RPO’s Top 12 Moments for 2019

What a year we’ve had! As we celebrate the start of a new year – and new decade – let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from this past year.

12. Herb Smith’s Conductor Debut

In January, trumpeter Herb Smith made his conducting debut in Create a Symphony! Wearing many hats as he conducts, Herb led the audience in creating a symphony of its own.

11. Leslie Odom, Jr. 

Also, in January, Tony Award-winning Leslie Odom, Jr. graced Kodak Hall for a one night only performance.

10. Queens of Soul with Kamilah Marshall

In February, we welcomed Kamilah Marshall for her RPO debut! A part-time Rochester resident, Kamilah has been seen in Broadway shows, including RENT and Disney’s The Lion King, and recently worked with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift during her Reputation Stadium and RED tours!

9. Eternal Tango 

Kodak Hall heated up in March for two nights of sizzling music and dance in Eternal Tango. Hector Del Curto Tango Quintet, along with renowned tango dancers Guillermina Quiroga and Mariano Logiudice (right), showcased the essence and evolution of tango. Want to learn more? Click here for a brief history of tango.

8. The Music of Queen

In April, we rocked out a sold-out Kodak Center with the music of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor. Vocalist Tony Vincent and Windborne brought the music of the famous rock band to life for a one night only concert.

7. Beyond the Stage Year-End Challenge

We announced in May the start of our Season-End Challenge, highlighting the life of our musicians and the role music plays beyond the stage. From blog posts to Facebook live interviews, we showcased how the music inspires the rhythm of our lives in the Greater Rochester area. 

6. Summer with the RPO

Image: Hilary Argentieri

We continued sharing the art of music with our art-loving region with several concerts, from Bristol Mountain to Kodak Hall and Frontier Field. Our performance at I-Square brought many as we continued celebrating Independence Day Weekend!

5. Move to 255 East Ave

We MOVED things around in August as we announced our move from 108 East Ave to 255 East Avenue, across Little Theatre. Our new Patron Services Center, located on the backside of the building off Union Street, allows ease of access as well as free parking in the adjacent parking lot! 

4. Scheherazade.2 + Mothership
We kicked off our 2019-20 Season in September by taking part in the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival! Our adventurous and exciting program featured works by four living composer: McTee, Reich, Bates, and Adams. CITY Newspaper’s David Raymond lauded the concert in his review. “Call them pseudo-rave, call them neo-Romantic, call them Minimalist, call them whatever, these composers definitely belong on RPO programs.”

3. Around the Town Concerts

September’s Around the Town Concerts, presented by the Pace Family Fund, brought your RPO to neighborhoods across our city. Herb Smith returned to conduct select pieces from our current Season. Selections included Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor, Stravinsky’s Finale from The Firebird, and Menken’s The Little Mermaid Medley. 

2. Three Newly Endowed Chairs

In October, we were pleased to announce the endowment of not one but three chairs. Longtime RPO supporters Barbara and Patrick Fulford of Brighton endowed the second percussion chair currently held by Brian Stotz. Mr. Fulford, Chairperson of the RPO’s Honorary Board and on the Governance and Marketing Committees, is also a percussionist with the New Horizons Band. 

The Dumm Family chose Assistant Principal Second Violin Chair in honor of their father, a former violinist with the RPO, who also held the position of Personnel Manager. The chair is currently seated by one of Mr. Dumm’s former students, Daryl Perlo. 

Rob W. Goodling of Corn Hill endowed the Principal Tuba position, currently held by Craig Sutherland. Mr. Goodling’s full scholarship as a tuba player helped launch his professional career. “So many organizations have connections to the RPO,” he remarked. “So funding the RPO is my starting point.”

The three new chairs will add nearly $1 million to RPO’s Endowment over five years.  

1. GRAMMY Noms for the RPO!

In November, we were excited to announce the RPO’s TWO nominations for the 62nd Grammy Awards. American Rapture, recorded in 2018, featured the world premiere recording of Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto, written for and dedicated to Yolanda Kondonassis. The recording’s nominations were for Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. 

2019 was an excellent year for the RPO, and 2020 looks even better. We wish you the same in your personal and professional endeavors and hope the art of music carries along in your journey. 

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