Once again, Vincent Lionti, father of Nicholas ’19 and violist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, returned in February to brighten spirits and provide a hint of warmer weather as he presented a concert with an ensemble of fellow orchestra members and Michael Cedric Smith, a classical guitarist and father of Brogan ’17, during a Lower School assembly. From a lively tarantella to slower, more soothing melodies, and featuring the works of Bach and Vivaldi to Rimsky-Korsakov and Villa-Lobos, the musical selections kept the Lower School boys focused and, at times, quietly conducting from their seats.
Mr. Lionti chatted with the audience, remarking on high points and a bit of history surrounding each of the musical selections. A highlight of this annual performance is the chance to hear a Met Opera Orchestra member talk a bit about himself, his instrument and why he chose to play a particular one. The flautist, who gave a spellbinding solo performance of Rimskey-Korakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” introduced the piece “Vienna Will Always be Vienna.” He and Mr. Lionti noted that this music was often played in coffee houses in that city, the cultural and artistic hub for so many accomplished musicians.
Mr. Smith shared with the audience how the Vivaldi piece he performed was originally written for the lute, ancestor of the guitar.
Lucy Warner, Lower School music teacher, arranged for the performance again this year. She commented, “This is an amazing musical opportunity which always inspires the boys and provides an enriching, festive way to start the day!” Following the concert, Browning boys who play the viola, violin, cello and guitar proudly posed for a photo with the guest performers.