Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

looking back

a memory of appreciation

November 25, 2008

It seemed odd, that night at the Alex. The musicians were on stage, in their various concert blacks…but at 8:12 or so, festivities still had not begun. Well, I’m always just plain happy to be attending a LACO concert, so it wasn’t disturbing for me to wait; the music would start when all was ready. My companion and I continued chatting. Still, after a while, it was strange. LACO rarely starts more than a minute or so late. Glancing at the stage, I began to worry: Allan still wasn’t there!

Now, he doesn’t know me, but to myself, I use the given name “Allan” rather than “Allan Vogel,” because my experience of him, albeit from afar, is that he is a cherished, respected friend-in-music. Many people feel the same way. His face is dear to those of us for who have followed the orchestra for years. We’ve often heard him play – what heaven! — and look forward to his elegant, ardent musicality. We’ve admired his modest manner, witnessed the impressive singularity of his concentration, and seen his eyes crinkle up in pleasure over the successful performances of fellow musicians, the joy on his face reflecting great generosity of spirit.

So when it was announced that the order of the program needed to be reshuffled because Allan had phoned, mired in traffic, the response of the audience was actually cheerful. Things were fine: Allan was okay and he was coming.

The great violinist Salvatore Accardo made his entrance, shared a fond smile with his friend, concertmaster Margaret Batjer, and played brilliantly. After intermission, the orchestra reassembled on stage. The audience sat, reading programs, talking quietly. A few minutes later, only a tiny bit ruffled, Allan tried to take his seat unnoticed, but the audience was having none of that, welcoming him with shouts and warm, nearly exultant applause. It was thrilling. Here was someone worth waiting for patiently, someone we obviously appreciated and cared about.

Turning a little pink, he smiled shyly in acknowledgment, then quickly turned to the business at hand. He wet his reed and gave the “A” to Margaret. Mr. Accardo made his entrance. The program began, and once again we in the audience were the lucky ones. We got to hear LACO, with Allan.

The previous passage is a LACO patron memory submitted by Lynne Ludeke as part of our 40th anniversary celebration. In honor of Thanksgiving, we are happy to share this memory of thanks for the wonderful presence of LACO principal oboe, Allan Vogel, who has been with LACO since 1972. The talents of all our LACO musicians are certainly something to be thankful for!

Please send in your special story about LACO to contribute to our ongoing project, as a way to look back on all the wonderful moments experienced with the Orchestra! You may email your stories to Marcella at marcelladover@laco.org or send them via snail mail to LACO at 707 Wilshire Blvd Suite 1850, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

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