BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Making a special trip from London for the Music of the Baroque’s annual gala, A Musical Feast, its illustrious music director, Jane Glover, raised her baton for an evening of Mozart, Handel, and Hadyn at the Chicago Fairmont. The organization has just completed its 47th season, excelling in performances of masterworks from the baroque and classical periods and championing composers of that time.
Declan McGovern, soon to observing his first year anniversary as executive director, described the musical interlude:
“Jane Glover, celebrating her 15th anniversary with us, delighted in telling the story behind each of the works featured in the gala concert, from Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” to Handel’s “Eternal Source of Light Divine.” The program culminated in Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony” in which the musicians left the stage one by one, returning at the end to toast the audience!
“The backstory is that Haydn composed the symphony to tell Prince Nicholas Esterházy—indirectly, of course—that the musicians would like to be home with their families rather than in the remote summer palace, entertaining the prince. The prince took the hint and sent them back to their homes in Vienna the next day.”
To be back in Chicago in September for Baroque in the Park, MOB’s first open air concert in Millennium Park on September 12, Jane commented: “The evening was great fun—this is such a wonderful group of musicians and singers with whom I’ve been able to build a very close working relationship over the years, and it was so nice to celebrate some of our most cherished repertoire among friends.”
Music of the Baroque Chairman-Designate Thomas Kuhns made a special presentation to Jane thanking her for her artistic leadership. The pair then pulled the winners of the raffle, which included trips to Vancouver Island, New Orleans, Sonoma, San Diego, and a dinner for 20 provided by Blue Plate Catering as the grand prize.
In a novel twist, the gala also featured Poems While You Wait—8 poets with vintage typewriters composed personalized poems for gala attendees based on quick questions about their interests, family, and birthplaces.
Jean Perkins, whose husband, Leland Hutchinson, is a former chairman of Music of the Baroque, commented:
“Lee and I have been attending the gala for many years. What makes it special is its simplicity—a concert by MOB’s talented musicians who donate their time, followed by cocktails, followed by dinner—during which the music is soft enough for a good table conversation—followed by a dance floor full to overflowing until the band, this year the Becca Kaufman Orchestra, packs up. Jane’s participation this year was icing on the cake.”
Declan acknowledged the generosity of the board and guests in making the evening a financial as well as artistic success. As a result, the organization’s Strong Voices choral education program in six Chicago public schools will continue to thrive.
For more information about the Music of the Baroque, visit baroque.org.