Today Longwood Symphony Orchestra and New England Conservatory joined together for "Symphonic Relief for Haiti," a concert that brought out the best in all of us, to raise funds for Partners In Health and the people of Haiti. Thanks to all the hard-working people at New England Conservatory and The Rendon Group.
- 150 musicians graced the stage of Jordan hall, spanning in age over six decades, from student to seasoned professional
- Student musicians representing The Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Longy School of Music and New England Conservatory played side by side with members of A Far Cry, Jupiter String Quartet, and Longwood Symphony Orchestra
- Star emcee Joyce Kulhawik added sparkle, heart and passion to the performance
- Haitian Consular General Gabrielle Dupiton and State Representative Linda Forry spoke on behalf of Haiti
- Suzanne Battit, Director of Development for Partners In Health spoke on PIH's behalf
- Dr. Allen Counter, who has recently returned from a humanitarian mission to Haiti, read the words of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, to "grow into your ideals so that life can never rob you of them."
From this concert, we have raised nearly $90,000 and are still totalling today's proceeds.
On Friday, Haitian-born Jean Bernard Cerin, who opened the concert with a moving rendition of "Grief," shared with us how important this concert was to him. It was an opportunity, he said, to do something for his people in Haiti. In the audience today was his mother. She had just flown in from Haiti to hear her son's performance. After the concert, Mrs. Cerin described the day of the earthquake. She said she was just entering a supermarket when the ground began to shake and the market itself began to undulate. She spoke of a hand of an angel, the woman next to her, who grabbed her arm and made her run back outside. A minute later, the market was flattened. When they could see again ("I was blinded") as the dust settled, her thoughts went to her daughters, who were at home. She returned home to find that half the house had collapsed during the quake. Miraculously, the family was in the other half of the house. All had survived. It was for these who survived and those that were lost that Jean Bernard sang...about weeping angels and the promise of a white dove.
This morning, just as I was leaving for the concert, the phone rang. It was Jonathan McPhee at the airport in Toronto, where delays and security snafus had caused him to miss the flight that would have brought him to the concert hall in time for the performance (The Boston Ballet had just performed in Ottawa's NAC the night before). Could we ask Larry Isaacson, the cover conductor for the day, to step in for this concert?
Larry was terrific, and ran a superb rehearsal, but after all that we had put into creating, organizing and producing this concert, not to mention Albert Schweitzer Portrait itself, it would still not be quite the same without Jonathan.
But Jonathan himself had just met an angel named Naresh in the Toronto airport's baggage claim. Having heard the story of our remarkable concert, and how important it was for our Maestro to be there, Naresh made phone calls, smoothed paperwork and facilitated arrangements so that Jonathan was suddenly on the next plane to Boston. Thirty minutes before LSO was to walk onstage, Jonathan McPhee touched down at Logan Airport and led the Albert Schweitzer Portrait after all.
Once again, the words of Albert Schweitzer resonate:
"Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter-- to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way."