by Suzanne Park
“Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is…” – Malcolm Arnold, English composer
One of the great benefits of playing in a symphony orchestra is getting to know the “regulars” – our subscribers, the friendly faces you know you’ll see when you walk out onstage every weekend. Two such faces that have been coming to Friday night Grand Classics concerts for decades belong to Daphne Bicket and John Lynn. They’ve been attending PSO concerts together since given a year’s subscription as a wedding present in 1970.
Daphne and John met when they were both working at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “There was this lanky, curly-haired orderly walking down the hallway in his hospital uniform, carrying a violin case. I thought, ‘Who is that?’” says Daphne, laughing. “The first gift he ever gave me was this recording of William Steinberg and the PSO, Beethoven Symphony 7. I used to listen to it over and over again.”
John grew up on a farm in rural Western PA, made a career in business software, plays the violin, and has since returned to his farming roots. He remembers going to his first PSO concert. “My brother took me; I must have been 14. It was at the Syria Mosque and Van Cliburn played the MacDowell Piano Concerto #2.” Coming to PSO concerts for so many years has fueled his love of music, and you hear it when he describes one of his favourite concerts. William Steinberg was known to be rather straightforward in his conducting style, but there was a performance of Beethoven 9 where John remembers the maestro as being unreservedly emotional. “You could see him drawing the utmost out of the musicians. When the baritone sang the opening of the last movement, I had chills, it was so powerful.”
One of the most memorable concerts for Daphne, a family medicine doctor for Community Life/UPMC, was at the 40th anniversary celebration of the opening of Heinz Hall. Teresa Heinz Kerry opened the concert by speaking of the generations-deep dedication of her late husband’s father Jack Heinz’s family and their “band of dreamers,” to improve the quality of community life in Pittsburgh. “She quoted an old Greek proverb that described her father-in-law’s beliefs: A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
We love seeing your smiling faces on Friday nights, John and Daphne! Thank you for your loyal patronage over the years, and for your friendship, born out of a shared love of great music and the desire to see it flourish for future generations.