June 7, 2011

Farewell, But Not Goodbye

Photo: Kyle Schwab
This past weekend marked Christopher Seaman's final concerts as Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and following his final concert on June 4, the RPO held a special gala—aptly called A Bow Tie Affair—at the Country Club of Rochester to celebrate Christopher, his time with the RPO, and all he has done for and with the Rochester community.

The RPO could not, however, let the concert end with Christopher's final downbeat. Following three curtain calls and a farewell speech to the audience from Christopher, the Rochester Oratorio Society entered Kodak Hall to Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance waving American flags and Union Jacks! But instead of the traditional words (in England, it’s known as Land of Hope and Glory), Christopher's longtime friend and RPO supporter Peggy Savlov had re-written the lyrics to honor our beloved Maestro! The audience was able to sing to Christopher, who spontaneously decided to play the timpani along with the Orchestra. As a backdrop, an enormous British flag was unfurled from the ceiling, capping the moment in grand style.

Visit the RPO's Facebook page to view a photo album of images from this special night. To learn more about Christopher, including a timeline of his career in Rochester, and view pictures from his 13 seasons with the RPO, click here. You can also read the commemorative program book which includes numerous tributes as well as the lyrics to the musical tribute which closed Saturday's concert, by clicking here.

This is not goodbye, however: Christopher will assume the role of Conductor Laureate beginning with the 2011-2012 Season, and will return annually to conduct the RPO beginning in March 2012. Use this link to learn about his concert next season. The Christopher Seaman Chair is supported by Barbara and Patrick Fulford and The Conductor Laureate Society (click here for more information).

Before Christopher returns to Rochester, he’ll be back in New York State conducting the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra at the Chautauqua Institution. Join us for a special bus trip to see him on Tuesday, July 19th. Click here for details.

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