Impromptu - January 2009
photo by Kirsten Beckerman
THEY CALL THEMSELVES THE SYMPHONY CHICKS and on the second Saturday in October the BSO's newest quartet
made their world debut. No, the four female musicians weren't performing in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. In fact, they
weren't playing music at all.
They were running.
On October 11, Madeline Adkins, Beth Graham, Karin Brown and Ellen Pendleton Troyer exchanged their instruments for running
shoes and bright orange baseball caps emblazoned with their team name and competed as a relay team in the Baltimore Running
Festival. Competed may be too strong of a word, since winning is not what motivated the musicians to run in the 26-mile race
as a team. "It wasn't a competitive thing, it was a bonding thing," says Adkins, the BSO's associate concertmaster.
Each runner completed a leg that ranged from 5.9 to 7.1 miles. The orange hats helped locate teammates for the hand-off.
Still, there were mishaps. Graham, who is the BSO's assistant principal horn, started her 6.8-mile leg a minute late because
she couldn't find safety pins to affix her number to her shirt. The smell of fresh-baked bread emanating from the H&S
Bakery in Fells Point nearly led Troyer astray. And even with the bright orange hats, finding another Symphony Chick in the
crowd during the handoffs was hectic.
Brown, a sprinter in high school, had injured her Achilles tendon and ran with her cell phone because she was unsure if
she would be able to complete the race. But the encouragement from her teammates and from the crowd lining the city streets
proved to be what she needed to meet her goal and complete her 5.9-mile leg in under an hour. "All the people on the sidelines
cheering were so supportive," the viola player says. "I really felt inspired."
And a few hours after the race, the Symphony Chicks were united with the BSO on the stage of the Music Center at Strathmore,
where they played a program that included Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. Adkins performed a concerto that was just perfect.
"She was a little sunburned but she sounded amazing," says Troyer, who plays first violin. "She's Supergirl." — Maria
Read more about Madeline
Read more about Beth
Read more about Karin
Read more about Ellen