Before the Downbeat The Symphony NH Blog
“Not for ourselves alone are we born.” –Cicero
As I make my way around greater Nashua (and, increasingly, around the state), I am frequently asked by enthusiastic would-be supporters: “How can I help?” As you might imagine, this question has as many answers as there are people asking it. Just as music affects everyone a little differently, one size does not fit all when it comes to the ways individuals are able to help Symphony NH.
In addition to the obvious need for financial assistance in the form of donations to the Annual Fund, sponsorships of concerts or special events, underwriting of any of our wonderful educational programs, and advertising in our program, there are the many ways you might contribute as a high-impact volunteer. To that end, I’d ask you:
What skills do you have that you would gladly share to help us fulfill our mission?
- You might be really good at organizing your friends around social events,
- and could therefore mastermind a group sale to one of our concerts;
- Maybe you’re a great cook and you’re willing to provide refreshments
- at a rehearsal or reception;
- Perhaps you have experience in Public Relations and can
- help us build greater awareness of our programs;
- Maybe you’re a music teacher who could help us recruit new singers
- for the Symphony Chorus…
So don’t let’s limit ourselves. If you are wondering how you might help us continue the astounding growth we’ve been enjoying so that we can share more music with more people in the years ahead, I hope you’ll be in touch.
As most of you know, we’ve been working on quite the project here at Symphony NH. N is for Nashua is a children’s alphabet book, and it’s consumed quite a bit of time and energy over the past 6 months or so. I’ve had an incomparable team from the community working with me, and we’ve had an overwhelming response from students, writers, sponsors, and artists, all culminating in a truly astonishing project. To say I’m grateful would be an understatement.
While all of this is has been amazing, the real underpinning of this project is the emergence, at least in my eyes, of the main character: Nashua. From the places and the people to the history and the legacies, Nashua is a great place to live and work. I’m not a native, so perhaps I’m preaching to the choir. I’ve only been around Nashua for six years, so I have some catching up to do in terms of just how cool this city is.
How about some anecdotal evidence?
During the project, we’ve been searching for artwork from members of the community. As I said, the response has been tremendous, but we couldn’t seem to find any pieces adequately representing Railroad Square. At long last, we found a great electronic image of a postcard from what looks to be the early 20th century; however, the quality was terrible. The postcard was perfect, though the quality of the image rendered it unusable. So, the committee set about about implementing plan B: find a new piece of art.
After many phone calls and dead ends at the library and Nashua Historical Society, I did a quick internet search for Railroad Square. Sifting through plenty of results, I found an old Telegraph article about a man named Frank Mooney, a historian of sorts and lifelong Nashua resident. According to the article, he has countless items and Nashua memorabilia at his fingertips, so all I had to do was find him. That turned out to be the easiest part of the task. You see, everyone knows Frank.
I called Frank, and he couldn’t have been more generous. Before I knew it, I was on my way to his house to check out what he had. Frank welcomed me into his home, and had me take a seat while he looked for what he had relating to Railroad Square. His memorabilia room was nothing short of amazing; boxes upon boxes and albums upon albums lined the room.
Frank told me that while he had lots of items and postcards relating to Railroad Square, there was really only one that stood out in his mind. As he searched, I was eager to see what Frank, the consummate Nashuan, would recommend. He finally found what he was looking for and brought it across the room. ”If you’re going to use something about Railroad Square, this should really be it,” he said. To my astonishment, Frank handed me the original postcard of Railroad Square we selected at the very beginning. What luck! It’s a beautiful painted picture of Railroad Square, and Frank was right, this HAD to be what we use.
All of this is to say that this journey with the children’s book has been a real eye-opener. I’ve always known that Nashua is a great place to be, but now I’ve been offered a glimpse into the fabric that makes it so great. The people, the places, the businesses, the food, the history… all of it comes together to make this elaborate, wonderful place.
Here’s to you, Nashua.
The Symphony usually goes into a lull during the summer and comes back with a bang in the fall with the opening night concert. However, this year we have several projects keeping everyone busy. With editing for N is for Nashua, planning for the Benefit Yard Sale, and marketing for the Summer Pops, the Symphony NH office is working at top gear.
N is for Nashua is a children’s alphabet book highlighting the best of Nashua. Written, illustrated, and sponsored by community members, the book (speaking through Nick) has taken on its own tagline: Our Book, Our Community, Our Nashua. We are happy to report that the copy is nearly finished being edited, and artwork is coming in for letters. However, there are still several openings for sponsorship and illustration submissions (the deadline for artwork is Aug. 1 and the launch party for N is for Nashua will be at the Nov. 23 concert). Contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 595-9156 if you would like more information or want to get involved with this historic, uniquely Nashua, project.
The Symphony is also working on more Nashua born-and-raised projects, one of which is the Symphony Benefit Yard Sale (located at 91 Concord Street Aug. 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Brought to you by the summer interns, this year’s yard sale has the potential to be the best yet. Refreshments, live entertainment, activities for children (and child-at-heart adults) and a variety of unique donated items, including gently-used furniture, children’s toys, and even new household items will all be on display. Whether you bring your wallet or just your family, the Symphony invites you to enjoy this summer event.
We’ll end this Summer at the Symphony with the Summer Pops concert, a FREE event for families that includes popular film, Broadway, and orchestral pieces. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Holman Stadium on Aug. 18. Concessions are available at the regular stadium prices and seating is first-come, first-served. If you’re new to Symphony NH, this is a great opportunity to experience the incredible local talent within the organization. Join Symphony NH and Chorus for an evening of music, food and friends.
We may be busy, but we’re working hard for the committed and involved fans – people like you! We look forward to seeing you at these wonderful end-of-summer events!
