The 2013 annual convention of the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA) will be held from September 25-28 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Carlo Aonzo joins the BMO for a concert, March 2013.
On March 23, 2013, the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra was honored to have Italian classical mandolin virtuoso Carlo Aonzo join us in a concert. Unfortunately, the concert was not open to the general public, but for the 175-200 employees of The Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, who did attend, it was a jaw-dropping musical experience and an unparalleled introduction to Italian classical mandolin music performed by an undisputed master. Aside from playing along with the BMO’s first mandolin section throughout the evening, Carlo also regaled the audience with a fabulous solo – “Valzer Fantastico” by Enrico Marucelli. The crowd’s enthusiastic response called for more. so Carlo went on to play Vittorio Monti’s “Czardas” as an encore. BMO guitarist Tony Norris accompanied Carlo on both pieces. It was a magical and unforgettable evening for the BMO.
Brief update on the BMO's Mando for Kids program
(March 2013.) Three things. First, Laura Norris's Mando for Kids curriculum has been finalized and formalized, and she was delighted to announce recently that it has been cloned and started by a member of the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra in Seattle, Washington.
Laura's Mando for Kids program was presented and discussed at the annual American String Teachers Association conference that was just held from February 27th to March 2nd in Providence, Rhode Island. The presenter was Dr. Jim Bates from Otterbein University in Ohio, who has had a long association with string instruments, including mandolins. Dr. Bates has been a frequent conductor of the Classical Mandolin Society of America's en masse mandolin orchestra at its own annual conventions.
Laura also announced that the kids will be treated in March by visits from two internationally renowned mandolinists. Carlo Aonzo from Italy and Tamara Volskaya from New York (originally from the USSR) will meet the kids and play for them.
Kristin Turner joins BMO as new music director
We are pleased to announce that Kristin Turner, recently retired from the music education faculty at Ball State University School of Music in Indiana, has been selected as the BMO's new music director to replace David Evans, who retired from the orchestra in October 2011.
Ms. Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Western Washington University, a Master of Music from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. She has had a varied career in music and music education. She taught strings/orchestra in the public schools of Tacoma, Washington, for twenty-two years. After earning her Ph.D., she taught at Arizona State University for a year and a half and then moved to Ball State in 2001. At Ball State she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music education and was primarily responsible for string/orchestra education. She has held various posts in the American String Teachers Association and is currently the chair of the ASTA Collegiate Roundtable.
Ms. Turner conducted the Youth Symphony Orchestra of East Central Indiana and she has served as guest conductor for the All-Region Orchestra Festival in Fishers, Indiana, and the Evergreen Music Festival in Olympia, Washington.
2011 CMSA convention, 12-16 October, 2011
The Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra proudly hosted the 2011 convention of the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA) from October 12-16, 2011, at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson, Maryland.
This was the 25th annual convention of the CMSA and the silver anniversary of the organization. But it was also a silver anniversary of sorts for the BMO, because the BMO hosted the CMSA's first convention in 1987. What goes around comes around!
In a departure from standard practice, we featured mandolin orchestras and ensembles at this year's convention. We enjoyed concert performances by mandolin groups from all across the mid-Atlantic region: The Mandoleers (from Arlington, Virginia), the Philadelphia Mandolin and Guitar Ensemble, the Baltimore Mandolin Quartet, the Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra, the Providence Mandolin Orchestra, a combined ensemble of members from the Long Island Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra and Mandophonics from Southwest Florida, and the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra.
But we didn't slack on solo performers either! Jazz mandolinist Aaron Weinstein, jazz/classical mandolinist Joe Brent and classical mandolinist Chris Acquavella all gave outstanding performances. They also imparted their expertise in workshops. In addition to that, Italian mandolin virtuoso Carlo Aonzo happened to be in town and he attended the convention for a couple of days. Carlo also gave workshops and entertained the audience while the results of the solo playing contest were being tallied.
The culminating event of the convention was, as it is every year, the performance of the en masse orchestra. This year, with record attendance at the convention, our en masse orchestra, under the baton of Dr. Jim Bates, numbered about 150 players! Thanks to the sponsorship of this event by the Music Department of Goucher College, we were able to hold the concert in Goucher's 1,000-seat Kraushaar Auditorium. The hall was just about totally filled and the performance was glorious!
Our Composer-in-Residence this year was Victor Kioulaphides, and the en masse orchestra performance featured one of his compositions, "Hues of Dusk." Victor's works were heard and discussed in other performances and workshops as well. The en masse orchestra also performed a piece called "Swimming Down the Stars" by local Baltimore composer Jonathan Jensen.
Right before the Friday and Saturday night concerts began, children from the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra's youth program, Mando for Kids, performed for a sing-along of some old, familiar tunes. The kids play mandolins that were acquired using CMSA grant money, so it was very satisfying to see that money at work.
The competition in the Norman Levine Playing Contest seems to get stiffer and stiffer every year, and 2011 was no exception. This year's contest was won by Keizo Ishibashi. And there was some mighty fine mandolin playing in the Open Mic as well.
Next year's convention will be hosted by the Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra (www.minnesotamandolinorchestra.org) in Minneapolis from October 3-7, 2012. If you're new to CMSA - or not yet a member - and you missed this year's festivities in Baltimore, please plan on coming to Minneapolis for more of the same.
BMO Director David Evans retires, October 2011
David Evans, the BMO's director for the past 25 years, has retired from the orchestra. His last appearance as conductor was at the 2011 convention of the Classical Mandolin Society of America in Baltimore, when the BMO played to a full house at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium on October 15, 2011.