To Thomas and Alice Lindsay, making music has been a lifelong passion. Both have been members of prestigious symphony orchestras, such as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and faculty members teaching music at leading colleges and universities, such as the Virginia Commonwealth University and at Rutgers University.
After their retirement they could have sat easily on their laurels. Instead, Tom and Alice Lindsay had co-founded the St. Bede Orchestra School, "established for the purpose of providing training for string students of all levels."
According to the fact sheet provided, all students are enrolled on full tuition scholarships. Eligibility requires a minimum of one year of school, private or group lessons, ages 7 through 18. The program includes master classes, orchestral training, and small group sessions.
There is also a summer program that provides special training for college, and for accomplished high school students in grades 11 and 12, as well as sessions for teacher training.
"Students will be prepared to perform before some concerts by the Tidewater Intergenerational Orchestra and with the choirs of St. Bede," states the fact sheet.
The Tidewater Intergenerational Orchestra was also founded by the Lindsays. It provides an opportunity for professional concert artists, adult members of the community, and accomplished students to perform together and learn from each other. "It is a string orchestra of between 28 to 55 members that often includes other instrumentalists, singers, and members of the group to appear as soloists with the orchestra. Some players travel more than 100 miles to play with the orchestra."
Apparently, the Lindsays were not finished yet with bringing musical enjoyment to their adopted community. After attending a concert organized by the Lindsays at St. Bede, Joan Bender and Richard Boyden asked them to create a composite "Gala of Broadway" show, as a fundraiser for the Colonial Heritage Foundation.
The Foundation was formed nearly five years ago with the mission to address the issues facing the growing senior population in the greater Williamsburg area. "Its primary mission is to promote aging in place as part of the continuum of care program. Secondly, the focus is to provide support to the family caregiver through programs, education, services and resources."
Tom Lindsay was appointed as artistic director of the "Gala of Broadway." He has already recruited and auditioned singers who have come from throughout the Tidewater area, formed and coached ensembles, and has directed all aspects of the musical production. His wife, Alice, has coordinated schedules for rehearsals and worked on the script to tie all the segments of the program together.
I asked the Lindsays what motivates them to be so active in promoting the participation of people in the community, in music-making?
"The enjoyment of sharing time and mutual interest with people who have traveled, the same roads. Not necessarily in music," Tom said. "And the people, who are kind and like to contribute to the common good, and who enjoy doing it."
I have also asked, how does participation in music-making activities affect people?
"They seem to be happier," Alice said. "Because, of the activity and the interaction with other people."
Then, as an afterthought, with disarming honesty she added: "The fact is, we love doing it all."
Maybe, one day, using the Lindsays example, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of the Adirondacks, may initiate a similar program.