“From the musicians to the staff and the whole community at GBS, everyone holds such a special place in my heart,” says Eric Jacobsen. “I am so grateful, and have been so lucky, to have spent the last nine years creating, crafting, building and realizing beautiful concerts and projects with the entire community. I feel incredibly proud of all that we as a group have accomplished. The audiences and the community that support this brilliant group of musicians have inspired us in such a wide spectrum of projects. I will always be a part of the GBS family. I look forward to collaborating for years to come!”
“This is a bittersweet farewell,” says outgoing GBS Executive Director Mark Halstead. “He’s done so much to create the fabulous orchestra we now have, and he’s led us through the Pandemic, but we couldn’t hold on to the tail of that comet forever. He is on the rise all over the world.” Indeed, Jacobsen’s career has soared since first taking the podium for GBS in 2013, and during that time he has brought Bridgeport’s orchestra to new heights.
GBS’ musicians have cheered Jacobsen’s rise to stardom, but of course they will miss him. Says concertmaster Deborah Wong, “One of Eric’s greatest gifts is that he welcomes and appreciates collaboration from all of the musicians on the stage and respects their thoughts. His energy is irresistible, and we will follow him anywhere he wants to go! Eric is warm, generous, considerate, gregarious, fun, and thoughtful; he’s the life of the party in any room he walks into.” GBS’ audience would agree that Jacobsen has brought life into every concert he has conducted in Bridgeport.
The successor to Jacobsen will be announced soon. GBS has showcased three eminent conductors as candidates to lead the orchestra: Eduardo Leandro (November 2021), Benjamin Hochman (November 2022) and Chelsea Gallo (December 2022). The 4th candidate, Chelsea Tipton II, an already well-known talent in our area as Pops Conductor for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, will take the helm Saturday, March 18 at 8:00pm at The Klein Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport, CT for their Third Turn. The show will feature Beethoven’s great “Symphony No. 7.” Its second movement “Allegretto” will be familiar to many as the dramatic backdrop to King George VI’s oration in the film, The King’s Speech, as well as many other movies. Acclaimed young cellist Sterling Elliott will perform the dazzling Dvořák “Cello Concerto” while “Global Warming,” a composition by award-winning composer Michael Abels, will round out the program.
Each candidate has received excellent reviews from the audience, but far greater research and effort has been going on; the candidates have also been reviewed by GBS musicians and have undergone an extensive interview process while becoming acquainted with the Bridgeport community. “It’s all about musicality,” says the Chairman of the Music Director Selection Committee, Doc Hermalyn. “GBS will continue its upward trajectory.”
Tickets for the April 8 show range from $18.00 to $65.00 and are available at www.GBS.org, or by calling GBS at (203)576-0263.
GBS has also announced a special concert on Friday evening, May 5, 7:30 PM at St. Peter Church in Danbury. The church’s grand organ, played by Glen Segger, will accompany 60 GBS musicians in a performance of Saint-Saens’ “Organ Symphony.” Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Stravinsky’s Circus Polka will also be featured, and the event will be followed by a reception in St. Peter’s hall. The concert is free to the public, but seats must be reserved in advance.