1999 HighlightsContemporary North American Repertoire
From Luxembourg, we traveled by train to the town of Hienspach, outside of Strasbourg, France. Here we gave a workshop on our original North American repertoire for the mandolin master class given by Juan Carlos Munoz (know to some in the US for his recordings and performances with the Duo Calace and his recent duo mandolin recording 'Visions').
The evening's concert at the Maison Ungerer in Hunspach was well-attended (click to view the concert program). The PMO by now was in top form, and gave its best reading to date of Robert Martel's suite 'Wrung form the Silence,' as well as a heart-felt rendition of Chagall's Mandolin' and our other by-now familiar repertoire.
The next evening we were treated to a concert by the Master Class faculty. Highlights of this concert were the mandolin duo of Juan Carlos Munoz and Mari Fe Pavon performing Sebastien Paci's 'Duo Clasico' and Yasuo Kuwahara's 'Railroad Song.'
Our tour was capped off by a day spent in the lovely Alsatian city of Strasbourg, where all visited the cathedral, rode the 'bateaux mouches,' ate traditional 'choucroute,' and bought gifts for the families back home.
We left our host families of the Haguenot Mandolin Orchestra, (which is directed by the irrepressible Jean Claude Lux), to fly home from Stuttgart, feeling that we had accomplished our stated goal, which was to demonstrate to the European community the excitement of our new original repertoire. We made close friends in the international mandolin and guitar community, and are hoping to be able to host our new friends here in the US sometime in the near future. In addition, our orchestra made huge and immeasurable gains as a group, both in interpersonal relationships and in our confidence, musicality, and sense of ourselves as a vital, meaningful music organization.
Dating from our initial European contacts, this trip took roughly two years of preparation. The trip could not have been managed so well were in not for the tireless planning efforts of our team of officers led by PMO president Beverly Roy, working in conjunction with the international organizational skills of Concept Tours of New York.
The cost of this trip was shared equally by all members, but the individual cost was alleviated somewhat by various fundraising efforts. An invitation to perform at the Kennedy Center earlier this year brought us some good opportunities - as a result we were invited by our city's mayor to perform in his home, which in turn led to important sponsorship from local banks and businesses. Our successful CD release party for our new CD 'Resonance' (which features much of our new repertoire) was a high profile event. By promising a gala wine and cheese event, with live music, plus a copy of the new CD, plus tickets to an up-coming concert, the PMO was able to attract a large sponsorship and was able to raise a significant amount of funds to apply towards our travel expenses. Through this release party we targeted a whole new support base, including associates in the business community who proved to be wildly enthusiastic about our plans.
In conclusion, the Providence Mandolin Orchestra's 1999 European tour succeeded on many fronts - PMO members had a thrilling time touring and performing in scenic Old World Europe and made many new friends there - we were able to gain respect for both our new repertoire and our interpretations - and we matured immensely as a performing arts organization. It is an experience we hope to repeat, and one that we hope many others will be able to experience.
Munich / Luxembourg / Geissen