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Work Rehearsal at the Cleveland Orchestra

In the afternoon of Wednesday, February 11th, we attended an work rehearsal of the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall where we listened to the "Violin Concerto in D Minor, Opus 47" by the late composer, Mr. Jean Sibelius. The rehearsal only lasted an hour but what we heard was beautiful and the people who will attend the actual performances over the weekend should like it too. We were very impressed by the violinist, Ms. Alina Ibragimova who was born in Russia where she lived for the first 10 years of her life until her family immigrated to Great Britain in 1995. We got to watch the renowned conductor from Spain, Mr. Juanjo Mena at work; we really liked it when he arrived on stage just before the rehearsal begin and then took off his jacket and turned around and said "hello" to to all of us and got right to work. Later in the rehearsal he told the orchestra members that they would pause for a moment before they played a particular piece all of the way through and then turned back to us and asked, "that good?" and got a laugh. Both Mr. Mena and Ms. Ibragimova are making their Cleveland Orchestra debuts this weekend with these concerts.

We had never been to a Cleveland Orchestra work rehearsal before but we talked to a couple who are seasoned ticket holders and come as often as they can which is three or four times a year. When we told them that we work for Margaret W. Wong and Associates, they told us that their daughter is a dean at a New England college and sometimes encounters students with immigration problems so we gave them our information and they were grateful because we were told that their daughter is very concerned about the problems that people who immigrate to the United States often face.

During the rehearsal, we sat next Ms. Astri Seiedenfeld who immigrated to the United States from Norway in 1966 and is a friend of both Ms. Margaret W. Wong and Ms. Rose Wong and told us to be sure to say hello to both of them for us. In fact Ms. Seiedenfeld lives in Shaker Heights not far from Ms. Rose Wong.

Before the rehearsal began, we talked to two members of the Cleveland Orchestra staff who were Mr. Brian Deeds; Coordinator, Annual Fund and Legacy Giving; and Ms. Christine Yeh; Development Associate, Institutional Giving; to find out what to expect.

Mr. Deeds said to expect "a real live working rehearsal" that will show the inner workings of the Cleveland Orchestra. He went on to say that donors were invited as a way of saying thank you to them.

Ms. Yeh also considers these rehearsals to be "a good opportunity for you to look behind the scenes." She smiled and said that "it is cool to listen to the magic and the music."

We always enjoy attending the monthly CAMEO meeting and we got to do so that very night. We were glad that Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Yvonne Conwell, who is also a CAMEO member, attended this meeting and, before it started, talked to all of us about what is going on at the county level on various matters.

The highlight of this meeting was the election of club officers by the membership and we are proud to say that Ms. Sara Elaqad of Margaret W. Wong and Associates was elected as Corresponding Secretary. Ms. Elaqad's duties will include sending our correspondence pertaining to CAMEO matters and notifying the membership of meetings and events. Ms. Elaqad will be formerly sworn in as a CAMEO officer at a Installation Dinner that has been scheduled to take place on May 2nd at St. Elias. We have been to these installation dinners before and enjoy them a lot. Quite a few state and local political leaders make a point to attend them also.

Another event that we are looking forward to is the Cleveland International Hall of Fame banquet on April 29th when Mr. Richard Ganim, one of the founders of CAMEO, will be one of the inductees.

Before the meeting concluded, we got to make an announcement regarding the Seminar on Immigration that will take place at the office of Margaret W. Wong and Associates on February 28th.

As the meeting was wrapping up, Abby Mina said that he believes that the people that were elected will be a hardworking administration but the rest of the membership must help them by working hard to add still more members.

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