I am back from the windy city in all its summer glory! Two concerts of the 3rd and final installment of LOTR- the CSO and Ravinia Music Festival have proven to be one of the most exceptional orchestras I’ve ever had the opportunity to share the stage with.
With such a long-standing heritage of musicians, their ability to bring to life elements of Howard Shore’s score is simply brilliant. The LOTR movies can be an unusual project for symphony orchestras. The show requires the musical details that instrumentalists must perfect in classical repertoire, but also musicians must have the depth and stamina to play 3.5 hours with one intermission in order to make this contemporary work a success.
I find such joy seeing how this score comes to life each place we go. Having a dad as a trombone player, who used to have Northwestern and the CSO as his old stomping ground, It was such a time warp because in my dressing room, I looked up to find the EXACT same poster from Ravinia’s 50th year Anniversary season, which is the exact one hanging over my dads office for as long as I can remember! I knew the gravity and history such an institution demanded!
The weather was absolutely marvelous! The first night we had around 10,500 in attendance, and over 13,000 fans filling the lawns- over 23,000 people at Ravinia over 2 days! It was THE most successful event for the CSO at Ravinia ever! We were so welcomed, and certainly Chicago has anticipated our coming back with the final movie. Amazing!
Last year I was able to have my husband with me, seeing the Navy Pier, the “jelly bean” breaking into some Giordano’s deep-dish pizza, and going into the sky box-all the “must dos” were checked off my list. This year we spent time at the famous botanical gardens, the lake, and exploring Evanston and many of North Shore’s most beautiful homes.
Back on the home front we have been packing up our entire house preparing for my husband’s first deployment. It is certainly no small task putting all the baby gear, clothes, furniture and all the junk a family of four can acquire into boxes! No wonder people don’t often move- but such is life in the military.
We spent an amazing month of July dividing our time between the Finger Lakes with our dearest friends, our families, and making pit stops at our most cherished childhood amusement parks. We also had our annual LOTR family BBQ in the Poconos, and even though Maestro Wicki and Bea were not able to be there from Switzerland, we Skyped with them and reveled in some down time merging our “Road” family with our real families. My co-workers really are the best!
With the kids getting older it is so nice being able to live every moment as a nuclear family to the fullest since we know it may be quite a long time before all four of us are together again while Jake is away. In both sides of my life, the time can seem so fleeting and precious. Whether it is singing 3.5 hours on stage with the CSO or enjoying each day with my husband and kids while he is here stateside either way I cherish them both!
Reminiscing on my time in Chicago, I appreciate that if the next day I sound like Kermit the frog, I know that I lived fully in my time here at the CSO, with these amazing musicians, and together we put the music first. My dad may not be with me here at Ravinia, but I hope I can make him proud in a place where he still carries some of his fondest memories.
Be in touch soon! Kaitlyn