An Arts Leader Lifts The Baton One Last Time (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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An Arts Leader Lifts the Baton One Last Time

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
And now on to a different sort of transition, one that's taking place in the D.C. arts community. After 47 years, nearly half a century, Norman Scribner is stepping down as the artistic director of the Choral Arts Society of Washington. The symphonic chorus he founded in 1965. But before he takes his final bow, Scribner and his friends are planning a grand finale next week in the form of a concert.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:28
The concert at the National Cathedral will capture key moments from Scribner's storied career and will feature fellow conductors who have worked with him for decades. Jessica Gould attended a rehearsal to talk with the maestro and his singers about what the Choral Arts Society has meant to them.

MR. NORMAN SCRIBNER

00:00:49
The birth of the Choral Arts Society was as the result of church choir performances that I was involved in from 1962 on. Of course, 1968 was a war-shed year and we decided we wanted to put music in service of the memory of Martin Luther King and his ideals and his message for us all and that's continued to this day and is one of our proudest things.

MR. NORMAN SCRIBNER

00:01:11
Being the son of a Methodist minister, I was steeped in the Bible readings and of course, most of choral music is on religious text, most of the really greatest music. And I remember standing behind the organist marveling at his feet flying and his hands flying and the choir singing. I got pulled in very, very quickly to a solid commitment that I wanted my whole life to be music.

MS. ANNE KEISER

00:01:37
Norman is just, Norman is Norman. Norman is a truly magnificent individual who had an extraordinary vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1

00:01:45
Norman is all about the music, but through love. He loves the music, he loves us singers. I think one thing that really stands out is our trip to Moscow Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra. It was just after the Soviet Union collapsed and we did a concert on Tchaikovsky's birthday. 100,000 people standing in Red Square for this concert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1

00:02:20
We've had children of chorus members that have joined the chorus. I met both of my husband's in the chorus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2

00:02:27
There are people in the choir who have said to me, multiple people, they consider this their church. This is their once a week sanctuary where they come and they're around friends but they're also doing something really meaningful.

KEISER

00:02:40
Our next artistic director is a man named Scott Tucker. I'll miss everything about Norman and I'll welcome everything about Scott.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #3

00:02:48
So I felt like I got hopefully a lot of my tears out and this can just be more of a celebration.

SCRIBNER

00:02:55
It's been a glorious ride. What's next for me is to spend more time with my beautiful wife, Shirley and our four children and our eight wonderful grandchildren and also get back to my compositional activities. We're all a community of music lovers here in service to the same goal and have been for decades and hopefully it will go on for decades.

SHEIR

00:03:37
That was Norman Scribner along with Choral Arts Society members Larry Kolp, Anne Keiser and Elizabeth Romig, as well as fellow conductor Bob Shafer, all talking with WAMU's Jessica Gould. To hear more from the Choral Arts Society of Washington or to get details about Scribner's farewell concert on June 13th, head to our website, metroconncection.org.

SHEIR

00:04:06
Up next, the wild and wicked tales of days gone by on Capitol Hill.

MR. ROBERT POHL

00:04:11
A lot of these scandals there were certainly a problem for a lot of people involved back when they happened. But now we look back and we can sort of, we can laugh about it.

SHEIR

00:04:22
Plus, big changes in the world of D.C.'s Public Housing.

MS. DEBRA FRAZIER

00:04:26
Before there were just severely distressed public housing. They are healthier, they are very creative and many ways I peg the urban of the past, just over a decade, to the fact that a lot of these communities now exist.

SHEIR

00:04:41
That and other Wild Cards coming your way on "Metro Connection," on WAMU 88.5.
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