On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show 308 Chautauqua

Left to right: violinist Lucas Stratmann, pianist Elizabeth Tsai, Education Manager Mike Dahlberg, violinist Hannah White, and recorder player Martin Bernstein

Left to right: violinist Lucas Stratmann, pianist Elizabeth Tsai, Education Manager Mike Dahlberg, violinist Hannah White, and recorder player Martin Bernstein

Oh Chautauqua, how I miss you already! I’m home in Boston now, but just days ago I was at the Chautauqua Institution in Southwestern New York, where we recorded an episode of our radio show. If you haven’t heard of Chautauqua, let me paint a quick picture for you: imagine a huge, private summer resort completely devoted to arts, culture, and feeding the human spirit. Residents stroll down tree-lined streets past Victorian cottages and gardens on their way to any number of performances, seminars, and workshops. The atmosphere is both relaxing and invigorating, and it was such a treat to be able to participate in their summer programming.

We performed our show in their 4000-seat open-air amphitheater, which was awesome! Except for when it started raining really, really hard at rehearsal (which was not so awesome). Now normally this wouldn’t be an issue as we usually record the show in the safe confines of a soundproof concert hall, but this outdoor recording required some serious prayers to the rain gods. Luckily, just before the audience started to file in, the clouds parted, the sun set, and the show went off without a hitch!

A few of my favorite highlights: violinist Lucas Stratmann, who told what may be the most adorable teenage love story ever (and endured some good-natured ribbing by Chris O’Riley); pianist Elizabeth Tsai who played Chopin with so much heart it made me tear up onstage; violinist Hannah White and cellist Megan Yip who brought down the house with a fiery Piazzolla tango; and Martin Bernstein, the talented recorder player who proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that recorder is a serious concert instrument. He played Corelli accompanied by Chris on harpsichord, and the outdoor amphitheater provided a magical ambiance.

Tune in when this show hits the airwaves the week of September 21, 2015. And make sure to check out the fantastic photos in the flickr library too. (That was a shameless plug. I double as our staff photographer). Until next time…

 

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