Now that it’s over, I can report a wonderfully successful day!
As planned I woke up at 4:30 and was on the road by 5:30, heading from Boston to Long Island. By 9:00 I was four exits from my destination of the excellent Madison Theater in Molloy College when I hit gridlock for a half hour. That was the last glitch of the day.
The rehearsal and concert with the Long Island Youth Orchestra went wonderfully. These kids perform four programs a year, which might not seem like a lot. But when you consider that they only rehearse on Sundays for a few hours, it adds up to only five or six rehearsals per program. And the music they do is not “kid stuff.” The major piece on today’s program, for example, was the Vaughan Williams “London” Symphony, 45 minutes of serious playing! They also did a very good job with the overture that I composed and accompanied me consicentiously on the Saint Saens “Havanaise.”
After the concert I did a book signing, with the proceeds going to the LIYO scholarship fund. I always steel myself to be disappointed at these kinds of things. I’ve done book signings where people walk past you as if you were a leper. But today was great! We sold all 32 books (8 copies each of my four novels) within about 15 minutes! It was a pleasure to have been able to give something back to the organization which was so influential on my musical direction in life. Music Director, Scott Dunn, was a real pro to work with. Principal Guest Conductor, Susan Deaver, did everything to make my experience with the orchestra a positive one. And, more than anything, what a warm reunion I had with Martin Dreiwitz, LIYO’s music director for about half a century, and the man who made it all possible!
To top things off, four family members came to the concert from hither and yon, and we had a nostalgic dinner on Post Avenue in Westbury, where I grew up. The Mediterranean Kebab House where we ate wasn’t there when I was a kid, but the braised lamb shank was terrific, which is the important things. A great day of reminiscence and of making new friends.