Kristi and I got tickets for the opening of the new season for the Paducah Symphony. The concert was featuring Jeffrey Biegel, who played "Rhapsody in Blue," George Gershwin's famous composition which, according to symphony director Ponti, had "one foot in Tin Pan Alley and one foot in Carnegie Hall." Pretty good and creative statement about the piece.
Biegel and the symphony nailed the piece. It was pretty darn awesome. It wasn't the first time I had heard the Rhapsody in Blue. I had actually played it when I was young - on clarinet and piano, although my piano versions were pretty weak. But, I knew the piece. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. The crowd went wild for Biegel, who actually came back out and did a very short encore of incredibly fast piano runs in a piece that he had apparently prepared for a such a purpose.
During the intermission, just before the beginning of the second set, the executive director of the Paducah Symphony came out and announced that Director Ponti had just signed an additional three years onto his contract. This is great for the symphony, as it seems energized and playing well under Ponti. No doubt, the Paducah Symphony is on an upswing. It's just amazing that a town of the size of the Paducah can have such a quality performing arts organization. It's an asset to the community, no doubt about that, and Ponti has helped to re-energize the symphony.