In October, I had the opportunity to meet musicians of two ICSOM orchestras, under very different circumstances.
On Friday, October 12, I traveled to Chicago to support the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra musicians during their strike. For eight hours I joined them on the picket line, marched from the Civic Opera House to Daley Plaza for their rally, and delivered a speech there. Before the rally began, the brass section of the Lyric Opera Orchestra performed beautifully (despite the cold and rainy weather) for those who attended. The musicians delivered what they can do best, and their music set the proper tone for the event. When talking with the musicians throughout the day, their love for opera and our profession truly was apparent. Soon after my visit, the strike was settled and the Lyric Opera Orchestra musicians returned to work. I look forward to attending a Lyric Opera production soon, so that I can observe these fine musicians in action—indoors.
From October 21 to 24, I visited Salt Lake City for a site visit, in preparation for ICSOM’s 2019 annual conference. Having never been to Utah before, I really was impressed by its stunning natural beauty. Within hours of arriving, I attended an afternoon performance of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet given by the Utah Opera in the historic Capital Theatre, followed by dinner with the orchestra committee.
Two days later, ICSOM Chair Meredith Snow and I traveled to nearby Ogden to hear the Utah Symphony perform a run-out concert at a beautifully renovated high school (a stunning building that featured art-deco architectural design). Recalling that a merger between the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera had occurred soon after the millennium, it was good to observe both an opera and an orchestral event during my time there. While in Salt Lake City, Meredith and I toured five hotels under consideration for our conference, with Utah Symphony musician leadership Julie Edwards and Keith Carrick, who served as excellent hosts and ambassadors of their city.
As I now reflect upon my October travels, the common thread is apparent. ICSOM is there for its membership, in good and troubled times. So many of the Lyric Opera Orchestra musicians stated their appreciation for ICSOM’s presence, both in person and on social media. Likewise, Utah Symphony musicians are pleased to be highlighted by ICSOM with our August 2019 conference. While it will be the 12th time that ICSOM has held its annual event in Utah, the last time was in 2003.
Seeking to promote unity, ICSOM continues to be an important presence for its membership. Feel free to contact me at any time with your thoughts on this at AustinLPaul@gmail.com.
Note: The author is ICSOM President.