Conductor, musician, and vocalist Lisa McDaniel Foltz will never forget the first time she conducted the Big Bend Community Orchestra.
After leading Sibelius’ “Finlandia,” one member brought a smile to her face as she shared just how exciting the performance had been for her.
Another moment came after one of BBCO’s unique offerings where during a concert piece attendees aged twelve and younger could come up and sit with the musicians.
Foltz fondly recalls a conversation with a grandmother who told her how her grandson was inspired to take piano lessons after sitting by the piano soloist on stage. Now as the BBCO’s Associate Conductor, Foltz works hard to continue introducing exciting programs during the annual season alongside Conductor Dr. Shelby Chipman. Aligning herself with the orchestra’s mission to serve the Tallahassee community, she strongly believes in music’s power to reach out to any willing ear.
“You can often say things through music that are often difficult or impossible to put into words,” states Foltz. “I also think you can touch people’s hearts in ways that you can’t always do in words alone. It also brings people together who wouldn’t necessarily come together for any other reason either in performing the music or listening to the music.”
The Big Bend Community Orchestra presents its “Music in Motion” concert at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at Lee Hall at Florida A& M University. Kicking off BBCO’s 2016-2017 season, Foltz found the theme for its upcoming performance after programming many of the selections. Sanders’ “Saturday Night: A Barn Dance” and Gould’s “Latin American Symphonette” relate to motion in the dance sense, whereas the Weber and Beethoven works were seminal in moving forward a whole genre of sound.
Foltz had always been surrounded by music in her childhood home. She took part in church plays and choirs from toddlerhood, and her mother, an organist for their church, kept a piano in the house.
Foltz taught herself basic piano techniques by sight reading, or playing new material without prior practice. Around age 14, she played duets with her mother in church, and was employed as a parttime pianist and organist, from that point forwards. Her experiences singing in church choirs came to the forefront as she chose to double major in political science and music with concentrations in organ and voice at Jacksonville University. She felt especially fortunate to learn under the tutelage of Dr. Jon O. Carlson, whose influential rehearsal skills and singing techniques pushed her to become a more accomplished vocalist and performer.
“Performing is the cherry on top of what you’ve been putting all the hard work in for,” says Foltz. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to share with others the thing that you love and something they may not be familiar with or have ever heard before. It can be opening up a whole new world for people and that’s a joy and privilege to get to do that.”
Though it wasn’t her primary source of income, Foltz maintained positions as a part-time organist and traveled nationally and internationally as a vocalist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus for 14 seasons.
Read the rest of the story
Or visit the Tallahassee Democrat to read more here