By Jan Schwaner, vice president, Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
The Wellesley Symphony Orchestra has been busy during the pandemic finding ways to keep our musicians playing for you:
- Several players played socially distanced concerts for residents of the Elizabeth Seton nursing home last summer.
- In late summer, the orchestra played a chamber concert and a piano quartet outdoors at Elm Bank.
- On a beautiful fall afternoon, a string trio played for the Blessing of the Animals at Unity Farm in Sherborn.
- In December, musicians congregated virtually to perform a woodwind dectet and a brass quintet.
Valentine’s Day saw a release of a video of the entire orchestra playing Harry James’ iconic version of “You Made Me Love You,” seen on the orchestra’s YouTube channel.
Music director Max Hobart remembers the piece very fondly: his father, a dance band saxophonist, would take young Max along to sit at his feet when he played at Shimmer’s Lake in California on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. In later years, Max’s parents took him to the Hollywood Palladium to hear stars like Les Brown, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James. He remembers sitting at Harry’s feet when he played this song.
The orchestra plans another release in the spring, and hopes to resume outdoor concerts in the summer.
With the retirement of Maestro Hobart in June, the orchestra has embarked on a search for a new music director. The finalists will conduct concerts in the 2021-2022 season.
The orchestra has had another big change: Board President Leslie Holmes stepped down on Dec 31, and long-time orchestra and Board member Carol Davidson assumed the role. She joined the viola section of the WSO in 1975 and has served as principal viola for many years. She taught violin and viola in the Natick Public Schools and at her private studio before joining the The Rivers School Conservatory in 1993. She was an administrator at the Rivers School in Weston, as well as a teacher of performing music, music history and 20th century European history, specifically the Holocaust, until her retirement in 2019.
Playing in the WSO has been a passion of hers for the past 45 years. The joy of making music with such a wonderful group and performing for the enjoyment of others inspired Carol to join the board of directors in 2011. So far, during her tenure on the board, Carol has run the Michael H. Welles Young Soloist competition and spearheaded an outreach program, organizing small chamber groups to perform at local libraries, senior-living residences, and other venues. Carol looks forward to continuing the WSO’s collaboration with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and hopes to increase the orchestra’s connections with other organizations in the community.
Visit www.wellesleysymphony.org to stay up to date on all the orchestra’s events.