New Venue
by Alarie Tennille

That night in 2015 when Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony
performed at the new Helzberg Hall in Kansas City, Missouri,
Maestro Muti was so impressed with the acoustics that he promised
they would return.

Even while the orchestra warms
up, one second violinist wears
her stormy Beethoven face
lest we forget whose Fifth
this is. The baton drops,
duh-duh-duh-DUH. We all know it.

But something is very different
tonight. We hear the color
of each instrument. Less thunder,
more lightning. Flutes take wing
over a buzzing meadow of strings.
Our eyes race after our ears to find
each star of the moment.

Instead of pouring over us,
like the soup of sound we’ve heard
a hundred times before,
the music lifts us.

Previously published as “Why Riccardo Muti Wants to Return” in the author’s collection, Waking on the Moon.

PHOTO: The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Helzberg Hall, Kansas City, Missouri.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My husband and I share a love for the arts, especially literature, Classical music, theatre, and ballet. In our newlywed days, when we were house poor, we relied on libraries and the Classical radio channel. Soon after we moved to Kansas City, we began subscribing to an annual concert series. We thought it was wonderful! Then we got a new concert hall, and it felt like we were hearing music for the first time. Of course, that made it even more heartbreaking when our concerts and ballets were closed down due to Covid.

PHOTO: The author and her husband.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille was a pioneer coed at the University of Virginia, where she earned her degree in English, Phi Beta Kappa key, and black belt in Feminism. She serves on the Emeritus Board and Programming Committee of The Writers Place in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2020, she was honored to receive the first Editor’s Choice Fantastic Ekphrastic Award from The Ekphrastic Review. In January 2022, her new book, Three A.M. at the Museum, was selected as Director’s Pick at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art gift shop. Please visit her at alariepoet.com. Her books are available at Amazon.