Introducing Jackie Lyon – Our New Board President.

Where does your interest in classical music come from?

My interest in classical music was really inspired by my parents who took me to classical concerts starting at an age of around 7-8.  Throughout my secondary education in Providence, RI, I attended with my parents a regular subscription concert series of the Providence Symphony Orchestra as well as concerts given during the summers around the Monadnock region by Monadnock Music.  As an adult, I have continued to appreciate classical music and like to attend not only symphony concerts and opera but chamber music concerts.  

Did you ever play a musical instrument?

I started taking piano lessons when I was 10.  My father was a real lover of classical music as he became an accomplished trombone player in college. I remember him saying how he would play Bach Chorales from the college chapel tower.  He also won first prize in one the music competitions in Ohio during his college years.  So, I continued playing the piano and taking lessons right through college. Presently, I play for pleasure.

Why is music important to you?

Classical music is so relaxing and uplifting.  I just love the melodies, harmonies, rhythms, modulations, etc. It is just wonderful to listen to. I have a fairly extensive vinyl record collection that I inherited from my parents and that I also collected over the years as well as CD’s. My collection ranges from early Baroque up to the early 20th century including the great 19th century and early 20th century opera composers. Because my father’s favorite composer was Mozart, his music is the most represented in this collection.   I do admit that I am not much a fan of modern 20th and 21st century classical music. It is too dissonant.

How long have you lived in this area?

My familiarity with the Monadnock region dates back to the late 1950’s when my family started spending summers mainly around Lake Warren in Alstead township.  After semi-retiring, I moved from Connecticut up to the Keene area and presently reside in Harrisville.  What is so great about this region is the richness of the arts especially the array of musical talent.  Having such an accomplished classical musical group as Ashuelot Concerts in Keene is really quite special and wonderful.   Generally, one would have to go to Boston or New York to hear such superb musicians. 

What is it about Ashuelot Concert’s mission that inspires you and made you accept the position of board president? 

Ashuelot Concerts passion for presenting classical music not only extends to adults but to children which is one of the main reasons I was interested in joining the Board and becoming board chairperson.  If as a child you are not introduced to classical music in live concerts, then usually you never develop an appreciation for this type of music.  Ashuelot Concerts is a rare exception in going into schools and playing for all ages of children.  What is so wonderful is that their reception by many of these children has been very enthusiastic. 

What does the future look like for Ashuelot Concerts and what are your hopes for the organization?

My hope for Ashuelot Concerts is that their live concerts for children continues to expand to most of the schools in the Monadnock region as well as presenting live concerts in venues in other towns beyond Keene.  This is all in addition to continuing their virtual concerts reaching peoples in other US states and abroad. I also encourage the continuation of the insightful talks presented by Nick Burns prior to each composition. Listening to the music is great but also understanding how the composition was constructed by the composer is even better. Finally, there may be ways to have Ashuelot Concerts engage with other music/art organizations in the Monadnock region that will further enhance its mission.