On Thursday, July 9, 2015 I had the pleasure and honor of co-producing an evening of performances Celebrating the life of Ellen Hughes at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center on the campus of Harrisburg Area Community College. It was an opportunity to collaborate with someone I had long admired, Mike Greenwald, a legend in public television. As Mike wrangled the spoken word and theatrical portions of the evening, I pulled together a series of musical performances that reflected our friend Ellen's staggeringly wide taste. Musical participants included violinist Peter Sirotin and his wife pianist Ya-Ting Chang, pianist/composer Steve Rudolph with bassist/composer Peter Paulsen (who also performed a piece for solo double bass composed for the occasion by Jonathan Ragonese), Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra Musical Director Stuart Malina, pianist Keith Cheng, composer/vocalist Lisa Bielawa and singer Stuart Landon. The evening also included a lovely transcription by the composer Jeremy Gill, prepared exclusively for the event.
It was an emotionally charged day, somehow made more so by the dramatic weather, with fierce storms rolling through the area, Lisa Bielawa (seen on stage in the photo) dashed through the pouring rain to briefly rehearse her piece "The Tower Room" accompanied by Ya-Ting Chang on piano. She stood, drenched, and sang as Ya-Ting played. They had never played together before. Fortunately, she had time to to dry off and pull herself together before the curtain!
The evening closed with The Beatles "Hey Jude" with Stuart Malina and Stuart Landon, "The Two Stuarts", leading the Company and the audience in song.
It was a beautiful evening.
Photo counter-clockwise: Ya-Ting Chang and Lisa Bielawa rehearse • a slice of light view from backstage • collaborators Jeff Lynch and Mike Greenwald • the evening program