AZPhil Steinway

‘This is what I think art is and what I demand of it: that it pull everyone in, and that it shows one person another’s most intimate thoughts and feelings, that it throw open the window of the soul.’ ~ Felix Mendelssohn

First off, I would very much like to apologize for not putting out my column last week. We had suffered another devastating (and very sudden) loss of a phenomenal human being and dear friend in our music/venue family, and I was so anguished, that neither going out nor writing anything happy held any interest for me. I had to stay home, delve into memories, and cry it out.

I made up for it on 8/21 though. Let me tell you about a long overdue, and very different experience I partook in. I got to go to the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center to see a concert of the AZ Philharmonic, titled ‘Dancing from Tonga to Vienna’.

When I was a teenager in Germany, my family received monthly theater tickets from my father’s employer. So once a month, I got to dress up fancily, and, together with one of my friends, attend everything from musicals to operas, from plays to operettas. It is one of my fondest childhood memories and I certainly don’t understand why I haven’t tried to reinvest into those feelings of excitement, love for all music, complete immersion into musical stories. Sunday afternoon reminded me of all of it and I will certainly make time for more of it.

The concert began with a ballet score by American composer Dominick Argento, ‘Royal Invitation’, which musically tells the story of Tongan Queen Salote Tupou III, who, in 1953, captured the hearts of the Brits during her visit for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Maestro Peter Bay, who is the music director and conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, visited Prescott to open the fifth season with the AZ Philharmonic and skillfully and precisely took the orchestra through their paces.

Next, a Steinway was moved to the front of the stage, and world-renowned Pianist Thomas Pandolfi, a Juilliard School graduate who can claim Vladimir Horowitz as his mentor, presented Mendelssohn’s Piano Concert No. 1. Seeing his fingers seemingly effortless fly over the keyboard at dizzying speeds was awe-inspiring, as witnessed by several standing ovations.

A brief intermission allowed me to see that the audience comprised people from across our neighborhoods … young people, old people, local musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, members of the ‘Dancing for the Stars’ lineup. It was very refreshing to see such an eclectic mix of community members coming together in their love for music. And they seemingly all tremendously enjoyed the concert, rewarding the musicians with standing ovations and vocal praises. Music unites.

After the pause, the orchestra flawlessly and exuberantly performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, which was composed in 1811/1812 after he was already deaf. Observing the joy on the musician’s faces while they were performing made my heart swell with happiness. It also reminded me why sometimes only classical music will do to allow your soul to become so completely engulfed … it’s musical story time at its very best. I encourage all of you to go at least occasionally and check it out. Tickets are available at AZPhil.org, and this is also where you find calendars as well as ways to donate and/or volunteer. So very worth it.

Musical shenanigans for this week, you ask? Thursday presents King Copper at the Courthouse Square for the last Summer Concert Series show. Be there! Jersey Lilly’s Saloon features Little Larry & the Drive on both Friday and Saturday night. At The Windsock Lounge, you can see Elvin Killerbee on Friday, and Well Dressed Wolves on Saturday. Back Alley Wine Bar hosts the Aragon Bros on Friday, while on Saturday The Ping Brothers will keep you dancing. And LazyG Brewhouse keeps you all entertained on Friday with Keenan Hammack, on Saturday with Doctor Shepherd, and on Sunday Terrance Raggins … and remember the Lazy G music hours are from 12 – 3 pm. Come out, dance a lot, have fun, be kind.

By Andrea Ramey
Across The Street Columnist

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