Good morning everyone,

Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinet; Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinet
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Boy, aren’t we all up early this morning? Forgive me if I ramble; I’m severely sleep-deprived and I don’t entirely trust my mind at this ungodly hour, but I’ll give it the old college try. Away we go. First order of business: Rio Clemente! What a wonderful, funny, odd little fellow. We all had a great time at the benefit concert on Sunday. He just walked out onstage and starting playing, first thing. That didn’t surprise me all that much, since he’s a jazz pianist and I expected a fairly informal afternoon of music. At one point, he left the stage in the middle of a song to change his beret. Now as we all know, I actually don’t know much about music, but I’m pretty sure this guy was really good. His hands zipped up and down, and sometimes he’d throw in little snatches of popular tunes right in the middle of his jazz acrobatics, always with a knowing little nod or wink. He brought his friend, whose name I never really caught and now don’t remember at all, out to play upright bass, and it was clear from that guy’s expressions that Rio was making it all up as he went along. But being the consummate professionals they obviously are, it always sounded as tightly choreographed as anything else I’ve heard this year. In other news, the bass player whose name I don’t know was spotted conversing with Concert Hall Manager/my boss Ellis Hilton after the concert, and with any luck will be appearing again, in whatever capacity, in the coming years. Fingers crossed. But I digress. The second half of the concert was even more entertaining than the first. Rio played some variations on “How Much is that Doggy in the Window?” and then, since cats make up the other half of an animal shelter’s population, he played a song from Cats. See what he did there? Very clever, indeed. It was really a wonderful couple of hours (these jazz concerts always last longer than they say they will, but I don’t think anyone minded all that much), and we all left with a bit of a bounce in our step.

Now, everybody make sure you’re sitting down, because I have some truly wonderful news. This Saturday marks the kickoff of this year’s CMS (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center) concert series! For those of you who don’t know what that means, I’ll tell you. Right now. It means that professional, as in Lincoln Center professional, musicians will be coming to Drew to perform some seriously epic works by some seriously awesome composers. This Saturday’s concert, which starts at 8 p.m. (a pre-concert chat led by Drew senior music majors, including our close friends Rachel and Emily, will take place at 7:15), features such German greats as Hindemith, Brahms, and the inimitable Beethoven. Seriously, everyone. If you haven’t made it to a single performance before now, I forgive you. But you have to be at this one. Really. It’s exactly like seeing a concert at Lincoln Center, but cheaper, (presumably) closer, more intimate, and less crowded. So I will devoutly hope to see you there. Now good night, sweet princes and princesses, and if angels sing this lullaby, then in your heart there is a sanctuary safe and strong and I really need to get some sleep. Until next time.

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