonderful summer programming at the DCR’s Hatch Shell on Wednesday nights this summer.
Funds will also support projects such as our collaboration with the Conservatory Lab Charter School, instrument playgrounds, materials that make our concerts accessible to all people regardless of disabilities and so much more!
Cock Tail Reception 6 p.m.
Program 7 p.m.
Governor and Mrs. Patrick
Mayor and Mrs. Menino
Ambassador Swanee Hunt
For sponsorship opportunities contact Laura Jennings firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to purchase tickets.
For those of you who missed last weekend’s Bach Around the Clock performance, never fear! You can listen to the Landmarks Orchestra Brass Ensemble online now. The event ran from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church of Boston. It was a birthday celebration like no other, with 12 hours of performances by local artists and some fascinating conversations about Bach’s life and work.
Some of you may be wondering why Bach’s birthday festivities were held so early when his birthday is actually on March 31. It’s a rather interesting tale of two calendars, one of which (Julian) was replaced by the other (Gregorian), but not simultaneously world-wide. In fact, it was over 200 years before consensus could be reached on the New Calendar. Today countries have different ways of tracking dates from the transitory years.
When Bach was born in 1865, the current, new style (N.S), Gregorian calendar had been in existence for 103 years, but it was not universally accepted, as such, some say he was born on March 21, which would be his birthday under the old style (O.S) Julian calendar while others celebrate on March 31st (his birthday under the current style of calendar). We recommend celebrating Bach on both days. He deserves it!
“Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe” - Douglas Adams
Interested in learning what goes on behind the scenes here at The Landmarks Orchestra? We’re currently looking to fill both paid and unpaid internship opportunities as well as volunteer positions throughout the summer. Job descriptions for all openings are listed below. Please reach out to Laura Jennings for more information about all job postings and upcoming volunteer opportunities with the Landmarks Orchestra.
Under the direction of the Artistic Administrator, the Production Assistant is responsible for executing all logistics of concert production, including booking rehearsal venues, creating stage plots for all concerts, creating minute-by-minute “show flows” of all concerts, working with personnel manger and business manager to process musician and union payments, distributing parking passes, filing paperwork for performance or broadcast rights, collecting information for printed programs and coordinating their production with a graphics designer, coordinating with DCR staff, Classical New England talent, Free for All staff, and outside vendors such as sound and lighting crews.
The ideal candidate will have classical concert production experience in a professional or academic environment, and will have a working knowledge of classical orchestral music, including terms used for instrumentation, logistical needs of particular instruments, union regulations, and the protocols of interaction between conductors, musicians, and staff. The candidate will be organized, accustomed to meeting deadlines, and able to work independently at the direction of the Artistic Administrator and Executive Director.
May be asked to assist with any of the following tasks:
- Overseers and implements day of event concert needs
- DCR liaison
- Liaison with musicians to ensure payment is received at time of service
- Coordinates parking for musicians and staff
- Assisting with library work when necessary
- Works with musicians backstage
- Provides assistance to Music Director, Artistic Administrator and Executive Director when necessary
Education Programs Coordinator
Reports to Education Manager. Works with local schools and musical groups to coordinate educational events on behalf of the orchestra. This person will serve as the face of the orchestra to these groups and, as such, must have a polite and professional manner. As the Education Programs Coordinator this person will work closely with school administrators and students.
- All planning necessary for Musical Playgrounds
- Securing instruments donations
- Recruiting musicians from local colleges, universities and conservatories to demonstrate instruments
- Transporting all supplies and musicians to and from events using LO van
- Completing administrative tasks in the office when necessary
- Providing on-site assistance at all concert events during the summer season
The PR/Marketing Coordinator will report to the Manager of Communications, Outreach and Education. This ideal candidate will have a strong interest in communications work. This role will involve utilizing media sources as well as some work with social media sites. The PR/Marketing Coordinator is responsible for the following tasks:
- Posting calendar listings for all concerts and events
- Identifying appropriate contacts to receive press releases
- Working with our designer to create ads
- Ad placement in relevant news sources, web pages, magazines, billboards, etc.
- Writing pitch letters for stories about the orchestra
- Maintaining the media database
- Providing assistance to Manager of Communication, Outreach and Education as necessary
Social Media Coordinator
The Social Media Coordinator is responsible for representing the Landmarks Orchestra on Facebook, twitter and also in our blog. This person will develop creative content that is relevant to our audience. It will be this person’s responsibility to maintain and increase our presence in these networks. The ideal candidate will be organized, creative and must have excellent writing and proofreading skills.
- Handing out programs
- Assisting elderly concert goers as well as those with disabilities
- Conducting intercept surveys
- Promoting our mobile giving campaign to concert goers
- Set up and clean up before and after all events
When you think of the harp what images come to mind? Heavenly angels strumming away? Or perhaps ornate dinner parties reserved for the wealthy? A program in Atlanta is changing these perceptions and harnessing the power of the harp in new and exciting ways.
Elisabeth Remy Johnson, principal harpist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Roselyn Lewis, a long time public school music teacher have created a program that provides harp lessons to low income students. The Atlanta Urban Youth Harp Ensemble works with young people who overcome major disadvantages to master the instruments complexity, earn gigs and qualify for college scholarships putting themselves in position for professional music careers. The harps are donated and the lessons are free to any and all students who are interested.
