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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Billy Edwards – Busted as a Lake Charles Symphony Supporter!
(Learn more about Billy’s involvement & thoughts on the Symphony’s Motown Summer Pops Concert, July 14)

-By Angie Manning
Billy Edwards - Musical Undercover Agent -
Busted as a Lake Charles Symphony
board member and lover of classical music!

There are loads of people in the community who are in some ways like undercover agents, working to support the symphony. But, no one really “knows” this or understands who is involved. It’s like a secret society of devoted people who want classical music thrive in the area. This blog entry exposes one of those undercover agents – Billy Edwards. (He’s so busted! Secret agent cover – blown!)

In his first year as a member of the Symphony Board, Billy worked to attract the younger generation of music lovers to concerts by hosting the first Symphony After Party at The Porch Coffee House where audience members were able to socialize with conductor Bohuslav Rattay and orchestra members. With the Summer Pops Goes Motown on the horizon, I checked in with Billy to find out his take on the Lake Charles Symphony and the Motown Sound.

So, why are you involved in the Lake Charles Symphony?
Billy: “I believe music is a common denominator within communities. The symphony is such a big part of Lake Charles. When people think of the symphony, many think of concerts on Saturdays or Sunday afternoons, when in fact, it is so much more. It is a living organization which has many facets in our community, for example, the outreach with our youth in our public school systems. To see how many lives the symphony can touch each day, month, and year is why I am part of such a great organization.”

What do you enjoy about classical music?
Billy: “This is a hard one to answer in one sentence. I am a music major from McNeese, and I have grown up my entire life either listening to or playing classical music. For me, it is an escape. Learning the history of each piece, why the composer wrote it...and it’s as if each time I hear a piece, I learn something new. How great is that? How many things do you come across that provide such an experience?”

With the Motown Summer Pops concert coming up, July 14, what's your favorite Motown group?
Billy: “This is a loaded question. Where do I start? Favorite groups/artists: Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding (thanks to my Dad), The Isley Brothers (thanks again, Dad), the Supremes, and the list could go on forever. Motown stands for so much. When most people think of Motown, they might first think of that ‘Motown Sound.’ That sound which brings memories back no matter how old you are. You always remember where you heard it. Most importantly for me, Motown was the cannon that was instrumental in blasting down the walls of racial segregation in music.”

What is your favorite event that the symphony puts on, or do you have several that you like?
Billy: “Without a doubt it is the Summer Pops. Until this past year, it was my single favorite, but now with our Gala in December, I have two. Oh, and Beast Feast. So, I guess there are three. I love the energy at each, and it gives a new perspective to the diversity of the symphony.”

Anything that you would like to add?
Billy: “I would also like to challenge everyone to go to at least one symphony event, and while doing so bring at least one friend. The other thing that I would like to add is bring a child. Introduce them to the world of live music and performance. It is something they will cherish forever. For once the love of music is in you, you can never shake it!”

Mark your calendars for the Summer Pops Concert – July 14! Get tickets and more information at
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Father's Day is Approaching - Bohuslav & His Dad's Influence on his Life

Bohuslav Rattay's father - also named Bohuslav!

As Father's Day Approaches, Bohuslav Rattay Reflects on the Influence his Father had on his Life:

-By Angie Manning

In many families, music is not something that randomly shows up in one person. Even though it can, of course, most of the time – almost – it’s in the blood. (I have absolutely no data to back this up), but even if it is not the case that everyone is a professional musician in a family, if someone in a family is intensely musical, it seems that it is passed down for generations.

Music in a family is a collective experience. It’s a gathering, a celebration, daily living in music, and it’s in the very air that you breathe. In my life experience, it’s usually the case that musical people have musical family trees. (Just something that I have noticed.)

So, as Father’s Day approached, I thought that it would be interesting to see if that was the case with our conductor, Bohuslav Rattay. Just to see – where he comes from – not just geographically, but musically. What was his father’s influence on his musical life?

Bohuslav reflects on his father's influence on his life...

The Rattay Musical Family Tree:
“As you can tell from the picture, my dad is a trombone player. Even though he is retired now, he still plays here and there but not as intensely as he used to.  His brother (Evzen), my uncle, is a cellist, and so, the influence on me was coming from all different directions. Their father, my grandpa, was an amateur violinist and pianist. To this day, I have my grandpa's concert piano in my house.”

Yes, Bohuslav Had Piano Lessons!
“My dad started me on music at an early age, somewhere around 5 years old. At first, I took piano lessons with a lady that lived in the same apartment complex, but later, he took me to a music teacher that he himself started with. My dad, being a professional musician, made sure I practiced every day, or almost every day :) and that I was ready for my lessons with my teacher.”

Bohuslav’s Time at the Prague Conservatory:
“Later on, during my studies at the conservatory of music, my dad created many wonderful opportunities for me to play my instrument (bassoon) with all different musical groups around town and even in his orchestra at the theater. We spent many hours together rehearsing and performing.”

Happy Father’s Day to Dad in Prague:
"Both of my parents live in Prague, very far away from where I have chosen to spend my life. These days, there are fewer opportunities for my father and I to enjoy music making together, but I know he is very proud of me and supports me in spirit, wishing for me to enjoy my music making for the rest of my life.”

Happy Father's Day from the Lake Charles Symphony!
See you July 14 when the Symphony Goes Motown - Summer Pops Concert.

Sunday, June 3, 2012
Did you get that Tweet?

Do you hear it?
Symphonic Tweets in the Air!

It’s a Social Symphony…Twitter, Facebook & Blogs
-by Angie Manning
It’s true! You can probably have a much better day – all and all – by following the Lake Charles Symphony on Twitter. Every single Tweet is uplifting, fun and timely. For instance, for Mother’s Day, the Symphony Tweeted about famous classical composers and their relationships with their moms. Who knew?! And, lovely classical pieces, inspirational musical quotes, tips on classical music, musical suggestions, what’s up with the Symphony and cultural happenings – yes – you should totally follow the Symphony on Twitter!
If you are not currently on Twitter, it’s so easy to sign up on And, then, all you have to do is follow @lcsymphony. (Takes like 2 seconds). Musical musings will come straight to you! To view Tweets, go to
The Lake Charles Symphony also has a blog which is, and it is updated several times per month – especially leading up to concerts and events. (That’s when we kick it into high gear!) And, of course, find the Symphony on
Anyway, we thought that you should know – how to stay in “the know” when it comes to Symphonic happenings in the Lake Charles area. So, be sure to follow the Symphony on Twitter and spread the word about it...!
Also, mark your calendars for July 14 when the Lake Charles Symphony Goes Motown! The popular Summer Pops is coming up, and it’s going to be one of the hottest concerts of the year. Everyone who is “with it” will be there! So, definitely, make plans to attend! Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, check