What a Christmas it's been! I feel sorry for all the “snowbirds” who made plans to go south from Knoxville to escape what is usually a pretty cold (but hardly ever snowy) place during the holidays. I am seriously thinking of going swimming somewhere, but the rivers and lakes are probably mud-infused from all this rain-- three inches in two days! I'm recalling a folkloric Yankee weather index called the IFTWA index-- If twa' snow, it would have been about three feet!
I still feel the “buzz” from last week's Clayton Holiday Concerts. It was very fitting that the orchestra combine its classical forces with those of the bluegrass milieu. The late Norris Dryer always referred to Knoxville as “the Premiere City of Appalachia,” so to wed these two very different types of music together for our holiday concert was a natural for this town. Bluegrass master Paul Brewster and his classy act brought a demographic into the audience that wouldn't normally be into symphonic music. Kudos go to Maestro James Fellenbaum for tying the many forces together as if with a ribbon. Here's a shot of those "many forces."
If you attended one of these concerts, you saw the final performance of our horn section as it has been for the past few years. Second horn player Jennifer Crake Roche has decided to bow out of the orchestra to focus more on her family and her realty career. She has been a positive force in the orchestra from the get-go, and a vital part of our horn section. Her solid playing and level-headed attitude will be sorely missed. There was a get-together after the final Clayton concert last Sunday at the home of third horn Mark Harrell, and here is a farewell portrait of our horn section as such.
L-R: Jeffery Whaley, Jen Crake Roche, Sean Donovan, Mark Harrell. Also in photo: LOTS of food.