On Friday evening, June 10, we will be opening our twenty-first Midsummer’s Music season with a gala champagne toast and some wonderful music at Birch Creek.
That’s what the calendar and my schedule says. That’s also what the pile of music on my music stand in my practice room says. But as I write this, my first column of the season, it is May 26, just two weeks to D-day, and waves of pelting rain are blowing against the window, the trees are being buffeted to and fro, and it is only 46 degrees – and I am not even in Door County yet; I’m still in the Chicago area. I can only imagine what Door County must look like. I picture salt trucks coating the Sister Bay hill and On Deck Clothing removing shorts and T-shirts in favor of sweaters and parkas.
My brain says the season is imminent – practice, pack, and pray. My body says hibernate – eat rich foods and go to sleep. Fortunately, the weather forecast says it is going to be in the low 90s here on Memorial Day. That means it will be at least 50 degrees by that time in Door County, right? As the old expression goes, “whether it’s cold, or whether it’s hot, weather is weather, whether or not,” and we are coming to Door County, weather or not! In fact, we are so pumped up about this season and our opening night at Birch Creek, I know we are going be able to help warm things up and bring lots of sunshine.
Many years ago (over 20), I met with a fellow named Robert Hastings. Bob was one of the original owners of the Churchill Inn and later became the Executive Director of the Door County Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his interest in Door County business and tourism, Bob was a music lover. We talked about the concept of a chamber music festival in Door County starting in June. From that initial discussion, Midsummer’s Music was born. Little did I realize at the time how intrepid one would have to be to undertake such an enterprise. Of all the challenges I could envision, dealing with the elements was not among them.
All this comes to mind because we have termed our festival season this year “A Musical Journey.” Every season is a journey for us because we crisscross the length and breadth of the county, playing in so many different venues. This season will take us from Green Bay all the way to Rock Island. However, the title also occurred to us because of the origins of the music we will be performing. Composers from Norway to Russia and Armenia to Spain will share their colorful palettes. Tchaikovsky sends us an Italian postcard, “Souvenir of Florence” for string sextet, in Russian handwriting.
I think of the early explorers of Door County. What must Marquette and Jolivet and LaSalle have had to deal with, and here we are travelling some of the same paths they did, even crossing Death’s Door Strait to a distant island. Although they must have endured some severe hardships, they also must have learned how enticing Door County can be when the sun finally comes out, the flowers bloom, and Midsummer abounds in all its glory.
We hope you will join us for the first phase of our Journey this year at Birch Creek on June 10th (for our Gala Opening), Sunday, June 12th at the Ephraim Moravian Church, or Tuesday, June 14th at Bjorklunden. We start and end this excursion each evening in France, interrupted by a visit to Germany and a side trip to Venezuela. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call 920.854.7088 or visit www.midsummerSmusic.com.
Reprinted with permission from the Door County Advocate – Door County Now.