Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Introducing our Music Director Kathleen Lohrenz Gable

We just can't explain how excited we are that Kathleen Lohrenz Gable will be joining us as our Music Director for Trouble In Tahiti! In just five short days she arrives to share with us her expertise at the keyboard and to help us shape and nuance this sparkling, yet darkly dramatic score that Mr. Bernstein has given to us.

Kathleen is joining us from Saskatoon where she currently teaches Applied Piano and is the Music Director for the Music Theatre Ensemble at the University of Saskatchewan. Most of us in the cast however, know her from our fond days of Opera NUOVA (Newly United Operatic Vocalists Association), Edmonton's national level opera training program.

Kathleen is very busy trying to catch all of her university students up so that she can join us here in Vancouver for the Fringe Festival, but she had some time to tell us about an exciting encounter she had personally with Leonard Bernstein.

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon to New York City we had an opportunity to observe Leonard Bernstein as he conducted the Portland Youth Orchestra who were sitting first chair beside the New York Philharmonic. We watched a rehearsal in the afternoon when the harpists was having difficulty with the score. Berstein was working hard with him and it was a tense moment. We decided to attend the concert later that evening. At the concert the harpist absolutely played his part perfectly and Bernstein gave him kudos with an OK sign in his conducting pattern. As a teacher of many students of this age this gesture greatly affected me. I was very emotional and decided that I was going to meet Mr. Bernstein. We simply walked past all of the check-points where people had security passes and tickets to meet Leonard Bernstein. We had no such documentation and felt that our only hope was to march straight past the check-points. We walked up to his dressing room and knocked on the door. He called out to come in. We entered and there were about thirty people in the room. I waited in line and in a couple of minutes he talked to me. I told him that I was a teacher and how the day and concert had affected me especially because I was passionate about working with young people. He took my head in his hands and told me to keep doing what I was doing because I was doing very important work. I have NEVER forgotten a moment of this encounter. What a privilege!!

What a privilege indeed! And thank you so much for sharing that story with us! Mr. Bernstein was right, the thing that you are doing is very important and we are so proud and honoured to have you come to Vancouver and share your passion with us!

If you didn't get a chance to read the previous blog post "Bernstein - A compulsion to share!", now is the time to do so. Kathleen's story is living proof that Bernstein truly believed in education and people!

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