Weekend Listen: A New Highlight Episode

Reflections on this week’s podcast from Announcer Joanne Robinson:

Over my nearly twenty years as From the Top’s announcer, I’ve had the good fortune to continually have the best seat in the house. From my perch onstage, just to left of the performance area next to our towering “On the Air” sign, I’ve gotten to experience every incredible moment of our live recordings – from performances that have made my jaw drop to stories that have touched my heart or made me laugh out loud.

This weekend’s From the Top episode is rich with some wonderful performances and moving stories that hold strong memories for me.

One that has stuck with me is Mayuki Miyashita’s exuberant performance of “The Tom and Jerry Show” by Hiromi Uehara. If you’re unfamiliar with this piece, it’s based on the famous cartoon cat and mouse chase. It’s incredibly fun and fast-paced, and watching 14-year-old Mayuki’s hands fly across the keyboard was thrilling.

Luckily we have an old video of her performance from back in 2014 when she performed it on stage and in schools so you can see her in action!

This episode also features bassoonist Sandra Bailey, who is not only an immensely talented young artist, but also an amazingly resilient person. Her story centers around her determination to keep pursuing music despite ongoing hardships that could have easily pushed her to give up. In a conversation I had with her prior to the recording, she told me she was inspired to audition for From the Top after hearing a previous episode that featured a teenage musician who shared similar struggles. I have no doubt that Sandra’s story will also be an inspiration.

There are other fantastic moments on this highlights episode of course, but make sure you stick around to the end to hear two performances by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. This youth orchestra is as good as it gets, and they perform some of the greatest American music ever composed – “Prologue” and “Mambo” from Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A symphonic Picture, arranged by Robert Russell Bennett. It’s an exhilarating finale!

Check out the full list of performers here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to From the Top’s podcast so you never miss an episode!

I hope you’ll tune in. And if you have comments or favorite moments to share I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at jrobinson@fromthetop.org. Happy listening!


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