It’s an unusual marriage. Common perceptions would suggest that the harp would be a hard sell in an urban environment. But the program is working!
What draws people to it, is that its just so rare and unique. And you know, these kids, they want to stand out. They want to make a name for themselves. So, they come to try their hand at it – Carolyn Lund, artistic director and full-time harp instructor with the program.
Over the ensemble’s 12-year history, 450 students have “tried their hands” at the harp and the success has really started to turn some heads. The situations of the students vary, but they share one common trait: Fearlessness. These are students who are willing to take a risk and try something unique.
The rarified world of performance harpists is mostly white and female. In the Atlanta Urban Youth Harp Ensemble, the majority of participants are African-American males.
A lot of people aren’t expecting, first of all, a male,” one student said, “And then when they see an African American male, they’re a bit hestiant. But I think we’re breaking [those] barriers
What began in 2000 as two students learning from Elisabeth Remy Johnson, has grown into a program of 60 students learning from a salaried artistic director. The progress that group has made is remarkable!
One of the very first students to complete the program, Mason Morton, went on to enroll for his masters at Boston University and now has a gig teaching harp to six middle schoolers in Boston Public Schools.
A true testament to the power of music to change lives and build community.
Dana Oakes began playing the trumpet at the age of nine. According to Oakes, beginning at that age is pretty standard, but since then his musical career has been anything but “standard”. He wasn’t crazy about his first teacher. It was the teacher he worked with in junior high that really began to shape his career.
Oakes speaks of Roger fondly. “He was fresh out of school and this was his first teaching gig so he was closer to me in age. He sort of took me under his wing,” Oakes says, “I remember one day he pulled me aside, it must’ve been around 8th grade, and he said ‘Why don’t you come by after school, and we’ll have a lesson every now and then’. So I did that. It was $3 a lesson at the time, I guess I’m dating myself a bit.”
Oakes comes from a small town in upstate New York where there was no real orchestra, just a band. He didn’t have his first orchestral experience until he was a junior in high school as part of the All State competition in New York. After that experience Dana knew it was what he wanted to do with his life. He went on to study at the New England Conservatory where he ended up in the top Orchestra in just his second year at the institution.
He recalls playing at the opening of the JFK Library, “I was a bit in awe of the heavy hitters there. I was a little farm kid who didn’t know anything about politics and yet, here I was.” After completing his studies, Oakes began playing for Opera Company Boston, under Director Sarah Caldewell.
“Caldwell was responsible for the largest-scale productions I have ever been a part of,” says Oakes, “In fact, she created some of the largest-scale productions this city has ever seen.” That was when Oakes discovered his love of opera. He described his first time performing in an opera,
I remember in rehearsal, we get through out little fan fare and I’m relieved that it all went well. We’re standing on stage and Shirley Verrett takes over. She was this amazing soprano and she was standing right next to me. I had never done an opera before, I was not ready for what happened next, she starts and just belts out. It was so loud it almost scared me, but my god what a beautiful voice she had, it was just gorgeous.
Since then Dana has done a wide array of work ranging from performances with international orchestras, to gigs with Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. His first performance at the DCR Hatch Shell, home of the Landmarks Orchestra, was actually as part of a Pavarotti movie. “The name was ‘Yes Giorgio’….it’s probably one of the top ten worst movies of all time,” says Oakes. Musicians were at the Hatch Shell for a week shooting footage of a live concert along with scenes from rehearsal at the Hatch Shell. Dana recalls the experience as being rather silly, “most of the time we were eating catered food and playing frisbee between sets. They didn’t really need us that often.” But the week culminated in a live performance with Pavarotti which was really something amazing. There were about 300,000 people present for this performance and actual clips from it are featured in the film. Oakes says that. hearing and working with Pavarotti for a week solidified his love of opera.
Now when he’s at the Hatch Shell Oakes plays a lot more music and a lot less frisbee than he did on the set of ‘Yes Georgio’. You can see him there this summer on Wednesdays in July and August.
Dana sums up his career in one sentence, “I’ve done a lot of weird stuff but I’ve also enjoyed a lot great music through that career”.
Tomorrow we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. As we began thinking about this holiday we couldn’t help but ask ourselves, what advice would our favorite composers give to us? Perhaps they would disapprove of how it has become so commercialized, but if they could, what thoughts would they share on love? We’ve composed a list of some things they might say:
Some tips on Love from your favorite composers:
Never allow a young woman nearing marriageable age to show her artistic talent in public. Regardless of how talented she may be. – Mozart
Age is not that important, it doesn’t matter whether you were born in 1772 or 1770, what’s most important is how old you feel. – Beethoven
Be original. – Haydn
They say you should never wake a woman who is in need of some beauty sleep, I say it depends on how long she has been sleeping – Tchaikovsky
Perhaps she is the love of your life, but it could be your second or even third wife who completes you. – Wagner
Never lose confidence, even in the face of mortifying failures and discouragements. – Haydn
Be generous. – Liszt
Love does not require the approval of your family. If it’s real, they will come around. – Schumann
Don’t ask me for advice about your love life, if you can’t figure it out, that is not my problem. – Brahms