A few weeks ago, five homes in Nashua and one in Hollis opened their garden gates to the people. Hosted by the Friends of Symphony NH, the Nashua Garden Tour was an incredible success that left onlookers speechless. Each home was a marvel all its own while having a highlight area that attracted visitors as much as the honey bees.
First, there are the climbing pink roses decorating the Scontsas garden. A refined Cape Cod home, the Scontsas’ land seems right out of a Greek romance with petals covering fences, rooftops and a lovely patio. This luscious start to the tour easily kept the attendees interested in the event.
At the next home, visitors were given a list of items to find within the Ewald and Shor garden. All ages were intrigued by the fascinating pieces such as a man hole cover, a big blue bird and a hidden bear. The perennial paradise mixes fun with beauty in a well-thought out manner.
Then, there is the Woodward dogwood that seems impossibly well-kept. Blooming at its best, the dogwood shades a lounge chair that seems the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. Tom Woodward’s philosophical outlook of cultivating a garden adds to the serene atmosphere in the hidden oasis.
A Hollis home owned by the Berberian and Oates-Keeper family boasts seven connected gardens including a walk through the woods and a Japanese stone garden. However the greatest standout at this location is the waterfall garden to the right of the driveway. Running water over natural stone with a wooden bridge makes this home a fantasy come true.
The multiple garden style is imitated at the Jaguar home, with a backyard that seems the envy of the neighborhood. A family-sized pool is the centerpiece for several flowered cutouts. The highlight of this particular garden is the wisteria-laced deck, which must be the location for a family and friends get-together.
The tour ends at the Huntington in Nashua that hosts a group of green-thumbed seniors. The diversity in this garden is gained through allowing anyone interested to have their own plot of soil to work with. Proud residents beam as visitors examine each miniature garden and come away impressed.
The success of this year’s Nashua Garden Tour could not have been had without the help of homeowners, Friends and budding gardeners. Thank you to everyone who made this year the best yet.
The Hunt Memorial Building is overflowing with people from every corner of Nashua. Refined retirees mingle with the power players in the modern city. Orchestra, chorus, board and staff members converse with the Friends of Symphony NH and individual attendees. The setting is one that can even mix a new recruit intern with a veteran board member that has been a part of this cultural society for years. The first annual State of the Symphony is no doubt a gathering for everyone and anyone so long as they share in one common trait: a love of music.
This is Melissa Jean reporting to you as the third intern voice you will be hearing throughout the summer. The State of the Symphony was my first chance to see the behind the scenes work that goes into this incredible cultural organization. I spent the evening as a fly on the wall, observing and listening to everyone.
After some light conversation accompanied by plates of sophisticated finger-food, the crowd moves into the meeting area where the eight tables are far from enough. Over 70 community-minded citizens sit silently engaged in the speakers of the evening. First, renowned conductor Jonathan McPhee happily informs everyone that the symphony audience is no longer about “the way things used to be,” but has become interested in “where are things going?” Eric stands up not long after and gives the crowd a heartwarming message, stating, “we are a fantastic, first-class arts organization; financially, we are doing very well; and our members are the most important component.” And of course, all will be well according to Nick because we are (as he has come to enjoy saying) “stronger together.”
As much as we may giggle at Nick’s love of the phrase, he is right. In fact, his “stronger together” idea is proven at the State of the Symphony as the melting pot of people sit at round tables discussing how everyone can play a part in the symphony’s future. The evening closes as all gatherings of music-lovers do: with a song. Chamber chorus Colla Voce leaves things on a high note with their renditions of “All the Things You Are” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
If this first State of the Symphony is an indication of how future ones will go, then we are all anxiously waiting for an encore.
Next up is Katie Casper, an intern from Milford, NH. She’s a rising sophomore at Hendrix College in Conway, AR(!). Here’s what she has to say about her first experiences as an intern this summer:
After emerging from the Hendrix College library in a whirlwind of finals and term papers, I began to blink in the light of the “real world” and found myself behind a desk at Symphony New Hampshire. I must first admit that before this internship I was unfamiliar with Symphony NH, and although I am a musician, I have only had the chance to experience a live symphony performance once. As a result, I found myself curious as to my place with the Symphony. Where would I fit in with this organization? What can I bring to the table? These were the questions I had floating in the back of my mind as I entered the building on my first day. I was soon greeted by Nick and fellow intern Allie and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was not in charge of coffee orders, but instead assisting in multiple components of this organization.
By the end of day one, I found myself in front of the telephone, charged with task of reminding subscribers to book tickets for the season. I will admit that I was nervous in calling the long list of patrons in front of me. I am new to this organization and was worried about how people would react to having a stranger on the other end of the line. In short, I was expecting at least a few “hang-ups” and “please do not call this number again’s”. Yet, what I received was the opposite. Within the initial rings of my first call, I was greeted by a woman whose voice lit up as soon as I said the words “Symphony New Hampshire”. Nearly everyone I called that first afternoon asked me how my day was going and listened intently as I passed along news from the SNH. Then to my surprise, this happened again as I posted flyers for the Nashua Garden Tour. As soon as Allie and I introduced ourselves as interns with Symphony New Hampshire, the shop owners along main street invited us inside; not a single person declined to take our poster. So now that I am ending my third week with the Symphony, I must say that I am most impressed by Symphony NH’s ability to welcome and reach people. As I have gotten to know this wonderful organization and it’s lovely patrons, I have been greeted by all, and I am continually impressed by the warm reception that the symphony gains in the community. I have always known music to be a great uniter, but it is especially sweet to see it playing out in our own backyard.