Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You need a reed

There aren't too many conducting legends in outstate Michigan, but Donald Flickinger is one of them. Flickinger has conducted community bands, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp adult and teen orchestras, Ferris State University bands and orchestras, and many others. His passion is for music, and Tuesday, he conducted the 17th annual Mount Pleasant Stringtacular.
That's an interesting program. Junior high string students from Mount Pleasant, Chippewa Hills and St. Johns, with a few high schoolers thrown in to fill, come together for one day to perform in a massive string orchestra.
Those massed strings sound surprisingly good, especially considering the group first gets together about three hours before the show.
This year, Flickinger decided that the finale -- "New York, New York" -- needed a fuller sound than could be given only by strings. It needed a trumpet and some woodwinds -- and Robert was recruited to provide a clarinet. The full orchestral sound went off without a hitch.
Today, I passed Peter Orlik in the hall and told him how much I enjoyed the show. He is the husband of Mount Pleasant's West Intermediate music teacher Chris Orlik, who organizes Stringtacular. I've known him for 34 years -- I had him when I was a student at CMU.
(We've apparently forgiven each other.) I told Dr. Orlik (I still can't think of him any other way) that Robert was happy he'd been part of it as a clarinetist.
"Ah, the clarinet!" Dr. Orlik said. "I paid for two degrees with one of those."

No comments: