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SYMPHONY REVIEW
Santa Rosa Symphony / Saturday, September 12, 2020
Norma and Corrick Brown. Santa Rosa Symphony Donors, Administrators, Board Members, Brown Family Members and Musicians

Norma and Corrick Brown

BROWN VIDEO GALA LAUNCHES SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY SEASON

by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 12, 2020

Similar to many North Coast musical organizations the Santa Rosa Symphony has scheduled a series of virtual concerts on video, spotlighting sections of the orchestra and the exuberant activities of its conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong. However, as an introduction to the season, a Sept. 12 gala video featured the 62 year-association of Santa Rosa residents Corrick and Norma Brown with the Symphony and Sonoma County music.

In a video spanning 69 minutes a bevy of musicians and SRS donors, many with raised wine glasses, paid warm tribute to the Browns, including their yeoman work on behalf of fund raising and design of Weill Hall. The eminent historian Gaye LeBaron narrated much of the event, with extended parts from SRS CEO Alan Silow and Board Chair Al Seidenfeld, the latter discussing the Symphony’s laudable community outreach and youth musical education.

There were highlights to be sure. The three Brown sons (Keven, Derek, Ryan) mentioned charming tales of the often frantic musical home life during their upbringing, and Concertmaster Joseph Edelberg told of the importance of the Browns’ time in Vienna and its impact on their musical culture. Mr. Lecce-Chong and harpist Chloe Tula played at the piano four hand a snazzy palm court waltz, and Mr. Lecce-Chong spoke in tribute to his conductoral predecessors Jeffrey Kahane, Bruno Ferrandis and Mr. Brown.

An extended musical segment came from a Vienna video of pianist Olga Kern, who played the three Gershwin Preludes (1934) with the most effective being the bluesy andante con moto with its ostinato left hand figurations. Ms. Kern’s connection with the event is unknown, as one might have expected the virtuoso Mr. Kahane to play in his video something that he links to the Browns artistry. Perhaps Schubert?

The early evening video on the SRS website ended with career personal reminiscences from the Brown’s in their living room, and a snippet at the piano four hands of one of the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes. It was a fitting tribute to two musicians whose contributions to area music are unparalleled, and happily ongoing.