Within moments of watching an extended trailer for Composed at last summer’s ICSOM Conference in Washington, DC, I knew we had to bring the film to Virginia and provide broad exposure beyond just the orchestra. The subject matter would have universal appeal and the quality of the film was first rate.
On Sunday, March 5th, John Beder’s film was the main attraction at the Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk, VA. John and and his wife Katie arrived (driving from Denver!) in time to hear the Virginia Symphony’s Sunday matinee of French music and catch up with VSO Music Director JoAnn Falletta. That evening Composed was presented in a classic art deco movie theater (now in its eighty-second year) before an enthusiastic packed house.
The evening opened with the Ambrosia Quartet (all members of the Virginia Symphony) performing the first movement of Ravel’s String Quartet, which was followed by the screening of Composed. After that, VSO Resident Conductor Benjamin Rous moderated a lively panel discussion with the quartet, John Beder, and Dr. Kamal Chemali (Director of the Sentara Music and Medicine Center); there were also many questions from the audience. As Rous observed, “The event generated a tremendous amount of interest, from a broad cross section of the public. Their very interesting questions and comments made it clear that the topic resonated with their personal experience, even among the non-musicians in the audience.”
Following the panel discussion, folks were able to walk two doors down the street to Ynot Italian for an informal “meet and greet” with the panelists (where a portion of their food and beverage purchases that day would be donated by the restaurant to the VSO). A union pianist was hired for the occasion. The Local also donated more than half the net proceeds from T-shirt sales that evening to the VSO Education Department.
As the coordinator of the event, it was gratifying to see everything come together—the Ambrosia Quartet, the panel discussion, the social hour, the partnership of the orchestra with the management of the Symphony, the participation of Local 125, and most of all the beautiful documentary film that provided the inspiration for all of us to deliver this event to our community!
John Beder was thrilled with the evening as well. “Partnering with the Virginia Symphony made for one of the most memorable nights of this past year. We were delighted that Composed was shared with an audience not just of musicians, but music fans brought together through the efforts of the VSO’s musicians and administration all in the united goal of educating and inspiring their community. Creating a unique event, the Virginia Symphony was able to present Composed to their community as both a highly successful fundraiser for the orchestra and as an educational opportunity. We are so proud to share in the event’s success and hope we can engage further in events such as these that benefit the musicians, the organization, and their audiences. Our sincerest thanks to all those who helped to make this such a memorable occasion.”