MOtif Logo June 2005
The Newsletter of Musical Offerings

Volume I, Issue 1

Arts and Letters Award, October 2004

Joan Christenson Honored as Artistic Director of Musical Offerings

by Robert and Lee LaCaff

Arts & Letters recipients
The Arts & Letters recipients were Rick Riordan, Cathy Vargas
and Jean Christenson

In October, 2004, Joan Christenson was one of three recipients awarded an Arts and Letters Award by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library. This award, which has been presented since 1972, recognizes and celebrates individuals who have demonstrated notably outstanding accomplishments in the Arts or Letters. Recipients have included writers, artists, musicians, educators, publishers, and entertainers, whose dedication and devotion to their chosen field have served to enrich the literary, artistic, and cultural life of San Antonio.

Joan was recognized for her work as Artistic Director of Musical Offerings, one of San Antonio’s premier chamber music organizations. Since becoming Artistic Director in 1989, Joan has produced many concerts of distinction, including the Jazz Meets Classical series, now in its thirteenth season.

The other two recipients of this award in 2004 were Rick Riordan, award-winning local author of adult and children’s fiction, and Cathy Vargas, photographer and artist of world renown who is currently the Head of the Art Department of the University of the Incarnate Word. Before each honoree gave a speech, they were introduced by someone familiar with their work. Joan was presented by Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio, San Antonio Symphony Concertmaster. Thank you Stephanie for your thoughtful introduction!

Photo by Andy Nodine.

Musical Offerings chosen to present 3 Guerra Library Concerts in 2005

Musical Offerings has been chosen to present three concerts in 2005 in conjunction with the first anniversary of the new Henry A. Guerra, Jr. Public Library branch at 7978 Military Drive West. Working with MO to present these concerts is Barbara Celitans, San Antonio Public Library Program Manager,and Heidi Hoecker, San Antonio Public Service Manager of the Guerra Library. Mrs. Celitans said "Musical Offerings was chosen to present the concerts because they’re so versatile." All concerts are free of charge to the public.

Jazz Meets Classical members
L to R: Mark Rubinstein, Darrel Tidaback and Stephen Girko
represent Jazz Meets Classical

The first two events were presented in April 2005—Taste of Tango and a miniature version of Jazz Meets Classical. Performers in the Taste of Tango concert were Joan Christenson, violin, Mark Rubinstein, accordion and Christine Debus, keyboard. Performers in the Jazz Meets Classical presentation were Mark Rubinstein, keyboard, Stephen Girko, clarinet, and Darrel Tidaback, bass. In each concert, the musicians shared tidbits of interesting information with the audience and performed a one hour concert. The final concert, Good Vibrations, will take place in November 2005. Featured will be Michael Gast, Principal Horn of the Minnesota Orchestra and Joan Christenson, violin. Plans are being made to invite school groups to this educational concert.

The concerts are made possible by Councilman Enrique M. Barrera from District 6 who allocated Human Development Services Funds (HDSF) for special programs at Guerra.

Taste of Tango members
L to R: Jose DeLara, Joan Christenson, Loreen Alvarez,
Josue Garcia, Christine Debus

2004-2005 Musical Offerings Season Review

Taste of Tango

It is said that it takes two to tango. But Musical Offerings does it better with nine. We formed our own orquesta tipica—violin, accordion, bass and piano—and presented a concert of classic and modern tangos on November 14, 2004 at the First Unitarian Universalist Church on IH-10. Performers were Joan Christenson, Beth Johnson, Mark Rubinstein, Christine Debus and Josh Wright. The program was greatly enhanced by the addition of four tango dancers; Jose and Janice DeLara, directors of the Viva Tango Orchestra and Josue Vasquez Garcia and Loreen Alvarez, directors of Puro Tango de S.A.

