Paul Hoverman
Paul Hoverman

As I have been working on the new season for the Niswonger, I have been engulfed by music of all kinds. In addition to listening to everything from Broadway to Country to Adult Contemporary and Rock, I have also been doing a bit of music of my own. This Saturday, the Lima Symphony Orchestra is performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. You know it - it’s the one with “Ode to Joy” in it. I have been listening to recordings of it and now am in the midst of rehearsing it all week long. If you want to talk about passion and inspiration, this Beethoven symphony has it all.

I know that many of you are quite familiar with the entire symphony, but most are just familiar with the “Ode to Joy” section which doesn’t even arrive until the fourth movement; and actually not until halfway through that! Anyway, as I was listening to my recording, it really hit me as to the amount of passion that Beethoven wrote into his music. It is common knowledge that Beethoven had lost most of his hearing by the time he had written his Ninth Symphony. This may have actually aided the passion and inspiration he was able to compose into his music. I imagine he heard more music inside his head than he ever did with his ears.

We were fortunate two years ago to present the Fort Wayne Philharmonic with the chorus, including some of our local singers, along with soloists. What an amazing experience it was to hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the Niswonger PAC!

If you are looking for an inspirational experience this Saturday night, I invite you to the Lima Civic Center to enjoy the Lima Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven’s magnificent Ninth Symphony. The King’s Coronation by Handel is also programmed for Saturday night. Of course, you all know the inspiration behind much of Handel’s music, which gives me the opportunity to announce that Handel’s Messiah will be performed this Christmas on December 14. Mark your calendars.

The point of this entire column is not just to talk about Beethoven, although he is one of the most fiery and passionate composers of all time. While driving to Lima this week, I was listening to some Country songs of singers we are looking at for next season at the Niswonger. I was inspired by the lyrics of a particular song. A good Country song can emit emotions when you add meaningful lyrics; something many of them do quite well.

On the other hand, the Van Wert High School theatre department is performing the musical, “Foot Loose” this weekend. Performances are at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The music of this show helps tell a story that I think you will enjoy. The sets and staging are absolutely first-rate! Come and see these talented and hard-working kids.

Since we are talking about inspiration, the Voices of Unity Youth Choir from Fort Wayne, Ind., will perform at the Niswonger on Saturday, April 26. These youth from the Fort Wayne area are the epitome of inspiration. Their vehicle of inspiration is music. Many of these youth are inner-city youth and have found a refuge from life’s problems through the ministry Marshall White offers through his Unity program. You must come and see how so many of these young boys and girls have made something good of their lives since becoming involved in this program. It is truly amazing! Check the box office for the few remaining seats for this show on April 26.

This is also a good time to give a shout out to James DeFore, a young man from Van Wert who is in both Footloose and Voices of Unity. Way to go, James!

Enjoy music of all kinds and be inspired!