On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show 247 Brunswick

Cellist Ben Manis

Last week we taped a show at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. The show was taped in a converted recital hall that used to house the college’s swimming pool. The architects made sure to keep playful vestiges of the past, such as a sign at the stage entrance that reads, “Please make sure to shower before entering the pool!”

Kicking off our show was 15-year-old Gloria Ferry-Brennan, who played the first movement from Poulenc’s Sonata for Violin and Piano. We were then treated to an audio postcard about her life on Whidbey Island on the Puget Sound. We’ll be putting a slideshow of this online when the show airs, so look out for that.

Following Gloria was 17-year-old clarinetist Moon Sun Yoo who is from Korea and attends the Walnut Hill School in Massachusetts. She performed Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations, and we tried to make her feel a little less homesick by giving her a kit that included some of her favorite things as well as a surprise audio message from her mom back in Korea.

Next up was the Elan Duo comprised of 16-year-old harpists Anna DeLoi and violinist Nash Ryder. These two did some amazing volunteer work teaching music to inner-city elementary students last year as members of From the Top’s intensive arts leadership program through our Center for the Development of Arts Leaders. On our show, they spoke about their shared passion for arts leadership and played Suite Bergamasque by Claude Debussy.

Pianist Allen Yu was up next. A stunningly talented pianist, he performed on our show several years ago when he was 15 and now attends Bowdoin College. This time around he performed The Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky and then provided an incredibly fun moment when he challenged Christopher O’Riley to a pepper flipping contest! The goal was to flip the pepper shaker so it landed upright, and whoever failed had to agree to play a right-hand-numbing piano exercise by Czerny 100 times in a row. Check out the flipcam footage I took my perch on the stage!

Closing the show was 17-year-old cellist Ben Manis. What a wonderfully expressive performer he is! His joy was contagious as he played a movement from Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op.19.

Make sure to tune in when this show airs the week of March 19!