Great Piano Trio members

Great Piano Trios

Mendelssohn, Schoenfield and Rachmaninoff! Famous piano trios by three of the world’s finest composers were presented February 1, 2005, at Christ Episcopal Church on Belknap. Judith Vander Weg, former adjunct faculty in cello at UTSA and currently Principal Cello of the Flint Symphony, returned to Musical Offerings for this concert with Christine Debus, staff accompanist at UTSA, piano, and Joan Christenson, violin.

Jazz Meets ClassicalTM XIII and the music of 3M’s: Mingus, Monk and Morton

Jazz Meets Classical (JMC) just keeps getting better. The goals of this unique collaboration between jazz and classical musicians in San Antonio are to combine jazz and classical elements, showcase the work of local composers and arrangers, and create a memorable experience for musicians and audiences. The thirteenth presentation on April 3, 2005 at the McNay Art Museum and April 5, 2005, at the Witte Museum showcased the music of Charles Mingus, Jellyroll Morton and Thelonious Monk (3M’s) and the composers who inspired them as youths. Much assistance was provided by Sue King at the McNay Museum, and by Mimi Quintanilla and Gwen Rivera at the Witte Museum. The appearances of the musicians and arrangers for the McNay Art Museum concert were made possible by a generous grant from the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts. Thank you RHR Fund for your support of Jazz Meets Classical!

Jazz Meets Classical members
L to R: Joan Christenson, Matthew Diekman, Linda Verner, Mark Rubinstein,
Darrel Tidaback, Kyle Keener (kneeling), Rob Hardt, Matthew Dunne,
James Scott Balentine, Stephen Girko

The forte of the JMC series, apart from the fine musicianship of the 12 artists on stage, is the immense quality of the arrangements. James Scott Balentine, Professor of Theory and Composition at UTSA, Matthew Dunne, senior lecturer at UTSA, and Darrel Tidaback, adjunct faculty member at Indiana University South Bend and at the University of Notre Dame, created 10 extraordinary arrangements of music by the 3M’s. The concert opened with music of Claude Debussy, Charles Ives and Richard Strauss, all influences on the 3M’s. This series continues to delight musicians and audiences! In April 2006 we will feature the music of Dave Brubeck and others.

MO news is good news.....message from the Artistic Director

I personally want to welcome you to Musical Offerings’ very first newsletter! We’ve had such an extraordinary season that I felt the need to share our endeavors with our dedicated supporters. Beginning with the Arts and Letters award in October 2004, it’s been all uphill. When Musical Offerings was chosen to present three chamber music concerts in 2005 to celebrate the first anniversary of the new Henry A. Guerra, Jr. Public Library branch, I knew it was time to share events like this with our audience.

I am deeply appreciative to all Musical Offerings’ donors and volunteers who have been especially generous this season and helped enable these fine programs. I also thank my small, but dedicated board, all of whom I am very fond.

Please enjoy the newsletter. We invite you to familiarize yourself with Musical Offerings, to attend our concerts and to share in the versatile programming and creative collaborations that characterize Musical Offerings.

Joan Christenson

Musical Offerings Goes to the MOvies

by Marilyn Faye

December 29 was not an ordinary movie night. Nor, was it an ordinary movie. The house was filled with Musical Offerings fans mesmerized with the sounds and sights of Phantom of the Opera, the remake of an old story, featuring the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber.

For Musical Offerings Artistic Director, Joan Christenson, it was something of a flashback. She had spent two weeks subbing in the National Touring Company production last July in Minneapolis.

Joan worked with John Santikos and Tony Overpeck of Santikos Theaters to create this most enjoyable and successful fundraiser. Many thanks to John, Tony, Thad Harkins, Mimi Quintanilla, David Schmidt, Kathy O’Neill, Diane and Joe Dondero, John Moore, Charles Bender, Mary Walsh, Edith Speert, Deborah Moore, Michael Gast and Marilyn Faye for selling tickets, helping with check in and other logistics. Door prizes were generously donated by the San Antonio Symphony, the San Pedro Playhouse, the Lyric Opera of San Antonio, Santikos Theaters, the Witte Museum and Thad Harkins, attorney at law.

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Newsletter name by Eric Brahinsky.