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Musings from the Maestro

"There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.

Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute?"

Our Town, Thornton Wilder

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s May 5th concert, entitled "Our American Life", will feature excerpts from Aaron Copland’s heart-rending film score to Our Town. One of the subliminal themes of Thornton Wilder’s 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Our Town, is to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. The New York Times wrote of its Broadway premiere, "Taking as his material three periods in the history of a placid New Hampshire town, Mr. Wilder has transmuted the simple events of human life into universal reverie. He has given familiar facts a deeply moving, philosophical perspective." Mr. Wilder’s nostalgic and loving treatment of a typical "placid" American town still resonates strongly with us today. Perhaps that explains why it remains one of the most frequently performed plays in American community theaters and on high school and college campuses. It connects us to our past, either real or from our collective memory.

One of the main reasons I love Alexandria is because it reminds me of the small town in which I was raised. The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra has commissioned videographer Stephanie Hafer to capture and recreate Alexandria’s extraordinary small town character in an accompanying video to the ASO’s performance of Aaron Copland’s film music to Our Town. This ten minute video takes its cue from Mr. Wilder, Copland’s beautifully poignant score, and especially from our very own town, Alexandria. It is a highly nostalgic and loving portrait of our town drawing from different periods of Alexandria’s history. Seven-time Emmy Award winning videographer, television producer and host Michael Baker, acting as both advisor to the project and actor, will provide the Prologue to Hafer’s videography with short dramatic highlights.

The May 5th concert, entitled "Our American Life", takes its inspiration from three dramatic masterpieces of the American stage. Soprano Lisa Archibeque will sing Blanche’s famous aria, "I Want Magic", from Andre Previn’s opera, A Streetcar Named Desire. Dramatic orchestral excerpts from Robert Ward’s opera, The Crucible and Copland’s evocative Our Town will also be featured. The concert will end with Dvorak’s masterpiece, The New World Symphony, inspired in part by Longfellow’s epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha… "By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water…"

This Finale concert concludes an exciting season in which the ASO has collaborated with The Shakespeare Theatre and National Gallery of Art in presenting the DC premiere of Elvis Costello’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other memorable events included a Duke Ellington evening with Metrostage; the Romeo & Juliet concert with Signature Theatre; and violin legend Midori.

The ASO’s 2007-2008 season, The Joy of Music & Motion, will offer programs guaranteed to make your feet tap and your spirit dance. During next season you will literally see music from Gabrieli to Handel unfold before your eyes through the choreography of featured guests Bowen McCauley Dance and BosmaDance. Through the poetic genius of cellist Lynn Harrell, the fiery passion of pianist Carlos Rodriguez, and the artistry of our other featured soloists, the music will move, exhilarate, and inspire.

Join us and be inspired!

<ro>Where & When

<lst>Kim Allen Kluge leads the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in Our American Life at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center on May 5th, 2007 at 8pm.

NOVA Community College, Alexandria Campus

3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA

Tickets available at www.alexsym.org or at 703-548-0885