Articles

Making a Maestro By Christian Kiefer
A baton, a podium and a trial by fire. Restricted from this perspective by the boundaries of the television screen, D. Kern Holoman looks a bit like some crazed puppet directing an orchestra that exists only in his own imagination. Read more...


Youth choir hires conductor, begins rehearsals
The GLAM Youth Choir, the Bay Area's first chorus for LGBTQ youth and straight allies, has hired Jessica Bejarano as guest conductor for the holiday season and has started having weekly rehearsals on Wednesdays. Read more...


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Ethan on stage conducting a 40 piece orchestra in front of 350 people. Jared fully attentive sitting up in his seat, somewhat tense, complaining he’s bored. Matthew asleep in the chair cushioned by our many rain jackets.
We went to a free concert for children by the Peninsula Symphony at the nearby College of San Mateo last week. We had to call ahead for the free tickets. Grandma Penny and Grandpa Jim came down from Berkeley to go with us.
It was a great program for the kids. Short pieces were introduced by the conductor. They started with Eine Klein Nacht Music, which is just a small group of strings, but then the entire orchestra came out. 40 pieces maybe?
For the Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique the conductor, talented and friendly Jessica Bejarano, first described the piece’s story - the composer is walking to the gallows, then he sees his true love for just a few sweet bars of music, then we hear the guillotine fall and head hit the floor and bounce (eegads!), and then the crowd cheers! The orchestra played these moments separately first, then played the entire piece through.
Then the conductor asked for a volunteer conductor from the audience. Who’s the first person to volunteer for anything? Ethan, of course. And she picks him! He jumps up and goes bounding down the steps of the theater. Does he walk to the stairs to get up on to the stage? No, he leaps on to the stage. The conductor, who had been giving instructions to the orchestra,, turns to look forhim and is surprised when he’s already at her feet ready to go!
She gives him a quick posture check - arms up! They start midway through the piece. Ethan conducts with his entire body, bending his legs to the music, his arms waving, feeling the beat and intensity, loving every second!
We find out afterwards that the guest conductor was only supposed to go 16 bars, but everyone was having so much fun that she let him go through to the end!
A neighboring audience member offered to email me pics. What a good samaritan! He got some great ones! I especially love to see how happy the musicians are. They seem to enjoy it as much as Ethan! I think I enjoyed it the most though.

And Matthew slept through the whole thing.Bow, Maestro!
Many thanks to the Peninsula Symphony for this wonderful childrens’ event!

*** Taken from the Blog of Katie Lipka, Ethan’s mother ***