Last weekend I discovered that people in the handsome Maryland town of Frederick really like their holidays.
BSO was there Saturday night for a second performance of Handel's Messiah, after a very successful and exciting performance in the Meyerhoff on Friday. We played in the beautiful Weinberg Center for the Arts, which is an old movie theater turned into a performance space. As a matter of face, Ed Polochick, our esteemed Messiah conductor for decades, tells me that he inaugurated the new space a few decades ago!
I had some 30 minutes or so of free time after our bus arrived at the stage door and before getting into concert attire and warming up, so I decided to go for a walk. I have experienced the main street before as a happening place, with many diverse restaurants (let's not forget that Bryan Voltaggio's famous Volt is in Frederick!) that seem to be always at capacity, but this was different yet. Not only were the restaurants crowded, but there were many more people in festively decorated streets and shops, taking in some great holiday atmosphere! Trees were strung with lights to their tops, there was caroling on one corner, handbells on another, free food and drink in many places, horse-drawn carriages taking people up and down the street, tours with people in period costumes, you name it, and it was available! They really know how to have fun up in Frederick. I vowed to come back with my wife and our boys one day, without having to be there on business, and enjoy some of that myself.
The concert was wonderfully attended and received, despite a bit of unwanted accompaniment from an enthusiastic air-conditioning system and a crowded (small) stage. Madeline Adkins played her solos beautifully, then went on to get ready for her wedding day (Tuesday). Let's all wish her a great married life!