HAROLD AND MARTHA QUAYLE, Donors
We got interested in opera way back in the ‘60s, in the early days of the Opera Society of Washington. Then in the ‘90s we just really got started traveling to see operas. A favorite thing of ours is to see new operas. Whenever we see a world premiere going on somewhere, we try to go to it.
SUE CHIANG, Costume Shop Coordinator, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
From seventh to twelfth grade I played flute in my high school band, which recruited middle-schoolers to help round up the numbers in our small Massachusetts community. We played a mix of classical and contemporary music and so I learned to appreciate Mozart and Bach as well as Broadway show tunes.
One day in rehearsal after playing a particularly rousing rendition of the Impresario Overture, the entire band begged to play it again. And we did while our director beamed.
NOLAN WILLIAMS, JR., Musicologist, theologian, songwriter, producer and CEO, NEWorks Productions
In 2007 I took 33 singers to Italy for the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival. One of our four performances was in a town called Maiori. There are two towns next to each other, Maiori and Minori — Major and Minor.
SCOTT EICHINGER, Manager of Individual Donor Relations, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
One night, late in the summer of 1995, I took my grandmother Audrey to see a local theatre company’s production of the musical, The Secret Garden. I thought it would be a great treat for her. She enjoyed the movie version of the classic story and she had never seen a musical on stage. As we sat in the theatre and the lights went down, she took my hand and held it through the entire performance.
…I found myself watching her take in the performance. She was transfixed! There was magic in her eyes.
DAVID ROBINSON-SLEMP, Associate Director of Development, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
In 2009, I attended The Royal Ballet’s production of A Month in the Country by Sir Frederick Ashton. This was the first ballet that I had attended since childhood and one of the few I had ever attended willingly. The performance took place at the Kennedy Center only a day after a horrible Metro crash in D.C. that killed nine people and the company dedicated the performance to those who had died.
The dancers performed with incredible grace and finesse, as well as with “superhero-like” agility. I would later describe their synchronicity as almost transcending human ability.
SCOTT AUCOIN, BM Candidate in Composition and BME in Music Education, UMD School of Music
One of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had was hearing a recording of the Britten War Requiem. It was my sophomore or junior year, an informal assignment from my composition teacher. I don’t think he knew it would turn into this profound thing for me.
That experience changed my ideas about music and the way music can affect you.
CARMEN BALTHROP, Soprano, Professor of Voice, UMD School of Music
The most moving experience I’ve ever had actually didn’t happen on stage.
The story starts when I was eight years old. My father had a radio and television shop in the basement of our home where he would just tinker around with things, lots of machines that had lights, knobs and dials.
I think what happened in that instant was that I was awakened to the idea that singing — singing in that style — was something I could do.
DR. MAYRON TSONG, Associate Professor, Artist Teacher, Piano, UMD School of Music
Some years ago, I gave concert at an Arts College in Yunnan province, China. Because there was no heat and the concert was in December, it was terribly cold in the hall. My parents were with me and my mother insisted that I wear sweaters underneath my concert dress, so I looked quite huge, but at least I was warm enough, or so I hoped! My hands and fingers were cold and stiff and I feared the concert would not go well.
They were draped with blankets and they wore big coats, hats and gloves, yet the mood was good, even excited…They were all freezing but everyone stayed until the end of the concert.
LYNDSEY GORE, Production Coordinator, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
My friend Jill had worked with the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap for years, and after weeks of her hounding, I braved a sweltering September day for its final showcase. I marveled as young Hawaiians, South Koreans, Turks and Qataris boldly shared their cultures in joyful song and dance, seemingly unaware of the tumultuous relationships that their countries are known for. Beaming, I ran backstage to congratulate Jill’s team, just as the back door burst open with a gust of wind.
As I watched him walk away, I believed it too, and that belief fuels my chosen work to this day.
LIZ LERMAN, Choreographer
I was at a concert by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Brandeis University in 1968. One of the pieces they performed was “How to Pass, Fall, Kick and Run” with composer John Cage, Merce’s long-time collaborator, as part of the performance.
That was the moment I said “okay” to myself. It was beautiful, and possible.