BPO Musicians Add Sparkle to the Summer Solstice at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff

Click to purchase tickets to A Virtual Summer Solstice Celebration on June 20 featuring your BPO musicians

100% of the proceeds go toward the continuing restoration and operations of Graycliff

Written by Wendy Diina, Director of Special Projects and Associate Director of Development

It is a truly a difficult and challenging time in our history, one that has caused me — as it has all of us — unrest. Anxiety. Sadness. Unease.

When the pandemic hit and we all began working from home, attending Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting, caring less and less about whether you brushed your hair or put lipstick on for the call, feelings of apathy and boredom started to take over. The remaining BPO concerts of the season were cancelled and as a person who loves to visit with our amazing patrons over a glass of wine, collaborate with community partners, and interactively engage with my colleagues and our musicians, it has been challenging to be so isolated.

So when Anna Kaplan, the Executive Director of Graycliff, contacted the BPO to partner on a virtual event that celebrates the summer solstice, I leapt at the opportunity to be creative and engaged. The idea for BPO musicians to perform in the house with the sun setting behind them was greeted with enthusiasm by the four participating musicians: Amy Glidden (violin), Eva Herer (cello), Kate Holzemer (viola) and Henry Ward (oboe). They hadn’t performed together in person for over 3 months and it was apparent (from another Zoom call meeting of course) that they were looking forward to being together again doing what they do best — play beautiful music.

The excitement only grew upon conducting our site survey. When I pulled into the driveway of Graycliff — so glad to be out my house — I felt as though I’d traveled back in time. One can envision Isabelle Martin enjoying the summer home that family friend Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built nearly 100 years ago. The house and grounds are breathtaking and inspiring.

Today is the first day of the shoot with only a 3-person video and audio crew, musicians, and a handful of staff from Graycliff and BPO in attendance. Earlier when we arrived all donned in masks and having answered the now standard COVID health screening questions before entering the house, there was a slight nervousness in the air. To be honest, even for an extrovert like me, it’s suddenly overwhelming to be around even a few other people that you haven’t seen or worked with in so many weeks.

Yet as the musicians picked up their instruments and began tuning, tensions eased. When they launched into the first movement, the language of music transcended the spoken word and the laughter over errors broke any lingering tension.

As of this writing, I’m sitting outside the house while the recording goes on inside. I hear the sounds of Mozart’s Oboe Quartet in F Major carrying like a balm to the soul through the open windows. I take a deep breath as a slight breeze comes off the (blue!) water of Lake Erie. I see the sun setting on one the longest days of the year. And I feel something I haven’t felt in a very long time. Hope.

Photos and video courtesy of Connor Schloop.