Kick-off Midwest Tour Concert at Denison – Peter Greerg

Yesterday afternoon, I made the 3-hour trek by car to Denison
University located in Granville Ohio about 40 miles northeast of
Columbus Ohio.  The PSO played in the Swasey Chapel, (listed on the
National Register of Historic Places) that can accommodate about a 1000
people maximum.  It was packed!

Founded in 1831 Denison University, home to some 2,700 coed
undergraduates, has a beautiful 1000 acre campus comprising a variety
of styles of architecture; many of its buildings, unified by red brick
construction, overlook the village of Granville.  It also boasts a
350-acre Biological Reserve serving as a national laboratory for
I got there just in the nick of time as the concert started at
7:30 pm, but I had incorrectly assumed 8:00 pm.  My traveling companion
and I were escorted to a pew in the center section of the Chapel about
six rows from the very cramped makeshift stage where the orchestra was
seated.  I was introduced to a pleasant couple, Dale and Tina Knobel
who were seated beside me.   We only had time to chat for a minute or
two before the concert began.  So I asked Dale if he was associated
with the University, and he said yes – that he was President.  I guess
you could say "associated with the University" was my understatement of
the day!
Dan Meyer opened the concert with a short punchy piece by Dvorak.
Sarah Chang followed with a passionate performance of the Sibelius
Violin Concerto, and following intermission, the concert concluded with
a performance of the Prokofiev Fifth symphony which almost shook the
Chapel off its foundations.  Where I was sitting towards the front of
the hall,  the Chapel’s acoustics sounded deceptively dry.  I found out
from the  President that several years ago, sound absorbent clouds were
added above the apse to eliminate some flutter problems.  The somewhat
dry acoustics exposed the orchestra so that it was easier to hear
sloppy entrances and attacks than it would be for someone sitting in a
similar forward location in Heinz Hall.   Needless to say there was no
sloppiness to be heard.
made a few brief remarks before starting the second half of the
concert.   He observed that he had many fond memories of his
undergraduate years at Denison including some in this Chapel.  He
conducted for the first time here, Mozart’s Overture to the "Abduction
of the Seraglio." with the Licking County Orchestra.  Dan also recalled
that from the Swasey Chapel balcony, he first heard Sarah Chang play as
soloist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.   At that time, Dan noted
that Sarah was about half the height that she is now. 
I was glad to have made the trip – to see first hand how
effectively the PSO represents our great city and to feel the good will
generated from its artistry.

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