BSO MUSICIANS SPREAD SOME CHRISTMAS CHEER
|From left to right - BSO Musicians Chris Dudley, Rebecca Nichols, Jonathan Carney, Eric Stahl, and Education Programs Coordinator Leah Inger
Five of us went caroling at the Hopkins Children's Center on December 14th, 2005. It was a bit different than in past years. Due to tight schedules between the two institutions, there was no date to perform a concert with the orchestra prior to the caroling as has been the tradition in previous years. In some ways it made caroling feel even more important and special. As usual we had an interesting group. Jonathan Carney and Rebecca Nichols played violin, Eric Stahl held down the bottom on his String Bass and I got to play viola parts on trombone with a straight mute. We had the best addition this year! Leah Inger from the BSO's education staff sang with us. It absolutely made the group to have a gifted and spirited singer.
The experience started off for me as usual with a small irregular ensemble traipsing off into the maze of Hopkins trying to figure out what we're going to play with our unusual group and how we're all going to fit on the elevator! At first I always feel a bit out of my element, playing in an improvised group in the middle of a hallway or just outside several children's rooms, but as usual that awkwardness fades and this year again I notice that after covering two or three wards I'm walking down the next long hallway with about the deepest and widest smile I get all year. The line of the day was Jonathan Carney's. We and several other people are all cramming on this elevator and I hear Jon say from the back. "Maybe I shouldn't have brought the Stradivarius today." Priceless....
Some people say that Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season but for me it's playing for the kids at Hopkins Hospital that fills me with the Spirit of the Season. Happy Holidays !
- Christopher Dudley, Principal Trombone
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Reaching out as Musicians
BSO musicians know about giving. Reaching out and giving to the community through the art of music is what we do as full time professional musicians. Whether teaching at various schools and universities, giving recitals, chamber music performances, church services or masterclasses in area high schools, BSO musicians are intimately involved in giving back to our community.
When I received a forwarded e-mail from Jane Marvine, chair of the BSO player's committee, I had little idea that it might lead to giving of a different kind for a young survivor of hurricane Katrina.
Along with so many other families, Marsha and Patrick Eck lost everything in hurricane Katrina. Their home, business and virtually all of their worldly possessions were buried under water and mud. Their youngest daughter, Emily, lost her most prized possession...her trumpet.
Through the efforts of another Katrina survivor now living in the Baltimore area, Emily's lost trumpet was brought to the attention of several BSO musicians and we decided to replace her destroyed trumpet with a new instrument. David Fedderly, BSO principal tuba player and owner of the Baltimore Brass Company very generously discounted a new instrument and several musicians pitched in to purchase the instrument and send it to Emily.
The trumpet was shipped the day we left on our European tour, so we were eager to know if the instrument had arrived safely. Through Emily's contact in the Baltimore area we heard that it had indeed arrived undamaged, and several days ago I received a letter from young Emily along with a photo. I'll paraphrase the letter below:
Dear Mr. Hoffman and musicians of the Baltimore Symphony,
I can't begin to thank you for giving me, a stranger, such a generous gift. Twelve years ago I pointed at a shiny object in a small music shop in Chalmette, Louisiana. Still passionate about that instrument now at age eighteen, I would never have guessed that the trumpet I picked out so long ago would influence the direction of my life so strongly. The second I heard that I might have a trumpet on it's way to Baton Rouge my eyes lit up and my heart almost jumped out of my chest. When the trumpet arrived a sense of peace came over me. I had my hands on something familiar again, something that the hurricane could not take away from me. Music. Because of your gracious gift, not only have you emotionally lifted me but I also feel you have given me a part of home back. Again, thank you.
It's virtually impossible to imagine losing everything in a disaster like hurricane Katrina, and yet so many families lost all that they had. It's gratifying to be able to help someone in such a small way, but it really only serves to underscore the desperate need that is there. All of their family pictures were destroyed in the storm and so they didn't even have a picture of Emily to send until just the other day!!
Submitted by Edward Hoffman