(Author’s note: We are off witness a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra today with Riccardo Muti at the podium, so it is only fitting that I post this excerpt from the eulogy I delivered for my mother, the long-standing occupant of seat B7, after she passed from this life on June 4, 2014.)
Picture this: We are settled in the second row, stage right, at Orchestra Hall, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—arguably one of the best in the world—is tuned and ready to deliver yet another amazing performance under the baton of their Italian stallion of a music director, Riccardo Muti.
Devices have been silenced, and the full house awaits in silent anticipation for Maestro Muti to enter stage right, right over our heads.
And then, when a dropping pin would bust the mood, the shy lady in seat B7, the one and only Hannah Dick Macfarlan McKelvy, says in that full voice of hers—loud enough for the cabbies on Michigan Avenue to hear:
Where’s the big guy?!?
The pin dropped, and then the big guy himself appeared, and, being the good Italian son that he is, he smiled down on Momma McKelvy as he strode to the podium.
Mom nodded approvingly and allowed as how the big guy could get on with the show, and he did.
And Maestro Muti did indeed smile down at Mom when it was all over, and, despite her 90-something years, she hauled herself to her feet to join the standing ovation.