Last night was my last concert with the orchestra. I could not even have imagined a warmer and more sentimented send off than that one!
First, hornist Jane Sebring baked a beautiful and delicious cake with an inscription written in icing, "Not again Norman!" This has meaning to several BSO members who remember the time our former personnel manager, Bill Moyer, got a little fed up with me always being the last one on stage. I would get changed at our six minute call and be on stage a minute before tuning. (I would like to point out, for the sake of balances, that I always was at the hall warming up at least one hour before the concert or rehearsal started. :-) Anyway, one time Bill thought I was pushing it, and he announced over the P.A. system, "Not again, Norman!" in an anguished but gentle tone. It was hysterical! Thank you to Jane and her husband, Gus Sebring, the BSO's associate principal horn, for the cake and all the years of meaningful conversations and great music making. Gus has world premiered two pieces I've written and, hopefully, will be recording.
Also, BSO horn player, Jonathan Menkis, brought in some wonderful cookies that his daughters baked for me, accompanied by a very nice handmade card too.
Then the conductor last night was James Orent, who is one of the Pop's assistant conductors and a violinist as well. I enjoy Jim's conducting very much and he has participated in one of our Frequency Band recordings and concerts, as well. So to have him be the conductor of my last BSO/Pops engagement was a real gift. He announced to the audience, in a very sentimented way, that I was leaving and the audience let out a big sigh! Then he gave me a solo bow and, unexpectedly, spotllighted me in the last piece of the program, a swing version of "Frosty the Snowman" that had a big trombone soli in it. I also was given flowers on stage, which was a gift from trombonist (and long-time Frequency Band participant), Darren Acosta.
At this point, I was starting to get a bit overwhelmed because all of this was on top of the special gift and incredible note that Doug Yeo, the bass trombonist and my dear friend (who also has kindly played and conducted on Frequency Band recordings) had given me.
I received many heart-warming well wishes from other colleagues, stage crew members, the BSO driver, other staff, friends, family and even complete strangers that night and wonderful emails from current and former students, other family members and friends came flooding in as well. It was a heartfelt send off from people I really care about.
To everyone who played a part, including members of the orchestra, friends and those closer family members (especially my beloved wife, Carol, who also took the above photo before the concert), I want to say, "Thank You!" May your lives continue to be filled with the joy and wonder that music is and represents!