It was a concert shamelessly stuffed with pieces I loved, many of which were part of my own personal musical history, (For instance, we opened with the overture to Patience.) And we finished with a band arrangement of Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain from “The Messiah”, which had been (at the age of twelve, when I was still a clarinetist) my introduction to my favorite composer and one of my favorite pieces of music.
The room was full of love that night, not only from the band for me and for each other, but from my family and friends, representing in a reserved row.
Since then, many many things have happened to us all. The LGBAC has doubled in size since I left and is going stronger than ever in their fifth decade. I turned to theater work and haven’t done a lot of band stuff since. But I will always be proud of the hard work I put in over those seven years, what we all accomplished, and how we all grew.
The “Maestro Eric Peterson Day” thing… having a day named for you is not unlike having a star named after you. In terms of public recognition, if you weren’t at that concert, you wouldn’t know about it. It was never publicized in any way and it’s not like there’s a list of all the declared days for Manhattan on a website somewhere (yes, I’ve looked). But I have never been so honored, before or since, by my government, or by an organization. And I am still astonished beyond all measure, and so grateful.
So here’s a marker to the band, to say, once again, THANK YOU with everything I have for the life-changing seven-plus years I had as your conductor, and particularly for that wondrous night!