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Classical music, for your consideration, in our own backyard

The interior of the 1,000-seat concert hall at the Groton Hill Music Center in Groton.Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe/Carlin Stiehl

Bostonians, skip the train ride to New York and go west — to Groton

Re “As BSO transitions, musical ideas from beyond: Innovations from New York, San Francisco show evolving classical landscape” (Critic’s Notebook, Page A1, March 26): For state-of-the-art ideas on warm welcomes for concertgoers (and music makers) of all ages, head less than an hour west of the Boston Symphony Hall.

Last month, I joined hundreds of others to hear the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra perform three symphonies in the stunning new Groton Hill Music Center’s 1,000-seat concert hall, a venue that embraces world-class acoustics with dazzling ceilings, sky-encompassing windows, and, most important, staff and musicians who collaboratively create an opposite-of-stodgy atmosphere. Fabulous music without the airs.


About 100 of us lingered after the concert and walked to the 300-seat hall to join an intimate question-and-answer session with Bruce Hangen, the orchestra’s maestro, and Randy Steere, who debuted the music center’s new, state-of-the-art virtual organ. Both engaged directly and informally with concertgoers (who knew that the sound of an organ in France differs from that in England, and both from that in Germany or Italy?).

For a fresh approach to bringing music to the masses, cancel your Acela tickets for New York and look just a bit west.

Susan Baldwin


Find a human connection at Symphony by the Sea

“Nothing makes discovering new listening experiences more wonderful than a guide with whom one can make a human connection,” writes Anthony Rudel, general manager at GBH Music (“Want to explore classical music? Let me be your guide,” Opinion, March 27). At Symphony by the Sea, we agree. Our music director and conductor, Donald Palma, has made a tradition of introducing the program with anecdotes (both historical and personal) and “drop the needle” demonstrations that add immeasurably to the performance. He invites us to relax, have a good time, and enjoy the magic about to unfold. It is a very human connection, for the audience and the musicians alike.


Sandy Sheckman


The writer serves on the board of directors of Symphony by the Sea.

Listening (and life) skills were learned watching Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts

Anthony Rudel’s op-ed piece (“Want to explore classical music? Let me be your guide.”) brought me back to hours of family time in front of the black-and-white TV learning about classical music from the maestro Leonard Bernstein. From 1958 to 1972, Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts guided my generation and our parents through the beauty and complexity of orchestral instruments, their subtle and distinct sounds, their dissonance and harmonies. These gentle, personalized lessons have influenced not only my appreciation for classical music but also my skills as both an ear and a voice in familial and friendship relationships and a long career as a social worker.

Judi Meirowitz Tischler


GBH let two exemplars go years ago

Anthony Rudel is so right about the value of radio hosts in using their platform to expand listeners’ horizons. The two best exemplars are Richard Knisely and the late Robert J. Lurtsema. GBH should have kept both on the air as long as possible. I still miss them.

Lila M. Farrar

Music director

Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church