Musicians in the Amadeus Orchestra will offer their professional best on Sept. 15 by performing a "Concert for Heroes," a free concert of music specially selected to honor the police, fire and rescue, and volunteer workers who also gave their professional best after the Pentagon disaster on Sept. 11 last year.
The concert, free and open to the public, also pays tribute to those who lost people they love when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon by terrorists.
Six people from Great Falls were on the flight: Richard Gabriel, Ann Campana Judge, Barbara Olson, Lisa J. Raines, and George and Diane Simmons.
Three of them, the Simmons and Ann Judge, lived in the Holly Knoll subdivision.
Amadeus Director Timothy Rowe said he selected with care the music for the concert, to be performed in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center on the Alexandria campus of the Northern Virginia Community College at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.
“They have the best acoustics of any hall in Washington,” Rowe said.
“You can whisper on the stage and hear it in the balcony.”
“It is a warm hall that avoids sound absorption by not having excess sound-absorbing material. It lets the sound reverberate.”
ROWE, WHO CONDUCTS the orchestra and selects the music it plays, said the concert is intended to “bring the survivor families together, and make it a nice reunion.”
He said he chose music “not for bombast or cliche,” but for its “warm emotional quality.”
Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, for example, was written after the composer had come to accept his loss of hearing.
“He was in despair,” said Rowe, who gives lectures about classical music at the Smithsonian Institute.
“He thought his composing life was over in 1802. He had to change his way of living. He did, and he was reaping the joy of life in a way; every note is an affirmation of hope.
“In the 7th, he had come to grips with his loss of hearing and emerged in triumph. Even the slow movement is a contemplation and not a tragedy. It is a very philosophical movement,” Rowe said.
WHEN BACH WROTE the concerto for two violins that the orchestra will perform, he had just learned of the death of his first wife, Rowe said. “The two violins are symbolic of man’s interdependence. The orchestra plays a very supportive role, and acts as a beautifully woven net of sound.” Amy Beth Horman and Jody Gatwood are the soloists.
The program also includes an aria from “La Wally” by Catalani, performed by the Baltimore Opera’s Kathleen Stapleton.
Rowe called it “a glorious aria from about a women who has reached the end of her emotional rope and doesn’t know what to do next.”
The music by Bach, Rowe said, “is reassuring and intimate,” while the Beethoven symphony shows “triumph over adversity.”
All three pieces, he said were chosen for “Nothing too obvious, or for the sake of a big splash,” but rather “for emotional directness and warmth.
“These composers are celebrated for writing heavenly music for practical, down-to-earth, people,” he said.
Last year, the Amadeus raised $4,750 for the 9/11 Survivors Fund by giving a concert in a private home in Great Falls.
With this concert, Rowe said, the orchestra also wants to thank the Arlington Police and Fire Departments for their response at the Pentagon.
“This is the biggest single project that we have ever undertaken,” Rowe said. “We are hoping this will be an annual event.”
Underwriting the free concert are the Deltek Corporation, Computer Tots, the Music Performance Trust Funds of New York, and the Board of Directors of the Amadeus Orchestra.
The concert hall is located off Interstate 395, Exit 4W (Seminary Road) on West Braddock Road at 3001 Beauregard Street.
It can be reached from Route 7 East by turning south on North Beauregard Street.
The Amadeus Orchestra is part of the annual Amadeus Concert Series, formed more than 20 years ago in Great Falls. It is composed entirely of professional musicians.