Music without Borders thanks
Tamara Poddubnaya, Artistic Director of the 7th Music without Borders – International Piano Festival at Gould Academy, joins me in thanking the Bethel community for the warm welcome and enthusiastic support given to her and Festival students during their recent time in residence on the Gould campus.
This year the festival added a fourth week to accommodate the number of students – 16 in all, including some of the most promising of the new generation of classical pianists from the United States and Europe – who wished to work with Professor Poddubnaya. Throughout this period, June 24 to July 20, they presented 17 public recitals and four, more informal afternoon “piano marathons.” Among many of Tamara Poddubnaya’s usual “surprises” were a guest appearance by soprano Johanna Ruby, a sophomore at Ithaca College School of Music, and a solo artist recital by pianist Henry Kramer, a Cape Elizabeth resident completing his graduate study at the Yale School of Music and about to launch his concert career. Throughout all of these events, the performers were overwhelmed by the gracious and respectful attention of so many local fans and summer visitors. Even when the air conditioning failed on July 19 and auditorium temperatures soared, a packed house sat quietly – one could have heard that proverbial pin drop – in rapt attention at Mark Demidovich’s solo recital.
The success of Music without Borders stems from the hard work of its participants AND from the many favors and kindnesses of the Gould Academy summer staff and members of the Bethel community, whose legendary Maine hospitality has grown over the seasons. The students fall in love with the campus, the town, and the people.
At the risk of overlooking someone, I mention the assistance of these generous residents: Scott Davis and his Sudbury Inn staff and Dick Rasor and the Bethel Inn staff again welcomed the pianists and their families to town. Brad Jerome let Festival participants cool off in the Bethel Inn pool, and he arranged for students to play the Steinway in the Main Dining Room during the Saturday dinner hour. Once again, Festival pianists played at Sunday services at the West Parish Congregational Church.
Deb Costello offered us extraordinary campus administrative support, and we renewed acquaintances with Gould’s very patient and understanding night watchmen. Our thanks go to Brian Scheidegger and the Ordway Dining Center staff, for lunches and many wonderful dinners, as well as the ice-cold drinks served during recital intermissions. When the electrical storms damaged the air conditioning controls, Gould’s head of maintenance, Jerry Bernier came in to troubleshoot the problem and arrange for a repair early the next morning, so that “the show could go on.”
Sally Taylor and Ginny Kelly dressed our stage with beautiful arrangements of flowers from their gardens, and several fans volunteered to distribute the Festival poster that Kevin McCarthy’s company so professionally designed and printed. Tineke and Marvin Ouwinga and Lynne and Bud Kulik worked their magic on all sorts of things, including dinners in their homes and tours of the Bethel area, not to mention jaunts in Bud’s 1947 Chrysler. Tineke coordinated home hospitality: delicious meals and good conversation – and, yes, even some piano playing, wherever there was one – at the homes of Stan Howe, Brendan and Jean Bass, Mary Haberman, Jan Stowell (with Ginny Gamble’s able assistance), Mike and Lorrie Hoeh, Carlie Casey and Charleen Chase, and Dutch and Elaine Dresser. Lynne graciously provided lodging for Festival veteran Veselin “Vesko” Ninov, when we exceeded the bounds of both Vogt House and Park Street House.
Tineke, Lynne, and Bud served as our ushers for the seventeen public recitals given during the three-week Festival, greeting old friends and making the many newcomers feel right at home. In what has become a Festival tradition, after the final recital and the fireworks, Tamara and the students assembled around Stan Howe’s kitchen table for late-evening desserts. Many people generously donated funds to support expenses, including the considerable costs of piano tuning and maintenance. Heat and humidity, unusual even for July, along with hour upon hour of daily practice and the many evening performances, kept our master piano technician, Mel Fletcher, and his son, Jamin, busy, “far above and beyond the call
MWB7 fans will be happy to recall that Professor Poddubnaya typically returns to campus to present Steinway Series recitals with one or two of her students during the regular school year. Notices of these special events will go out to our expanding e-mail list (Request to be on this list at firstname.lastname@example.org) and also appear in the Citizen and on the Gould Academy website.
Tamara Poddubnaya, the Festival students, and I send our thanks to everyone who helped make this 7th season of Music without Borders enjoyable for all and a resounding success.
Donald Christie, Jr., volunteer