Monday, January 12, 2009

SPCO patrons blog about the festival

We asked SPCO patrons Paul Gripp and Denise (Dee) Heart to blog about their concert experiences throughout the festival. They introduce themselves to you below and their reaction to this weekend will follow soon.

Hello, SPCO Friends! My name is Dee Hart. My husband Paul Gripp and I will be sharing our thoughts and impressions of the SPCO’s International Chamber Orchestra festival here on this blog.

To start off, a bit about us: a short time after Paul and I met (online) we got married and moved to the Twin Cities. Paul, having grown up in Coon Rapids, was familiar with the area. He was eager to show me St. Paul and Minneapolis; thought we would enjoy our new life there.

For me, it feels sometimes as though I stepped through a gritty tunnel from gothic, gritty Pittsburgh into the magical Twin Cities. I love them both: the prairie-sprung glass blues and greens of Minneapolis and the gray and red quarried castles of St. Paul. Amazingly, for Paul and I (both life-long lovers of punk, soul, rock, and country music) the SPCO has become one of the biggest attractions of the very attractive life here.

It’s only been 13 months or so that Paul and I received a flyer in the mail offering budget seats to a concert. We had both made attempts to enjoy classical music before and even had a few favorite "songs." It seems silly to me now, but we really were intimidated by the thought of actually going to a concert, as opposed to a rock ‘n roll blowout. We talked it over: "What the heck, it's only twenty bucks for the both of us. If we get too bored, we can leave."

"If we get too bored," for me meant, "I'm probably not smart enough to understand this music." I had always felt like classical music was something I "should" do. Like eating lentils, or flossing every night. Wrong! Also, having grown up working class, I thought things like chamber orchestras were for rich people. Again, wrong!

I loved, too, how warm the audience was. For such a huge group, many people seemed to know one another. Paul and I are looking forward to sharing some of our impressions on this blog: how the music makes us feel; how a certain conductor or artist can create an entirely different mood from a piece we'd heard differently before; even the winter loveliness of the square in front of the Ordway--all twinkle lights and snow.

Oh, and before I forget, Happy 50th Birthday, SPCO! We’re so glad you were born!

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