Guest commentary: Phil puts on priceless event for Southwest Florida students

It was our privilege to take our grandson to the Philharmonic Center for the Arts for one of the stunning “Trip to the Phil” concerts. It was breathtaking for music lovers to see the beautiful hall filled with children, to appreciate their polite attention and enthusiastic applause and to hear the orchestra playing so beautifully a repertoire that spanned the musical ages.

Kudos to Maestro Andrew Lane, who not only conducted and narrated marvelously, but is a genius at creative programming which included the entertaining Presto-Adagio movement of Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony,” during which the orchestra members leave their chairs as the music continues until two remain. A Bach fugue followed, which starts with two players on stage and, section by section, the orchestra returns as the fugue theme is reintroduced.

There was Berlioz and Borodin and even video enhancement for Naughtin’s “Roller Coaster.” Entertaining? Indeed!

Who were these lucky students? Every fifth-grader in a Collier County public school, several private schools and home-school groups of various ages. With four curtains in two days, the audience numbered approximately 4,800 students and teachers from Lee and Collier counties, with 1,200 being band, orchestra and choral students from North Naples, Pine Ridge and Gulfview middle schools.

I am told that Collier County Public Schools pays some sort of fee. But my guess, after working a lifetime in show business, is that it barely chips at the tip of the iceberg in terms of covering the cost of the orchestra, ushers, stage hands, etc.

We, residents and visitors, can help by coming to hear this gem of an orchestra and by giving financially to the orchestra. How lucky we are to have our own Naples orchestra!

Naples Philharmonic Orchestra members, you should know that you have played the most important concerts of the season because those plush green seats were filled with your future adult audience.

Myra Janco Daniels, you should know that grandparents like me owe you for giving our community educational concerts like “Trip to the Phil.”

The bottom line? Cost to produce such an event? My guess, tens of thousands. Cost for yellow school buses to bring these students to the Phil? My guess, thousands. Cost for the experience, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these students? Priceless!

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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