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Baseball in December? Absolutely.

December 10, 2019
orchestra musicians on stage, with conductor's back facing the audience, all musicians in baseball uniforms, with the Red Wings baseball mascot in the foreground and a screen in the background showing Roberto Clemente playing baseball.Rachel Waddell, musical director for the Department of Music, joins Mittsy the Rochester Red Wings mascot for a community concert celebrating “150 Years of Baseball.” (University of Rochester photo / Mary Cooke)

Baseball fans who lament the slow passage of time between the end of the World Series in October and the beginning of spring training in April were offered a pick-me-up last Friday evening through a community concert celebrating “150 Years of Baseball” at the University of Rochester.

The concert was put on by the University’s Chamber Orchestra in partnership with the Rochester Red Wings, the Rochester Historical Baseball Society, Roberto Clemente School No. 8, the Yellowjackets baseball team, and the University’s Concert Choir.  


musicians wearing baseball hats and jerseys play cellos.

The University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra performs “Here Come the Red Wings.”

conductor and orchestra musicians perform in baseball uniforms, with an historic image of a baseball game and American flag on the screen behind them.

Rachel Waddell conducts the University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra in“The Live Oak Polka.“

Rachel Waddell, director of orchestral activities for the Department of Music, recently began incorporating Rochester’s spaces into the Chamber Orchestra’s musical programs as way to engage students in learning about the Rochester community and its history. Earlier in the year, the ensemble performed at the Two Saints Church with a program tailored to the venue, one of Rochester’s oldest public buildings. This latest performance presented a program of classical and historical music, poetry, and music inspired by America’s pastime.

The evening featured a collection of baseball-themed medleys, from a patriotic kickoff of the National Anthem to traditional stadium favorites and sing-a-longs, like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” “God Bless America,” and “Here Come the Red Wings.”

Children's choir perform on stage with choir conductor holding a folder that reads GO WINGS.

The Roberto Clemente School No. 8 Choir performs “Clemente: Tribute to a Baseball Hero.”

two radio announcer sit at a table in front of a stage, with the words PENALTY BOX and ESPN 8 The Ocho.

Red Wings Stadium on-field announcer Grant Anderson Grant Anderson and KISS 106.7 FM DJ Megan Carter provide commentary.

The entire performance mimicked at night at the stadium. Mittsy, the Rochester Red Wings mascot, greeted fans as they entered Strong Auditorium. The musicians wore baseball jerseys and caps. And from their seats to the bottom right of the stage, Red Wings Stadium on-field announcer Grant Anderson and KISS 106.7 FM DJ Megan Carter narrated the evening.“It has been the most wonderful adventure,” said Brenda Richey, music director at Roberto Clemente School No. 8.

Richey worked with Waddell to bring elementary school students—from third to eight grade—to the River Campus so they could learn about the instruments, the orchestra, as well as have some fun with baseball and its rich Rochester history. Named for one of baseball’s greatest legends and most revered of Latino ballplayers, the school, part of the Rochester City School District, counts spotlighting the arts as a key part of its mission.

woman speaks into a microphone on stage in front of orchestra musicians wearing baseball uniforms.

Brenada Richey, music director Roberto Clemente School No. 8 introduces the choir.

row of kids in a theatre audience sing from their programs.

Students in the audience sing along to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

“A hero to millions – not only for his greatness on the baseball diamond, but with his heartfelt desire to help others less fortunate,” was how Grant Anderson described Roberto Clemente as the children presented “Clemente: Tribute to a Baseball Hero.”

The evening also featured a fast-moving performance of a version of P.D.Q. Bach’s Beethoven Symphony No. 5 as well as a special presentation of “Casey at the Bat,” by the Concert Choir, led by its director Julie Covach.

A final highlight was the premier of a new arrangement of the 1860 baseball classic “The Live Oak Polka” written by Eastman School of Music doctoral candidate Keane Southard.

“This is a wonderful evening for all of us to get together and celebrate the same thing – whether you’re here for the music or here for the baseball or a little bit of both – we’re all here for the community,” said Waddell.

Red Wings baseball mascot stands in front of an orchestra holding a conductors baton.

Mittsy gets her turn with the bat …. or, baton.

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Category: In Photos