Appleton Blog Logo by Jeff Lindsay
The Appleton Blog features one of America's
best communities: Appleton, Wisconsin.

Jeff Lindsay is an author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue. See for more info.
Also follow me on Twitter.


Appleton Resources

Other Suggested Links

Other Blogs from Fox Cities Folks

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Garrison Keillor was Fine, But the Fox Valley Symphony Was Amazing!

I attended the Feb. 27 Fox Valley Symphony event, "A Night with Garrison Keillor" at the beautiful Performing Arts Center. It was a sold out performance for which Garrison Keillor kindly donated his $30k-something fee to the Fox Valley Symphony. Garrison was hilarious, touching, inspiring, ever artistic, and generally a lot of fun. He received a lot of local press for his performance, but I think the amazing performance of the Fox Valley Symphony was short-changed in the news coverage. Sure, Garrison was great, but much of what made the program so rich was the synergy between him and the Symphony, and especially with Brian Groner, Director of the Symphony and master musician.

While the music was often in the background, it was the real backbone of the program. The interaction between Groner and Keillor during Keillor story of the fictional history of Minnesota church's music program was terrific, with Groner playing a constantly-shifting medley of hymns in the style of the various music directors that Keillor's Midwest Lutheran congregation brought in over the years - Wagner, Stravinsky, Debussy, Sousa, etc. Hilarious and sometimes dazzling.

One flaw in the program was Keillor's frequent use of sexual innuendo and themes. A PG-13 rating applied to numerous moments in the program, much more so than one would have imagined from his radio broadcasts. I guess I'm more Lutheran that Keillor.

But when I recall the majestic music of the Fox Valley Symphony, I am reminded about what a gem Appleton has right here in our midst. How fortunate this small town is to have such a concentration of musical talent for our benefit!