A concert tradition that started my first year here and has never had a rain-out keeps the ball rollin’. It is an important eco-musical event, bringing Beethoven, benevolent giving and bugs together in in a benefit concert for the most natural corner of Knoxville, Ijams Nature Center. Over the years, this concert has had some memorable performances by prominent Knoxville figures in guest roles. Here are a few that come to mind.
Pat Summitt led the KSO in an unforgettable rendition of The Tennessee Waltz in Sept. of ‘97. But before she gave a downbeat, she made a substitution. She called out then-principal flutist Rob Cronin and instructed second flutist Jennifer Regan to take over first flute, claiming that Rob was suffering from “loser’s limp.” Senator Lamar Alexander made an appearance in the late 80's; he did a fine rendition of Please Release Me, among other things. Some time in the mid-90's, a local businessman (whose name I forget) brought his accordion AND his sense of humor, playfully dissing a colleague before launching with impressive zest into Lady o’ Spain. UT sports announcer Bob Kesling, a former student of KSO cellist Bruce Wilhite, rocked in Vivaldi’s Cello Sonata in E Minor back in the day at some point. In more recent years, David Keith and Bruce Pearl’s daughter Jacqui have soloed with us.
This year, Chista di Cicco will be our special guest and her unique vocal stylings will be augmented by fiddler Seth Hopper, an accomplice of hers in Knoxville’s swing ambassadors, Cristabel and the Jons. Yours truly will take a ride on “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” having taken many such rides before AND having busked with Mr. Hopper this summer on the Square.
For more details, call Ijams at 577-4717 ext. 117. Don't worry. The bugs are only attracted to our stand lights, and it should stop raining by then.