Walter Bitner

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Yearly Archives: 2020

Richmond Symphony Musical Ambassadors Program (MAP) 2020

Richmond Symphony Principal Flute Mary Boodell demonstrates her instrument during a performance by the Principal Woodwind Quintet at Rural Point Elementary School, Mechanicsville, Virginia, February 27, 2020 (click images to enlarge)

 

One of the most wide-reaching and robust programs we produce, the Richmond Symphony Musical Ambassadors Program (MAP) curates, develops, rehearses, and performs over 125 concerts each season in metropolitan Richmond area schools. Although many in our community may be unaware even of the existence of this program, it nonetheless fulfills a vital aspect of our music education mission, introducing more than 45,000 children to classical music and the instruments of the orchestra every year.

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Ho! Young Rider

Image by Dieter_G from Pixabay ~ click images to enlarge

This song, whose origins are shrouded in obscurity, was hands down the most popular song that I ever taught to children.

When I arrived at Blue Rock School to begin my tenure there in February 1991, Ho! Young Rider was already the student favorite, and in my memory, I learned this song from the students themselves within the first couple of weeks I worked there – in a bit of table-turning I asked the students to teach me songs they already knew so I could sing with them. Ho! Young Rider was first on that list. I soon added a guitar accompaniment and through repetitions in my music classes that spring arrived at the format in which I would teach this song to children for the next fifteen years.

 

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As I Went Over Tawny Marsh

Loch Vennachar, Perthshire, by Harold Sutton Palmer (1854-1933) (click images to enlarge)

 

This gem, beloved by my choirs, was one of my favorite canons to teach to and sing with children, and a staple of my children’s choir repertoire for many years. I first came across it the early 1990s in a book I can’t find right now, a little red book of traditional songs in English used for students of English as a foreign language at schools in twentieth century continental Europe. I taught As I Went Over Tawny Marsh to my students at Blue Rock School and at most of the other elementary schools I taught at afterwards.

My students always called this song Tawny.

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Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program

 

Meet the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program through this three minute video we made over the last couple of months! Turn your sound up!

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Flying

 

I am sitting in Seat 14D, a window seat on a medium size passenger airplane. In the economy class section of the plane where I am seated there are four seats across the width of the giant metal tube – two seats on each side with an aisle down the middle between them. Other passengers are filing down the aisle as I sit here typing on my laptop and the plane’s public address system is playing country music songs. I’ve been sitting here for about five minutes as the rest of the passengers board the plane. (more…)

Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Side-By-Side with the Richmond Symphony, February 9

Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, Daniel Myssyk, conductor after a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, November 17, 2019, Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond (click images to enlarge)

 

Next weekend, the young musicians of Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra in collaboration with the Richmond Symphony present our annual Side-By-Side concert: the culmination of months of work on the part of the students, and a highlight of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program (YOP) season. This year’s Side-By-Side promises to be a memorable occasion for all, as 125 musicians gather together on stage to perform Hector Berlioz’s monumental Symphonie Fantastique.

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Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 Announces Competitors, TwoSet Violin, and More

 

Its been my privilege to work next door to the U.S. team planning this year’s Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 since I began working at the Richmond Symphony in August (our offices share a wall). So I’ve been inspired on a regular basis as hints were dropped about details for this major international musical event, as hints became hopes became plans, applications were made, contracts were drawn up, and all of a sudden here it is: January 22, the day of days, the red letter day!

Today is the day when much of what has been kept secret is finally revealed. (more…)

Off The Podium Debuts on ChoralNet

I’m thrilled to announce that today I begin a weekly blog on ChoralNet, the professional networking site for the global online choral community. ChoralNet is operated by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), which I’ve been a member of for years. It’s a distinct honor to be invited to share my work with choral musicians through this forum, which reaches thousands of members, all over the world, every day.

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It’s a Symphony Sing-A-Long! January 25

 

Next Saturday, the Richmond Symphony presents our third LolliPops concert of the 2019-20 season:

It’s a Symphony Sing-A-Long
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin, conductor
Sarah Kate Walston, soloist

Saturday, January 25, 2020
10 am: Pre-concert Festival
11 am: Concert
Carpenter Theatre
Dominion Energy Center, Richmond

Purchase tickets here on the Richmond Symphony website.

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The Japanese Garden

(click images to enlarge)

 

I came to the Japanese Garden because I thought it would be serene here. I’m having a bad day, and spending some quiet time alone in the peaceful environment of manicured footpaths and miniature bridges, gentle streams, colorful fish and artfully arranged rocks will help me to feel better. I’ll sit quietly in the bosom of nature like a Buddha. Everything will be ok. (more…)