Clarksville’s own Gateway Chamber Orchestra is celebrating its annual patrons gathering on Feb. 16, an event that began on Dec. 13, 2013, as “Maestro’s Moonlight and Mistletoe,” and held at F&M Bank’s Franklin Room.
Because the pre-Christmas event had to be rescheduled last year, it was moved to January as “Maestro’s Magical Moonlight.” This year’s MMM, set for Jan. 19, was upended by a week of bitter cold, snow, and ice, requiring flexibility on rescheduling once again.
The evening, which originally featured only light musical entertainment and hors d’oeuvres, grew to include honoring individuals whose support and dedication to the growth and sustainability of the organization with the annual Dee Boaz Crescendo Award, named in honor of the original champion of the GCO. Previous winners of this award are Dave Farris, Roberta Richardson, Solie Fott and the late Tom Perry.
This year, “Maestro’s Magical Moonlight” is making another leap with an art auction featuring paintings created by award-winning local artist Kitty Harvill during the GCO’s December performance of “The Nutcracker.”
The GCO was formed in 2008 by Austin Peay State University professor of conducting, Gregory Wolynec, with a committed ensemble of world-class artists from Middle Tennessee and beyond. In a few short years, they have been featured on a Grammy award-winning recording, created a major festival dedicated to the music of Haydn, and expanded their performance season to serve multiple communities in Tennessee. The orchestra also has been recognized by prestigious granting organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Wolynec oversaw the development of several ambitious projects. “Magical Music & Timeless Tales” paired GCO musicians with area teachers to create valuable streaming content for young minds. Following the success of the orchestra’s first streaming concert (Beethoven @250: Humanity in 2020) in December of 2020, he organized a virtual presentation for the second installment of American’s Haydn Festival in May 2021. The four-concert event featured masterworks and family concerts by the GCO, along with programs by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and pianist Henry Kramer. Bill McGlaughlin, an American composer, conductor and music educator, and an award-winning classical music radio host, served as host for the four programs.
The ensemble emerged from the pandemic with groundbreaking performances, and soon-to-be-released recordings of Osvaldo Golijov’s multicultural masterpiece “La Pasion segun San Marcos.”
“Maestro’s Magical Moonlight” is sponsored by the GCO board of directors and presented by the 2008 Society, a support organization formed two years ago to acknowledge and celebrate the creation of the GCO, to preserve the gift of music for future generations and to promote the arts throughout the community and through education outreach programs.