Home Authors Posts by Albert Pyle
Every year at this time, more than a hundred well-behaved volunteers troop onto scores of risers at the back of the stage at Music Hall, stand quietly behind the professional musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and wait for the signal from conductor James Conlon—which, when it comes, is their cue to blow the socks off what is usually a full house of 3,500 music lovers at the oldest choral festival in the United States. Whether the work being sung was written by Mendelssohn or McCartney, the result is invariably stunning. Because there’s no match in the wide world of music for the sound of massed human voices pouring straight into the ear, unmodulated by amps, mikes, or engineers. And that sound is something that is done particularly well here.
Eons before Amazon and the Kindle, centuries before Barnes & Noble, mankind conceived of a place where a large number of books could be gathered together for the enjoyment and edification of an enlightened citizenry. On the occasion of the Mercantile Library’s 175th anniversary, its executive director explains why that idea has endured.