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1973: The Pizza and the Passion

  • May 19, 2010
Leading up the start of the 40th Anniversary of the Oregon Bach Festival, we are taking a brief look at each year of the festival over the course of the next 40 days (41, to be precise). But we could not do it without a little help. On the occasion of the Oregon Bach Festival silver anniversary, Marian C. Donnelly compiled a history of the first 25 years. For the next couple of weeks, we will be graciously pulling excerpts from her work, The Oregon Bach Festival 1970-1994.

The fourth year of the Festival in 1973 continued the short-lived tradition of establishing traditions that would be anything but short-lived. After a sabbatical leave in 1972, H. Royce Saltzman returned to the Festival to assume the administrative leadership position he would hold until his "first" retirement as executive director in 1994. And he returned to a Festival featuring a newly remodeled School of Music recital hall, renamed Beall Concert Hall. Bach is for whom the Beall tolls. But it was Central Lutheran Church that played host to two performances of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion that year. However, such performances can take a toll. As Marian C. Donnelly notes, the conclusion of the Festival required a send-off that would strike the right chord for years to come.
"Rilling and the musicians had already begun the tradition of an after-Festival pizza party following the final concert where the musicians parody the music, roast Rilling and good-naturedly mimic the artists."
But that chord struck a sour note a few years back when Festival organizers tried to place pizza on sabbatical, and replace it with barbecue. That sabbatical didn't last long, either. Tomorrow: 1974 - Coffee Cantata You can purchase your tickets to the 2010 Oregon Bach Festival here. And for a more extensive history of the Festival, you can find it here. Read All