Well, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra finally finished wrangling over contracts and finances and is back to the business of doing what it does best, i.e., playing that classical music, white boy. We're all very happy for the SLSO, since this is its 125th year of operation, and the past few weeks have been a bum way to celebrate a century and a quarter of bee-yoo-ti-ful music.
Not to take anything away from the orchestra, but there is another large group of musicians celebrating an anniversary this year. These performers spent the past few weeks practicing for a celebratory concert -- and they weren't getting paid, either. The group, BandTogether, represents the GLBTA community mainly but not exclusively. Beginning with ten members who wanted to play in the 1997 PrideFest Parade, BandTogether has grown into a full (and full-sounding) eighty-member concert band, has spun off a handful of smaller combos and has even formed its own BandTogether Color Guard. The group has expanded its repertoire as well, performing the movie-house classics of John Williams in the same programs with more "classic" classical music (Beethoven, Bach and other giants of the field), along with contemporary composers. This range in musical selection is a necessity when your band has a mass of brass, a full percussion section and a harpist: In other words, you need to find something for everyone to play. Musical directors and co-conductors (pictured, left to right) Jeff Girard and Gary Reynolds have met this need time and again in the past eight years, and with any luck they'll do it for at least eight more.
BandTogether celebrates eight fantastic years of volunteer music-making at 8 p.m. at Salem in Ladue United Methodist Church (1200 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Ladue; visit www.bandtogetherstl.com for more information and a map to the church). Admission is free, but BandTogether would greatly appreciate any cash donation you care to make. So be generous -- this is your community band, after all. -- Paul Friswold
Toil and Trouble
Do you ever get the feeling that your friends are a bit more cultured than you? They've seen and read tons of plays, and you only vaguely remember Shakespeare from school. Well, now's the time to refresh your memory: The Saint Louis Black Repertory Company stages Macbeth from Wednesday, March 16, through April 10 at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square). Go and re-familiarize yourself with the tragedy, its three witches (like on Charmed!) and, of course, the Macbeths -- and then show your fancy friends just how cultured you are (especially when you tell them about the company's take on the play's dark side). Tickets cost $10 to $37.50 (those 30 and younger can purchase half-price tickets on Thursdays) and are available through MetroTix (314-534-1111); check www.metrotix.com for times and www.stlouisblackrep.com for more information. -- Alison Sieloff
Nosmo King in the Theater
There was that dark, terrible time when Dad lost his job. There were no more trips to Whopperburger, no more paper bags of gummy bears. Don't worry: We haven't started using these pages for our personal therapy (that's next week); we're talking about the one-and-only Ramona Quimby. Beverly Cleary's beloved character bounds onto the Florissant Civic Center Theatre's stage (Parker Road and Waterford Drive, Florissant) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday (March 18 and 19). Don't miss this chance to introduce young readers -- and treat yourself -- to the adventures of Ramona, her family and the other denizens of Klickitat Street. Ramona Quimby is presented by the St. Louis Family Theatre Series and performed by the NYC-based Theatreworks. Tickets are $7; call 314-921-5678 for more information. -- Brooke Foster
Sing, Don't Whisper
Much like how Napoleon Dynamite's Happy Hands Club immortalized Amanda McBroom's "The Rose," Mosaic Whispers -- Washington University's strangely named, coed a cappella group -- will (hopefully) have success immortalizing a song or two at its upcoming performances on Friday and Saturday (March 18 and 19) at Graham Chapel (on Wash. U.'s campus, 6445 Forsyth Boulevard). Unlike the Happy Hands Club, part of Mosaic Whispers' annual "Splash of Color" concerts will include planned comedy (as the group's photo at www.mosaicwhispers.com seems to emphasize). Both shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and cost $5 to $7 -- and to our knowledge, neither show includes sign language. -- Alison Sieloff