How I Spent My Summer

Everyone remembers those school assignments ‘what I did on my summer vacation.’ If the musicians of the Jacksonville Symphony were writing their stories, it would be a delight of travel, education and new venues. There is a little bit of everything.

Todd Lockwood (bass) and his wife, Shannon (cello) visited New Zealand for some personal time and hiking. A long flight from Jacksonville but some spectacular scenery to take in.

Jorge Peña (viola), artistic director of the St. Augustine Music Festival, closed out the festival’s 10th year anniversary at the Basilica on King St. with a standing room-only crowd. The festival is billed as the largest free classical music festival in the United States and has entertained more than 5,000 people. Joining him for the closing performance on June 25 were Les Roettges (flute), Ilana Kimel (vioin), John Weiland (bass), Piotr Szewczyk (violin) and Ken Every (percussion).

North Carolina’s Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC allows many professional musicians to be kids again. The festival, which runs from late June to late July, is a combination of great performances, education of youth by professional musicians and fellowship training. First founded in 1961, it has remained a staple of the summertime activities of Guilford College. Flutist Les Roettges serves as the principal flute at the Eastern Musical Festival and is coordinator of the Faculty Chamber Series. Roettges left for North Carolina immediately following his performance at the St. Augustine Music Festival.

Oxford, England called and several Symphony musicians answered. Clinton Dewing (violin), Aurelia Duca (violin), Les Roettges (flute), Eric Olson (oboe) and Ellen Olson (viola) made the journey. The Olson’s daughter, Gina, came along to babysit the Dewing’s toddler, Siena. Following the trip to England, Dewing and Duca were headed to Sicily where Aurica’s sister is currently living.

Music Director Courtney Lewis is in Salzburg, Austria helped composer Thomas Adés with the initial performance of his new opera, The Exterminating Angel, at the Salzburg Festival. The festival, which runs from late July through August, will host the opera premiere on July 28. Jacksonville Symphony patrons may remember the performance of Adés Asyla at the closing Masterworks of the 2015-2016 season. Courtney plans to return to Jacksonville in early September to start the Florida Blue Masterworks series on September 30.

Violist Susan Pardue and her sister, Lea Slaton, are having a special summer celebrating their parents’ 80th birthdays. The sisters commissioned a special work to be played at the party in Statesville, North Carolina for Dan and Jane Pardue. The Pardues have influenced hundreds of musicians through their affiliation with the Mitchell Community College music department.