February 11, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day to Our Orchestra Couples

Over the years, there have been numerous husband-and-wife teams in the Orchestra. The first we have record of, in the late 1930s, were Dorothy (viola) and Frederick (percussion) Fennell.

In the past few years, we have written about our Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and Principal Oboe Erik Behr, who were married in September 2009, and Liana Koteva Kirvan (violin) and Lars Kirvan (cello), who were married in August 2009.

Among the other couples currently in the Orchestra are:
Jan and Dave Angus (flute and French horn)
Joanna Bassett (flute) and Mark Kellogg (trombone)
Nancy and William Hunt (violins)
Shannon and Wesley Nance (violin and trumpet)
Diane Smith (flute) and Joseph Werner (keyboards)
Patricia Sunwoo (violin) and David Brickman (violin)

In recent months, another husband-and-wife team arrived, this time even in the same section. Min Na Lee (clarinet) joined the Orchestra last season while her husband Jonathan Han continued to play clarinet with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. He has now moved to Rochester and is playing with the RPO while currently on sabbatical from San Francisco. He also is attending the Simon School at the University of Rochester for an MBA degree and they are expecting a baby girl in mid-April!

We checked back in with a few of the musicians to find out what their special plans are for Valentine’s Day – read on for their stories and photos.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Erik and I will be busy teaching our private students until early evening on the 14th but we plan to cook a delicious meal together. We both love cooking and have a lot of fun doing it together. We'll probably each try to surprise one another with a gift but the most enjoyable part of the evening will be just being home together. There are so many evenings that we are performing, albeit together, that we really appreciate the downtime we can enjoy at home!
– Juliana Athayde and Erik Behr
(Picture taken last December at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa)

On Valentine's Day, Jonathan will be taking midterms at University of Rochester. We are planning on having chocolate fondue at home (we just bought the dessert fondue mix from the Hershey Store at Niagara Falls) that night, with banana, strawberry, bread, and cheesecake. Unfortunately, since I am pregnant, we won't be having any wine or champagne to celebrate. We will probably have warm milk instead. However, this will be a very special Valentine's Day since this is the first time we are celebrating with our daughter.
– Min Na Lee and Jonathan Han

Mark and I (together with Rob) will be going to hear the brass and percussion chamber ensemble "Rhythm & Brass" in a concert at Ithaca College. Mark was a founding member of this group and took a year's leave from the orchestra to perform with them during 1994-95. It will be a nice chance to catch up with old friends and to introduce Rob to this part of our lives before he was born!
– Joanna Bassett and Mark Kellogg

Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, which is usually RPO’s day off. That also means that Monday is usually packed with kids’ activities, so among other things it means driving the four kids to school by 7:50 am. These are our kids, the kids of musicians, so like us, they do not like mornings as a general rule. While they are at school we do have some free time, so I’ll bet that if we do anything that day it will be a Valentine’s Day lunch! After school includes driving one or more kids to:

Brooke’s horn lesson
Brandon’s cello lesson
Wes teaches one trumpet lesson
Bridget’s dance class
Brianna’s gymnastics class
Brandon’s TaeKwonDo class
Brooke’s Bible study

Besides that we have homework for all kids, some kind of dinner plan, and all kids practicing on piano, as well as their primary instruments (except for Brooke and Brandon, who have lessons). Shannon and I will get away some other evening we are free and have a nice dinner out, I promise! (and she’ll still get flowers. . .)
– Wes and Shannon Nance
(photo by Kate Lemmon)

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