Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baltimore Mandolin Concert

One of my favorite internet radio stations is called Old Fashioned Christian Music Radio. It is played out of Texas. The man who runs the station is very discerning and I have never heard anything offensive on this station. That doesn't mean everything would be appropriate for a Sunday morning worship service, but there has never been anything played that I had to turn off the volume. What a treasure in this day and age!

So last year I was listening and I heard a beautiful song played by the Chicago Mandolin Orchestra. Click on their name to hear their music.
I had never heard of a mandolin orchestra before! So I googled "Maryland+mandolin+orchestra" and sure enough, I found the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra! Click here to hear their wonderful music. So for the past year I have been waiting for the BMO to have a free concert that fit into our schedule. It finally happened last night. We drove 2 hours to Goucher College in Towson. Wow, was it ever worth it!
We learned all about the mandolin. From the 1880s to about the late 1920s, was the Golden Age of the Mandolin, which came from Italy. Here in our country, in the early 1900s, mandolin orchestras were very popular and could be found in most towns and cities, and on practically every college campus. Indeed, the director looked it up, and sure enough, Goucher College had a mandolin club in 1907!
The orchestra played a delightful mix of music last night. A John Philip Sousa march, a Scott Joplin rag, the traditional Italian song, Santa Lucia, a blues song, a variation of the William Tell Overture, and two Italian songs that were accompanied by an Italian Opera Soprano singer. There was no boredom here! Five of our children went and they all thoroughly enjoyed it and asked if we could go again.The BMO was founded in 1924 and the man who started it bought a bunch of instruments to get started. Some of those same instruments are being used by the orchestra today! The conductor/director pointed out all of the different instruments.

The pictures above show a man playing the typical bowlback mandolin. The second man is standing beside a mandobass. (The mandocello looks like a weird guitar.) And to add a deeper, mellow sound, the orchestra has 3 classical guitarists.

The orchestra draws from far. Several people drive an hour or more for practice once a week. I read on the website that people can join the orchestra after just a few lessons. Sure is tempting!

So for now I will keep an eye on their concert series and see when the next freebie comes up. Hope you are driving safely. We saw 3 dead deer along the road last night.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

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