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My roommate and I used to joke, that our neighbors are dead. Our “rustic” apartment while we studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music exactly 30 years ago (!) overlooked Lake View Cemetery.
The magnificent trees and funny squirrels were our calming companions during these first years in the United States after leaving Germany. I grew to love the cemetery as a place to exhale from the bustle of American campus life and to memorize Bach Fugues in quiet.
Later, when my lucky stars gave me a seat in the Cleveland Orchestra, I learned how much historic importance Lake View has: embedded in the beautiful stones is a rich and fascinating history of our orchestra and our city. Seeing the resting places of our founders Adella Prentiss Hughes, John Severance and Dudley Blossom Sr. along with their wonderfully generous and music-loving families and friends led me to a deeper interest and respect for their accomplishments and their extraordinary musical passion. They have proven beyond any doubt, that a few people truly can make a huge difference for generations to come.
I developed a dream of a “Musical Safari”, where guests would stop at various Cleveland Orchestra-related grave-sites to hear live music and some stories about these connections by musicians of our orchestra. On a sunny July day during this Pandemic year, I met sparkly Kathy Goss who clapped her hands after I had described this and only said: “When can we do it?“ 8 weeks later it happened: the first and hopefully not last Lake View Serenade took place on the last sunny and warm September day to wonderful and safely spaced audiences.
A big “Thank You” to Kathy Goss for her enthusiasm and to Leah Whidden and Greta Rothman for their exceptional work in putting this together and for being so much fun! And I’ve told my former roommate: “Come visit! Our neighbors have come to life, and we’re celebrating!”
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