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A Special Welcome from Maestro Newell

Doug Newell

Welcome to Joan Allen Symphony Hall and the 2017-2018 ESO Subscription Series!

Without you in the audience, this hall is an empty sound canvas, waiting to be drawn upon with music by the great composers. As my second home, it is one of two places in which I am most comfortable with life. A piano and study score or a stage full of musicians makes it complete. 

This season I am particularly delighted by the variety of music the ESO will be performing. Collaborating with Donald and Barron Ryan is a special treat. George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is perhaps the greatest blues music ever imagined. Rarely has the sonority of the American spirit been more precisely expressed than in the Rhapsody or in Aaron Copland’s ballet Rodeo. In November, Irving Berlin’s holiday musical White Christmas will open our hearts to the joys of the magical Christmas season spiced with a dose of romance.  

The second half of our season features two of my favorite classical artists, violinist Lee Chin and pianist Mariangela Vacatello. Lee will be performing the Butterfly Lovers Concerto. Composed in 1959 by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, the concerto unites eastern melody and harmony with western orchestral resources. Lee Chin is recognized as one of the finest interpreters of this particular concerto today.  Would that our world leaders could sit together and have a dialogue which honored each other’s culture through such eloquent discourse.

Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto is one of those works for which I hold a particular preference. This score exists in its own unique celestial sphere. For some time, it was the single most important music in my life. Its musical journey explores a spiritual realm which can only be conveyed by an artist of Mariangela Vacatello’s caliber.

In April we will welcome the return of chanteuse Joan Ellison to our stage. Joan will be performing an entire evening of Judy Garland songs with the ESO playing Miss Garland’s original recording charts. What could be more entertaining, historic and nostalgic?   

Over the course of this past few months, the ESO has undertaken several major renovations to our concert hall. These were made possible in large part by a gift from the Allen Family Foundation in honor of Joan.  Symphony Hall has been renamed Joan Allen Symphony Hall in recognition of her tireless efforts to make the Enid Symphony Center a reality.

The Ballroom Theater has been renamed the Park Avenue Thrift Theatre in recognition of ten years of service to the Enid Symphony Orchestra and other non-profits in northwest Oklahoma. Park Avenue Thrift’s untiring service to our community is a wonderful example of charity and love of community. I will never be able to thank Joan Allen and Park Avenue Thrift adequately for the advice, encouragement and support they given me over the years. Their efforts will enhance your lives for years to come!

I am delighted that you have chosen to attend performances by the Enid Symphony Orchestra. You are a welcome and honored guest in our home.


Douglas Newell