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Backstage Jazz Bistro

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The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) hosted a Dress Rehearsal of the French Flair concert at the Sacramento Community Center Theatre. The rehearsal, called Backstage Jazz Bistro, was held on Friday night and the French Flair concert played on Saturday January 22.

Guests were greeted as they entered the Community Center. A few of us were greeted by Judee Daniels, CFRE, Director of Development for the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra. We were told we could sit anywhere and watch the rehearsal. Somebody mentioned that a good area to sit was around row O. Judee gave more instructions to turn our cell phones off. “Enjoy the performance; you’ll be hearing more about what’s happening back stage. As the performance ends we’ll be making further announcements. Please go right in and enjoy” Judee said and then guests entered the seating area.

Theater seating was open and guests sat all around the theatre. Orchestra members who were rehearsing were dressed in their civvies. Although this was a rehearsal the music was great as always. Maestro Michael Morgan always seems to have a give it his all when conducting and tonight was no different. His enthusiasm flowed through the orchestra and on to the audience.

Two people worked on a piano on stage tuning it for quite a while. On each side and behind the piano other orchestra members tuned their instruments and chatted. The orchestra rehearsed four pieces that were going to be performed the following evening. Jeffrey Kahane, on piano, accompanied the orchestra for a couple of these performances. The rehearsal performances were; Philipe Hersant’s Five Poems of Trakl (making its American Premiere), Claude Debussy’s Iberia, and two Maurice Ravel compositions Piano Concerto in G Major and what’s probably his most famous piece; Bolero.

Orchestra members began to pack their instruments. As I watched them pack it looked like many instruments could be put in different kinds of enclosures that could be carried like backpacks making the transportation of these instruments look easy.

As everything on stage was being put away Marc Feldman, Executive Director and CEO of the SPO came on stage to announce what was to follow the rehearsal. “All welcome to follow me back. I heard some corks popping so I suppose it’s ready.” Marc announced as guests would be partaking in a backstage get together. He continued, “I’m the pied piper you can follow me back, we’ll meet backstage.”

Backstage tables were set up where guests could dine and mingle. I sat with a charming couple from Davis. Behind the stage a soiree included an exclusive performance by Jeff Kahane, dinner prepared by Le Cordon Bleu instructor Stephanie Lamour, and wines selected by Darrell Corti were awaiting.

As guests began to sit for dinner a band played some gay Paris music for our enjoyment. Marc took to the microphone once again “Good evening, or should I say bonsoir? The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra wanted to invite you backstage to see what it’s like back stage every night.” As the audience laughed he continued “This is a special evening that kicks off a ‘French week’ we’ve been 100 percent French from a program we’ve been doing with the Crocker Museum with impressionist paintings and impressionist music. We have a special honor tonight in that Jeff Kahane, you see we have a piano ready for him right now, is going to, I guess play something French.”

Jeffrey Kahane took to the mike and spoke a few words, “I just want to say that it’s an honor to be here and play some of my favorite music.” The audience backstage started to enjoy some wine and the music being played by Kahane.

Little Charlie Caravan played Parisian music in the background as well as guests lined up for get food provided by French Lady Catering. Marc indicated that one of their SPO members would be joining Little Charlie Caravan to show how versatile the SPO players can be. Ingrid Peters, on violin, joined the band for a couple of jazz bistro tunes.

The Backstage Jazz Bistro event offered many opportunities for Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra aficionados to enjoy an enchanted evening with music they love. It also showed allowed the guests to sit anywhere they wanted to in this beautiful theatre and enjoy a rehearsal where they could talk as the orchestra performed. I enjoyed the way orchestra players chatted amongst themselves and enjoyed watching them play in this informal manner. None of this took away from their rehearsal performance.

Marc Feldman and Judee Daniels were great hosts and went out of their way to ensure everyone had a good time. The food was delicious and the company was great. This was a great event that allowed guests to socialize, enjoy fine food, wine, great company and meet others that are affiliated with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and meet world renowned musicians.

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