A Lucky Day for Detroit!

Cross-posted at the Detroit Symphony Blog, because I am so famous and in demand! 😀

If you’re superstitious, you probably already have your lucky rabbit’s foot or some such charm or talisman at the ready, tomorrow being Friday the 13th and all. I would say that tomorrow is a very lucky day for Detroit, though. At a time of year when they could be taking a well-deserved post-season break, the DSO is kicking it into high gear for 8 Days longer. It’s like a fabulous, flambéed-Cherries-Jubilee bonus at the end of an already decadent and delectable multi-course meal!

I’m particularly looking forward to hearing Olivier Messiaen‘s Turangalîla-Symphonie on June 18. A killer piano part, massive percussion section, and ondes Martenot, all in service of the theme of forbidden love? Who could ask for anything more? 😉

Also, you don’t want to miss anything that New Music Detroit is involved in, and you get two chances to hear them during the festival: after the Mozart/Holst festival opener on Friday night, walk across the street to the MOCAD and stay up late with John Zorn, then come back on June 17th for Patterns and Structure.

Don’t just take my word for it, though — attend the whole festival and decide for yourself what the highlights are!

Why is this festival so important? Well, a few weeks ago, Dominic posed the following question to readers:

How do you think music helps change Detroit for the better?”

Here’s my answer: while thrilling performances of outstanding music are the obvious draw, this year’s festival has special significance for me personally. I moved from Southern California to Detroit exactly one year ago with my new husband, who was beginning his emergency medicine residency at Detroit Receiving Hospital. I confess that my expectations for the classical music scene here were not very high. Fortunately, while still camping out on the floor of our apartment waiting for our furniture to arrive, I heard about 8 Days in June on WDET radio, and a whole new world opened up for me. The Fisher Music Center is now one of my favorite places.

Then there’s the bigger picture. Both longtime residents and newcomers to Detroit are painfully aware of the city’s less-than-sparkling public image, both at home and nationwide. Try telling your friends and family in California that you’re moving to Detroit, on purpose — the mixed expressions of revulsion and pity on their faces are priceless. “But Detroit’s still on fire from the riots in the sixties!” someone actually said to me. Then try telling them that Detroit is being revitalized and there are actually some cool things going on, and they just assume you drank too much champagne on your wedding day and never quite recovered.

In short, the old dictum, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” doesn’t apply in this case! 😛

So, Detroit needs as many marks in its “good” column as it can get. I think having things we can be truly proud of will help Detroiters better face the city’s challenges. The DSO is one of the jewels in Detroit’s crown.

One more little story: I’ve spent some time on Facebook lately, reconnecting with friends from high school and college. Upon learning that I’m in Detroit now, one friend had this to say:

The tune for “Detroit Rock City” is inextricably linked to any mention of your town. I don’t think of the place as even having a symphony. :-)”

I’ll tell him June would be a great month to visit! 😀

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    One Response

    1. Hello! I followed your link from SP.

      I haven’t been to Detroit since around 1980. I recall reading an article in Harper’s last year, about how depopulated neighborhoods were reverting to native prairie, and the residents who’d hung on had taken up farming on the vacant lots.

      I live in Seattle, and my main interest is choral singing. I just started with a new community chorus, which has a summer session, as the one I’ve been singing with for the last couple of years does not. We got our music Tuesday, and it includes 4 madrigals. By coincidence, I’m working on a couple of songs by Purcell this summer in a group voice class. I chose the songs because I wanted to work on melismas. So I’ll learn a lot (more than I knew before, anyway) about music from that time and place this summer.

      There is a good amount of classical choral music performed here. I saw a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers by Seattle Pro Musica last month. I’m going to see “Aida” at the Seattle Symphony in August, which has a large chorus.

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