Home between tours, we fitted in some time today with the Palo Alto High School Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers, and the Homestead High School Choir from Cupertino in Palo Alto's almost new concert hall. Always a pleasure to work with Michael Najar's groups at PHS, and we were glad to meet the Homestead group for the first time. Their director, jeff Morton is a college friend of Alan. After a very good lunch Palo Alto was kind enough to provide us, we hit the freeway to go south to San Jose State University to see 70 member San Jose State Concert Choir.
This was our fourth time in Thomasville, where we've always basked in the famous Georgia hospitality. This time there was an extra layer because Fred was born to a distinguished family right here, has many many cousins, a brother and inlaws, and everybody knows him. People, including sister Martha who gave us the party the other night, came down from Atlanta. ( that's 4-5 hours on the road.) Our performance was in the Thomasville Center for the Arts which was once Fred's elementary school. That school became the arts center and was replaced by a new elementary school named for Fred's grandfather. You get the picture. Brian gave a nice speech about Fred - how we came to know him and came to ask him to be our Music Director - and a lovely and convivial reception was had. Home tomorrow via Tallahassee and Atlanta to be in closer solidarity with everyone - including many we know - affected by the fires in Napa and Sonoma.
Actually we're exaggerating a bit. Hurricane Nate is passing to the west of us, causing a fair amount of rain today, but nothing to write home about. A big and very concentrated crowd arrived under umbrellas and filled Spivey Hall for "Heart of a Soldier." It seems to be a program that affects people one way or another; a number of veterans have offered appreciation. Sam Dixon, the longtime ED/AD of Spivey Hall, ended the evening with a tribute to Eric - who has been appearing with Chanticleer in Spivey since Spivey was built- accompanied by a nice bottle of wine. Eric made a nice speech, thanking Sam, the Spivey crew, supporters, and audience. It was an afternoon concert, leaving time for a family gathering offered by Fred's sister Martha. Good food, football on the TV, and dogs gave us a little respite from life in hotel rooms and roadside restaurants. Thanks, Martha!
While we were still basking in the memory of the evening before in the Piedmont College Chapel, we arrived at another lovely performance space -and our third stop on this tour in Georgia - at Reinhardt College in Waleska. Full house, including the students from Martha Shaw's Chamber Singers with whom we had had a very good time working in the afternoon. Barbecue, cole slaw and baked beans dinner was provided beforehand, along with the famous hospitality of Georgia. Very nice that we have two more Georgia dates at the legendary Spivey Hall tomorrow then Thomasville, Fred's home town on Tuesday. Meanwhile Hurricane Nate is clearly somewhere out there. Reaction so far this tour to our Soldier program has been very very warm and receptive to its messages as it was in the Bay Area where we debuted it (see Paul Hertelendy's review). Last night several pieces (including Mason Bates' Drumtaps) got standing ovations.
It's nice to have a new spot to call home in north Georgia. Piedmont College in Demorest has always had a distinguished music program and they certainly turned out a capacity crowd tonight. The audience was attentive and wildly appreciative of our Soldier program - big ovation at the top of the second half. The chapel, which has been renovated into an auditorium sounds great. It's clear as a bell and warm as a cello, with some very nice reverberation. Many of the students who had sung in the afternoon masterclass were there enjoying themselves. It was wonderful to have heard them go from Monteverdi to Hoagy Carmichael earlier today.
- Fred Scott, Music Director