Following our last performance in 2001; we sort of fell down on the job and really didn’t get started on serious attempts to listen to the symphony frequently until 2005.
March 6, 2005 saw a quick weekend trip over to Delaware, OH to see a performance in the Gray Chapel at the Ohio Weslyan University. The Rexford Keller Memorial Organ of 4522 pipes, 82 ranks, and 55 stops pretty much filled the entire sanctuary of the chapel and this remained the best performance we heard for years.
On October 29, 2005…we flew over to London for the weekend to drink Guinness, meet Bill Miller (Connie’s choir director) who happened to be in London at the same time, and attend a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. This organ has over 10,000 pipes with the largest ones being about 3 feet in diameter and easily 80 feet tall. Unfortunately; Royal Albert Hall is about the size of the Superdome in New Orleans and is more of an arena than a concert hall. This results in pretty bad acoustics so the performance was just average. It is a really big organ though.
Our next performance was Feb 26, 2006 at Strathmore Hall in Rockville, MD with the National Philharmonic Orchestra. This was a local trip from our home in Fairfax, VA and despite being an electronic organ the performance of both the orchestra and organ were outstanding.
Mar 4, 2006 had us driving down to Richmond, VA to the First Baptist Church for a performance. Again, a pretty decent performance…albeit we had to suffer through a Massian piece first.
Feb 4, 2007 was our first attempt to really go out of town for a performance. We hopped on the shuttle and flew up for the day to New York for a performance at a small Catholic CHurch in mid-town. The good news was that the church had a nice pipe organ in it…the bad news is that the orchestra didn’t bother using it but hauled in a rock band type electronic organ with the speakers sitting right in front of the organ console. Supposedly this was because the orchestra couldn’t tune to the organ but who really knows. In addition; the scheduled guest organist refused to play on that piece of junk so they got a (bad) student to play instead. The overall result was not really worth listening to…but we stopped by P.D. O’Harley’s afterwards and drowned our sorrows with Guinness and Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Later in 2007 we tried to fly out to Chicago for a performance on November 18. Unfortunately this trip got aborted at the start…we arrived at BWI Airport outside of DC to catch our 9AM flight which was cancelled due to a broken plane. We tried to reschedule but were unable to get another flight which arrived early enough for the concert so we had to just cancel the whole excursion and go back home.