September 20, 2013

Blossom Music Center, Severance Hall: Tune-worthy things a grad student should do

Blossom Music Center (with a double rainbow!)
The Cleveland Orchestra's summer home is Blossom Music Center, an outdoor venue about 30 miles south of Cleveland that hosts musicians of all genres. Set on more than 800 acres of park-like property, Blossom is quite a different atmosphere from Severance Hall.

A recent, lively performance included hits by Cole Porter and friends - perfect for a summer of excitement over The Great Gatsby. In addition to fun, upbeat music and lyrics, conductor Bramwell Tovey had the audience laughing at his commentary on everything from the selection of songs to the front row guests arriving late. Some of the summer performances are of a more classical variety – Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven – and sitting in the pavilion gives a more traditional concert hall feel. But sitting on the lawn is what makes the Blossom experience unique, and it’s also a fantastic way to enjoy a picnic.

Guests arrive up to a couple of hours before the concert starts, toting blankets, snacks and drinks. You’ll see many groups with a picnic basket of wine, cheese and crackers, and fruit. Some opt for an easy menu of take-out food, like pizza, subs or Chipotle. Whatever suits your taste. Everyone sits back, chats with friends and watches as the lawn fills with other parties, blankets, folding chairs and picnics. Before you know it, the stage inside the pavilion is being set for the concert to begin and instruments are being tuned. You can pack up the picnic and just listen to the concert, or you can munch on your snacks for the whole evening (quietly please).

Blossom has a natural charm with a blue sky and puffy clouds in place of Severance Hall’s ceiling of gleaming gold-leaf and lotus blossoms. With an attentive audience, there is still a reverent hush across the venue. And as the evening gets late, you’ll see there’s nothing quite like a live orchestra performance under the stars. On Labor Day weekend, adults and kids alike are treated to a season finale of popular music– this year, it was Pixar in Concert – and the night sky lights up with fireworks.

Since the summer concerts at Blossom are now past us, take a look at this season's performances scheduled at Severance Hall (which is located only a short walk from Weatherhead!).

Katherine Gullett, MBA '13 - Cultural Contributor

I’m a Cleveland native who loves my city, and I am thrilled to be sharing it with you. It seems I always have recommendations of things to do and places to see. This summer, I’ve started experiencing the city from a fresh perspective—by getting here and there on my bicycle.

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