Mixing the majesty of classic Beethoven and Ravel with the emotion of contemporary sentimental favorites, Washington D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra wrapped up its 2011 American Residency tour of Kentucky Feb. 24 before a sold-out house of 760 people at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.
After performing 120 musical events in eight days on a six-city Kentucky residency tour—including small ensemble performances, master classes, and shows by the full 100-piece orchestra—the group bid farewell to the Bluegrass state at The Center. The orchestra ended the night on an emotional note with a stirring encore performance of American composer Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” Kentucky’s official state song.
“It was amazing to see everyone in the audience rise to their feet when they recognized ‘My Old Kentucky Home,’” Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, said. “It was a very emotional evening, and one none of us at The Center will ever forget.”
The concert performance in Somerset was the last stop on the 2011 American Residency Kentucky tour, proudly presented by the Kentucky Arts Council in partnership with the National Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra also performed Aaron Copland’s stirring suite from “Appalachian Spring,” as well as Michael Daugherty’s “Route 66.”
Earlier in the day, three members of the National Symphony Orchestra presented a one-hour multimedia performance workshop, “Connections: More Science and Music,” in The Center’s video production studio before a live audience of Southern Middle School students.
The performance of the educational workshop will be streamed on-demand over the Internet to a potential audience of 50,000 students across Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
Southern Middle School eighth-grade band student Dustin Scott could hardly believe his eyes when tuba player Stephen Dumaine pulled out a washing machine hose, a common piece of equipment found in any hardware store across America, and began playing the long tube as a musical instrument.
“It was really cool,” Scott said after the performance workshop. “I have never seen anything like it.”
Thanks to technology available at The Center, middle school, high school, and college students across Southern and Eastern Kentucky will be able to watch this same program on the Web without having to leave their classrooms using the Mediasite webcasting and knowledge management platform.
“Being able to promote any educational opportunity to students is an excellent use of our technology capabilities,” Dianna Winstead, associate director of arts, culture, and events at The Center, said. “We are excited to be able to offer this learning experience to students within our 42-county primary service area and beyond.”
“I put this program together with the idea to show students how some of the concepts they learn in science class are related to music,” Caruthers said. “It is a one-of-a-kind program.”
“Connections: More Science and Music” features Caruthers, the show’s host, on cello; Dumaine, the National Symphony Orchestra’s principal tuba player; and Natasha Bogachek on violin.
The performance workshop was part of a series of educational outreach programs presented by National Symphony Orchestra on music education during its 2011 American Residency program.
American Residencies are sponsored in part by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, as it has been since 1994. Duke Energy is the Supporting Sponsor of the 2011 NSO Kentucky Residency. The NSO American Residency concert in Lexington is supported in part by Windstream Communications. Since 2006, the chamber music and outreach performances have been supported by the Kennedy Center Abe Fortas Memorial Fund for chamber music and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas.