Orchestra marvelous, Potsdam an ‘oasis’
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 12:38 pm

To the Editor:

Sometimes something transcends or surpasses expectations. Well, that’s precisely what I experienced while attending an absolutely marvelous performance by the Orchestra of Northern New York, under the top-notch leadership of their conductor, Mr. Ken Andrews, which took place in SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall on Oct. 23.

Not only was the orchestra up to its usual, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing right here in little old Potsdam, N.Y.” very high standard, the absolutely beautiful and inspiring performance by the guest soloist of the evening, the renowned clarinetist Jon Manasse, served more or less as the “icing on the cake.”

During the intermission following Mr. Manasse’s performance, Dr. John Schwaller, SUNY Potsdam’s President, presented him with an award on behalf of the Potsdam Clarinet Summit. Following that presentation, Dr. Schwaller used the adjective “mellifluous” which couldn’t have been more appropriate.

After receiving the aforementioned award, Mr. Manasse commented on how well he’d been received here in our community, and how helpful everyone with whom he’d come in contact had been: in fact he called Potsdam an “Oasis.”

Regarding that comment, I moved here to the North Country about 18 years ago. Prior to that, I had a long, satisfying—at times even exciting—career in the field of music and other aspects of education, a considerable time of it in England and Europe, but mostly in the U.S. One might think, therefore, that having lived such an active and vital life (quite a bit of it in cosmopolitan areas), that residing here for the length of time I have might have caused the North Country to, by contrast, become dull and unexciting to me. But that hasn’t happened: The amicable and friendly ways of people in this area, plus the variety of events afforded by the four excellent colleges and universities which exist within a ten-mile radius, have caused me to view this as an excellent place to live.

Getting back to the orchestra: allow me to encourage everyone—including even those who believe that classical music is beyond their realm of interest and understanding—to take advantage of this marvelous organization. It’s truly a gem that we should cherish and be thankful to have in our midst. It’s something we all can—and should—enjoy!

I have to say Mr. Manasse most certainly hit the nail on the head when he spoke of Potsdam being an “Oasis.”

Al Vervaet

Hannawa Falls