Didn't post an advance notice about one of the greatest days in my life because I didn't want Murphry's Law to interfere; but, here goes:
On Sunday, March 11, 2007, the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of James Sadewhite, performed a 15 minute Symphonic Programme piece written by yours truly. It is entitled, "Dauntless Knight" and is the story, told in music, of Christopher Reeve's equestrian accident in May, 1995. The piece starts with the Equestrian Event (trumpet calls, etc.) and moves along to his accident where he was paralyzed after a fall from his mount.
Most of you are probably familiar with this incident.
The ensuing parts of the composition describe, musically, his Will to Live, Organizing his Mind and planning his recovery, his Travels to secure funds for Spinal Cord Research, Prayers for Christopher Worldwide, Partial Bodily Independence, and in the end I wrote the piece to have him make a Full Recovery. Hence, the title, "Dauntless Knight." One writer wrote, "May his faith, courage and tenacity fulfill his commitment to not only LIVE, but to HEAL."
The concert program also included the Prometheus Overture by Beethoven, the Cello Concerto in B Flat by Boccherini (performed by Daniel Miller, Cellist, who is currently appearing in the Broadway musical "Wicked"), Waldesruhe by Dvorak, and the Carmen Suite #1 by Bizet.
My composition was to be performed right after the Intermission. Surprisingly, after the intermission was over, I was called up to the front of the concert hall and presented with a Proclamation from the Mayor of Yonkers' Office that, "March 11, 2007 will be known as JOHN CANNON DAY in Yonkers, New York. It didn't hurt to have been a native of this city either...lol......But, I was overcome with a gesture of this kind.
With that complete, the program continued. After my piece was played, I was humbly surprised at the loud applause and shouts of praise, but the unexpected "icing on the cake," was that 50-60 people in the audience wanted me to autograph their programs. This was so unexpected and made me feel all the work I had done for this Christopher Reeve piece was not in vain. In our technological society of today, composing a piece of music with the aid of a computer and printing out a complete conductor's score and player parts is common-place, but it is an exacting and arduous task. I thought of all the work involved to complete that individual goal while I was receiving the appreciation from the audience.
After the concert, I was invited to a reception where additional photos were taken and where I met with friends I hadn't seen since I was a teenager. Being a senior citizen--that's a real treat. Also, many of my East Coast relatives were present. The President of the Philharmonic also presented me with a "financial gift" which was to help with my travel expenses. Since I was hosted by wonderful relatives in the New York area, this wasn't really necessary, but accepted with gratitude.
I send this message along to you, my Forum members, in the hope that a lot of you will someday experience what I did after so many years of study and hard work. Dauntless Knight wasn't the first composition I had performed by a "live" orchestra; it was the 9th, but it was my greatest excitement to date.
During my acceptance speech of the Mayor's Proclamation, I proudly ended with, "It was great to have been born and raised in Yonkers, but, after so many years, it's greater to be back." My only sadness was that Christopher nor his wife Dana could be present for this tribute to him and his legacy of providing a cure for spinal cord injuries.
(Hope I haven't used up my allotment of Forum space for the month of March)