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  • Writer's pictureRachel Blumenthal

What I've Done on My Summer Vacation (So Far!)

Hello from Stockbridge, MA where I am trying something called "vacation." We'll see if I'm any good at it. The last six weeks were filled with a flurry of activity, which is an unfamiliar for most of us these days! I formed three chamber groups with musician friends and organized a few outdoor, socially distant concerts. It was great to play with other people again, and it was so meaningful to play for an audience. Here are a few videos and snapshots from those performances. As you'll see, "all the world's a stage" has never been so true as it is these days! From back porches to gazebos to driveways, anything can be a concert hall.

7/12 Back porch concert in Hyde Park with Renee Vogen, horn and Corey Sansolo, trombone. This concert was hosted and sponsored by Ariana Strahl, and it was so lovely to play with such dear friends. Renee and Corey are getting married in just a few weeks!

8/1 Another performance with Renee and Corey, this time generously hosted by my lovely student Debra Rade at the home of Jim Budish in Highland Park. Here are a few video clips from a duet I played with Renee called Country Suite by M. Boucard.

8/3 In late June, I formed a woodwind quintet with Anne Bach (oboe, Lyric Opera and Grant Park Orchestra), Sue Warner (clarinet, Lyric Opera), Keith Buncke (bassoon, Chicago Symphony), and Renee Vogen (horn, freelancer extraordinaire). We called ourselves "Quarantet." This group has been the highlight of my summer, and we gave a (very rainy!) performance in Cottontail Park, which was hosted and sponsored by Amy Boonstra. In spite of the rain, we had a great time performing under the gazebo! Here is a clip of the second movement of Malcolm Arnold's Three Shanties for wind quintet. (This group will have more performances in my absence, with Lyric Opera flutist Alyce Johnson filling in for me. Let me know if you want the scoop on upcoming outdoor performances!)

8/5 I enjoyed performing with members of the Chicago Symphony and the Lyric Opera Orchestra at the Glessner House in the South Loop. Glessner House has a beautiful courtyard (with great accoustics), and it's open to the public! I highly recommend checking it out if you're in the neighborhood. Here I am playing a Telemann duo with violinist Liba Schacht.

That's all...for now. Looking forward to resuming lessons next week!

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