This Year’s Lancaster Festival
I’m not a summer person but for me the warm weather means the Lancaster Festival. I’m used to revolutionary-war-era architecture being a New Englander, but for the Civil War you need to go down to the birthplace of William Tecumseh Sherman (you can visit his home). Shaw’s Inn does a killer prime rib and the hot fudge is too die for.
The Festival takes over the pretty town for ten days every July. Townspeople host visiting artists, serve food and ice cream and partake of the many concerts, socials, plays and exhibitions. The Festival is anchored by two outdoor spectaculars at The Ohio University-Lancaster site: This year Michael Bolton sang Nessum dorma‘ (no comment) and Crystal Bowersox.
Yesterday I had the privilege of hosting a concert by five fantastic young brass players. They were joined by pianist Judith Lynn Stillman. She’s peerless as an artist and what’s female world for mensch (?)? Never mind. Judith has been an artist in residence in Lancaster for years. She’s a small woman who plays the piano as if it were the Vienna Philharmonic.
The five gentleman played separately, with Judith, and together as a quintet put together for the occasion. Most brass quintets of young guys are invigorating and endearing. These guys were too, but oh, my an they play! There was an arrangement for trombone and piano of Blue Bells of Scotland that rocked the house. The young horn player got legato out of an unwieldy instrument. Together, they danced us thorugh West Side Story and three other hits.
The crowd inside The Lodge sat at tables and munched pastries and little sandwiches. The bar did great business. (The bar always does great business) Our young artists were patted and hugged as they exited. One hopes a few slipped them each a few bucks. Like First Communion back in the day.
It was, as always, good to be in Lancaster.