Evanston Symphony strikes a festive note
After more than a year of silence imposed by COVID, the Evanston Symphony Orchestra was finally able to perform live on August 30. The audience and the musicians loved it.
“This is the first time we’ve performed in public in 18 months,” Music Director Lawrence Eckerling said at the start, and the crowd of several hundred in the outdoor bowl at Wilmette’s Gillson Park erupted into cheers and loud and sustained applause. .
The “Lakeside Pops Concert”, as presented, featured an overture by Rossini, two film pieces by John Williams (including a magnificent solo performance by ESO cellist Julie Fischer in the “List Theme of Schindler ”), the“ Carousel Waltz ”by Richard Rodgers,“ Pops Hoedown ”by Richard Hayman and the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. The evening ended with a catchy version of “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa.
The response thereafter has been overwhelmingly positive. “It was inspiring and joyful,” said one participant. “Fabulous, wonderful,” said another. “Loved it, loved it,” added a third.
The musicians were equally enthusiastic. “I can’t tell you how good it feels. It was absolutely thrilling, ”said violinist Nancy Lisker. “I was really happy to be together again in such a lovely setting, to make beautiful sounds and to do something that we love to make the players and listeners so happy,” said violinist Gloria Boyell, who started with the orchestra in the mid-1970s. “What a great way to kick off our 75th season,” said violist Liza Berger.
ESO’s 75th season is set to kick off on November 7 at Pick-Staiger Hall. Maestro Eckerling said he selected the programs with “many favorites,” including Brahms’ Fourth Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto on November 7, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 on November 7. February 13, 2022 and the Dvorak The Cello Concerto and the Overture Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky on May 22. He said last year’s celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday was cut short by the pandemic, so he rescheduled the Ninth Symphony for the concert on April 10, 2022.
In addition, a consortium-commissioned piece “Transcend” by Chinese-American composer Zhou Tian will premiere on May 22. And “Festive Overture” by African-American composer William Grant Still will be performed on February 13.
The annual holiday concert will take place on December 12 at Evanston Township High School. More information on the upcoming season, including COVID-19 restrictions, is available on the ESO website.