CBA Record July-August 2019

ODE TO JOY! CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Closes Season on a High Note The stage at Chicago’s Symphony Center was occupied by lawyers and judges as the musicians from the Chicago Bar Association’s Symphony Orchestra and Chorus offered their final performance of the season with the spectacular concert “Ode to Joy,” featuring the Choral Finale from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Joined by the members of the DePaul Community Chorus and the Niles Metropolitan Chorus, more than 300 musicians took part in the combined ensemble perfor- mance, which featured music by Schumann, Mozart and Saint-Saens as well as performances by the win- ners of the American Prize in Voice Chicago Oratorio Award. “Lawyers really can make beautiful music together and no one understands that better than the members of the Chicago Bar Association’s Sym- phony Orchestra and Chorus,” said John Vishneski III, the principle clarinetist of the group.

Orchestra, the CBA Chorus, and the Guest Choirs changed the tempo and performed a joyful musical interpretation of poems by May Swenson and Walt Whitman, followed by a trio of African-American Spirituals. For the finale celebration, the last movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Ode to Joy” brought the audience to its feet. As an encore, all performers joined in a stirring rendition of the Hal- lelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Ode to Joy and the Hallelujah Chorus featured the winners of the American Prize Chicago Oratorio Award: Amy Pfrimmer, soprano; Ann Cravero, mezzo-soprano; PatrickMuehleise, tenor; and Leo Radosav- ljevic, bass-baritone. After conductor David Lazaar Katz took his final bow, the performers turned the tables and broke into a heartfelt version of Happy Birthday – an unscheduled musical tribute.

When asked how he was able to find the time to excel at both music and the law, John Vishneski said,“You docket your time for practice in the same way you docket your time for court. The two disciplines are remarkably similar. Both take years of prep work, practice, rehearsal, and dedica- tion – plus, when you end up in front of an audience or a jury – it is improv time!” Michael Poulos, Assistant Conductor, commented, “When I have initial contact with opposing counsel, I often sense an adversarial attitude. Then, I mention the CBA Symphony Orchestra, and everything changes. Almost everyone loves music, so we chat about that rather than the case. It is the first step in establishing a relationship. Suddenly, we are no longer adversaries – just two lawyers working together to solve our clients’ problems. And that, for this lawyer at least, really is the magic in the music.”


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