BANGOR, Maine — Patients and visitors scurrying in and out of the Broadway entrance to St. Joseph Hospital were stopped in their tracks during the noon hour Thursday by a string quartet.
Most took a long look at and listen to the classical musicians before leaving the lobby on the Broadway side of the hospital to go about their business.
The short performance featured Abigail Szewc, 18, of Hermon, Lily Dudley Holland, 17, of Mattawamkeag and Kate Brenner-Simpson, 15, of Sullivan, all members of the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as Lynn Brubaker, co-concertmaster with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.
The quartet also visited Acadia Hospital on Thursday morning to perform for pediatric and adult patients as part of the BSO and Acadia’s ongoing Music and Wellness Program. From St. Joe’s, the quartet then traveled north to perform at Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono.
The event at St. Joe’s was part of a series of events intended to bring classical music and the BSO into the community. As planned, the program showcased a soloist, despite the absence of Midori, who was scheduled to appear Sunday at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono. The BSO announced Wednesday that Midori was ill and would not make the trip from her home in Los Angeles.
“It is with deep regret that violinist Midori is having to withdraw from her Bangor residency for medical reasons,” BSO Executive Director Brian Hinrichs said Wednesday in an email.
“The Friday master class at Minsky Hall at the University of Maine in Orono and the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestras Concert at Bangor High School on Saturday have been canceled,” he said.
Hinrichs said Thursday at St. Joe’s that Midori and BSO Conductor Lucas Richman are committed to community outreach, particularly performing in hospitals and other health care settings. Musicians have been performing once a month at Acadia for about 18 months, but the visits to St. Joe’s and Orono were new.
“Having these performances in the community go on seemed a way to honor the spirit of Midori’s visit,” Hinrichs said.
Performing in different settings is good experience for young musicians, according to Brubaker, who stepped in at the last minute for Midori.
“Every performance experience prepares you for the next one,” she said Thursday.
No matter the venue, “it’s an exhilarating experience to be able play in a small ensemble with a professional,” Lily said,
Kate agreed, adding, “it’s fun but sometimes distracting when people walk by,” instead of when people sit still in an audience, as they were at Acadia.
Sunday’s program also was modified because of Midori’s absence, according to Hinrichs.
Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D minor will not be performed. Instead, guest violinist Jason Posnock will perform as soloist for Bach’s Concerto For Two Violins. He will be joined by four soloists from the youth orchestra: Julia Malcolm of Trenton, Will Somes of Cherryfield, and Brandon and Colin Aponte of Brooklin. That work originally was scheduled to be performed with Midori on Saturday with the youth orchestra.
The two previously programmed works by Jean Sibelius, “Finlandia” and Symphony No. 1, remain on the program, to be led by music director and conductor Lucas Richman.
Originally from New Jersey, Posnock, 42, began taking violin lessons at the age of 4. His early teachers included members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He graduated from Princeton University in 1994 and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music in London.
Posnock has served as concertmaster for North Carolina’s Asheville Symphony Orchestra since 2007. He resides with his family in Brevard, North Carolina and serves on the faculty of Brevard College. He also is the director of artistic planning and educational programs at the Brevard Music Center.
Midori said Wednesday she hopes to able to come to Maine at a later date.
“I’m so disappointed not to be joining the Bangor symphony and its youth orchestra this week,” Midori said Wednesday in a statement issued by her publicist. “I know they have done so much work already to prepare, and I hope to work with the symphony to reschedule this program.”
Guest violinist Jason Posnock will perform as soloist for Bach’s Concerto For Two Violins. He will be joined by soloists from the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra at 3 p.m. Sunday with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono with Music Director Lucas Richman. The program also features Sibelius’s “Finlandia” and Symphony No. 1. Richman will lead a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. for ticket holders. Tickets may be purchased through the Collins Center box office at (800) 622-TIXX or bangorsymphony.org. Ticket prices range from $19 to $45 for adults, and are $13 for students.