Maestro finale 'amazing'

March 23, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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Tuckwell finale

There was joy, no sadness, when Barry Tuckwell rested his baton at his final performance Sunday evening as conductor of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

And there was humor as the maestro turned to face the packed house at the Maryland Theatre and was besieged by friends and family members wearing T-shirts that said "Go Daddy."

Tuckwell's wife, Sue, said the "Go Daddy" hearkens back to a time when a close friend lived with the Tuckwells and began calling the maestro Daddy as a term of endearment.


"Then at one of the Antietam Battlefield performances, she began yelling 'Go Daddy' during the concert and the microphone picked it up," Sue Tuckwell said.

Her husband laughed and enjoyed that moment so much, the idea for the T-shirts was hatched, she said.

"It was amazing," Tuckwell said of his last MSO concert.

He said his plans for the future are to continue doing everything he has been doing - conducting and teaching.

"People think I have retired, but I haven't retired from anything except French horn playing," said Tuckwell, 67.

The world's premiere French hornist has merely resigned, not retired, as conductor of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, a group he founded 16 years ago and has nurtured all these years.

"The French horn is a very physical instrument," Tuckwell said. "I didn't want to stop but I figured I'd quit while I'm winning."

Tuckwell said he kept his emotions under control Sunday by concentrating on the concert and then escaping from the theater after the final curtain call.

"I was too busy to think about it being the last performance," he said, imagining that when he does think about it later, the emotions will catch up with him.

Veteran percussionist Alan Lichtman said he has been with the MSO for 11 years and he shared with Tuckwell the feeling of joy rather than sadness at the last performance.

"This was an overwhelming culmination of many performances, but there will be many more to come," Lichtman said. "Barry laid a wonderful foundation to build upon."

MSO Managing Director Marc Levy is looking forward to next year, and the next.

"The future is very exciting," Levy said. "Already our renewals for next year's season are coming in fast and furious."

Tuckwell finale'Always a pleasure'

Concertgoers Sunday ran the gamut in fashion, from evening clothes to blue jeans to casual chic. They all shared a love of music and an admiration for the maestro.

A man in a sweater stood in the rear of the packed house, moving his body with the music, his eyes closed in pure pleasure.

Children who attended were amazingly quiet and reflective during the performance.

"We drove 90 minutes for this concert, but it was worth it," said Andromeda Huff, a 12-year-old who came from Greenbelt, Md., with her dad, Alan.

"This is our fifth or sixth season and it's always a pleasure," Alan Huff said.

Linda and Lacy Rice of Martinsburg, W.Va., were part of a contingent of regular concertgoers from the Eastern Panhandle.

"We will keep on coming," said Linda Rice. "Now we need to get more Martinsburg people interested in this wonderful orchestra."

Howard Gilbert, a Hagerstown attorney, said he was especially pleased with the Dvorak selection played Sunday, which is one of his favorites.

"I really enjoy the symphony," he said.

Jan Rinehart ushered at the Saturday performance but came back Sunday to hear "Salute" again, the original piece composed by Joseph Jay McIntyre, principal MSO timpanist.

"It was so special," Rinehart said. "Saturday night, Emmet Burke, MSO board president, gave Joe a framed copy of his work."

And after the performance of the work Sunday, McIntyre presented Tuckwell with a special copy of the score.

In addition to "Salute" and Dvorak's "Symphony No. 9," the orchestra performed "An American in Paris" by Gershwin, and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" - the standard conclusion of the July Fourth concerts at the Antietam Battlefield.

"There are 16 cannon shots in this piece and I'm firing every one of them," Tuckwell said playfully as he began this piece - performed inside for the first time.

No fireworks though ... all the fireworks were imagined, savored and very personal.

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