Sunday, November 16, 2014

Achieved is the Glorious Work

Last night, the Wheaton College Artist Series presented Haydn's THE CREATION with John Nelson, conductor.

It was easily the most complex production of my young career. According to my boss, Tony Payne, Creation at Wheaton was also the most complex production of his over three decades at Wheaton. After well over half a year of coordinating, discussing, organizing, and re-organizing the details of all that was involved in all the activity leading up to and surrounding last night's concert, I think it is safe to assume that all of my colleagues and I, not to mention all the Wheaton students who were involved, are now breathing a collective sigh of relief. I was actually in a bit of a daze at church this morning, and not just because of the lack of sleep. After months of continuously thinking about this project, with all the details and their multilayered connections, spinning in my head, I woke up this morning with the very liberating feeling of no longer needing to mentally hold it all.

This is not a confession that I almost had a break down or anything like that. Sure, there were moments when I was, as I put it to a friend yesterday, "professionally annoyed." And of course I know I did not do everything perfectly; I certainly hope to learn much from this experience to apply to my future work. But, truthfully, I am also breathing a sigh of satisfaction, and I think that is true for the others as well.

There are so many things I could say about the Creation at Wheaton project. Hearing from music students about the thrill of rehearsals with John Nelson. Seeing a group of high school students engaged in their special workshop. Witnessing the fine work of my student staff, aptly executing every task I assigned to them (I must pause here at say thank you to Matthew James, Anna Krcek, Cathrine Peistrup, and Sameah Villaca). I was also, at the risk of sounding conceited, very gratified to see people use the hashtag #WheatonCreation that I created for the whole project back in February. Needless to say, I have yet to fully process everything (and being still short on sleep as I write this, I will likely not finish doing so today.)

So I will simply offer a few reflections on last night. First, we had a tremendous audience, both in scope as well as in style. Moments like that, when Edman Chapel is alive with energy and excitement, are always special, and last night took it to a new level. Everyone was enjoying the evening.

Second, we had a tremendous group of musicians. Wheaton College is indeed blessed to have such quality student music ensembles. They performed with such passion last night, no doubt driven by the fact that the piece they were performing is a part of their faith. I was in the backstage corridor with the ensemble directors when the students all came back at the conclusion of the performance, and it was so special to see 260 very happy musicians walk past us.

And third, I had the unique experience of having one of my best friends from my days at Wheaton College, my senior year roommate Nathaniel Olson, as one of the featured guest professional soloists!

All told, an experience I will not forget anytime soon. I am so grateful to have been part of it.

And now a couple pictures from last night...

My senior year roommate and one of my best friends from Wheaton, Nathaniel Olson, sang the role of Adam in THE CREATION.

Maestro John Nelson, flanked by the soloists and backed by the Wheaton College choirs and orchestra, greets the audience to begin the concert.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a blessing to take part in the experience. Thank you so much for your tireless work on it. It was a production that I will remember for the rest of my life!!