Early in 1990, the Kentucky Department of Tourism asked LMO to help promote the state at a regional tourism convention to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. LMO prepared several new pieces, including Jim Bates' arrangement of Stephen Foster tunes and a series of Renaissance dances by Michael Praetorius.
The entire group headed for Atlanta the first weekend in March and played to an enthusiastic but noisy group of conventioneers at the "Kentucky Luncheon" on March 5. The crowd received the group warmly and even joined in on some of the familiar Stephen Foster tunes. This performance helped lend credibility to LMO and heightened the group's self-confidence. It was the first of many "road trips."
1990 Ends in a Flurry
More Playing, More Confidence.
Fall, 1990 provided several performance opportunities for LMO. One of the newer members, Dr. Richard Barber (Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville) arranged for the group to play for the University's "Lunch and Learn" program at UofL's Shelby Campus in eastern Jefferson County. The September 14th show enabled LMO once again to expand its outreach. This audience, made up of retired faculty, staff and alumni of the University, responded warmly to the eclectic program of classical and popular music.
In October the Kentucky Opera Association invited LMO to return to the Kentucky Center for the Arts for the KOA Book Sale on October 10. The KOA event gave LMO a chance to try out some new music it was preparing for two upcoming concerts: an October 28th performance at Louisville's Cathedral of the Assumption and the closing concert of the Classical Mandolin Society Convention which LMO was to host in early November.
The Classical Mandolin Society of America Convention brought several hundred mandolin players and enthusiasts to downtown Louisville's Holiday Inn for workshops, concerts and jam sessions. The final concert on Saturday evening at the historic Macauley Theater featured artists who had performed previously with LMO (Sam Bush, The Modern Mandolin Quartet, and Peter Ostroushko) as well as some who had not (Neil Gladd, the Mair-Davis Duo). The marathon concert lasted well over four hours and proved a fitting finale to LMO's foray into convention-hosting.
An exhausting but exhilarating year of activity had broadened LMO's influence in America's classical mandolin community.