“Has it really been almost 2 years? I still can’t quite believe it. It was so strange playing HIS music, looking up for the cues…and seeing someone else on the podium…”
Letter from Alison Peters Fujito to Terre Blair Hamlisch, and response from Terre Blair to Alison:
(Alison, From the First Violin Section, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
I’m attaching a photo of the music– the 5th stand first violin part to “The Way We Were,” page 5, plus the two photos of us that my friend Tris snapped of us in Heinz Hall. I didn’t realize that Marvin’s photo was still up on stage, but you can see him beaming down at us in one of the photos. 🙂
Music from The Way We Were, 5th Stand, First Violin part:
Alison Fujito and Terre Blair Hamlisch during the World Premiere for the Kevin Cole’s “Play it Again, Marvin!” at the Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA (June 28th, 2014)
I’m also attaching photos of Tris and her husband Mark holding their Hamlisch Jerseys in front of Marvin’s poster in front of a Heinz Hall poster of Marvin Hamlisch.
Has it really been almost 2 years? I still can’t quite believe it. It was so strange playing HIS music, looking up for the cues…and seeing someone else on the podium. I still remember when he first started guest‐conducting Pops concerts in Pittsburgh (I joined the PSO in 1987). I remember him bouncing in and announcing that he was a newlywed, and we all cheered. And then he always had you stand at concerts…I didn’t realize what an emotional ritual that had became for all of US until that first season without him. Your not being in the audience left an emptiness to those concerts, in addition to the vast hole in our hearts from Marvin’s absence.
The audience knew this, too–that’s why they stood up for you. You probably didn’t see us on stage, wiping away tears at that moment. It was so nice having you back in the audience and with us, even for just one concert!
Please stay in touch—we all miss you every time there’s a Pops concert! I’ve got some ideas percolating in the back of my mind, about finding ways to keep music in the public schools, which I know Marvin felt strongly about supporting. In fact, somewhere, I have a copy of a letter he wrote to one of the NY Public School Districts; Shelly Fuerte gave me a copy of it several years ago (alas, before I had a computer), and I read it aloud at a school board meeting in Pittsburgh, where, in one of the country’s top school districts (North Allegheny), they were suggesting cutting the elementary instrumental music program. I have to find my copy of that letter! When I do, I’ll scan a copy and send it to you, in case you don’t have it. Hugs and love, Alison
About Alison: After graduating from Juilliard, Mrs. Fujito was hired by Gerard Schwarz for the first violin of the Seattle Symphony, and in 1987, she was appointed to the first violin section of the Pittsburgh symphony by Lorin Maazel. Mrs. Fujito has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony on several occasions. She was a founding member of Roy Sonne’s Ionian chamber Players, has performed in several summer music festivals, and with some of her PSO colleagues, delights in performing string quartets at local schools.
Mrs. Fujito is an advocate of the Suzuki method of teaching violin to ALL ages, and is registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, having completed teacher training for books 1–4 with notable instructors such as Michele George and Ed Kreitman. She is a firm believer in the importance of instrumental music instruction in the public schools, and has spoken at many school board meetings. She was formerly an adjunct violin instructor at Duquesne University, and currently enjoys providing assistance to the many fine public school string instructors in the Pittsburgh area.
Ms. Fujito is married to Dr. Don Fujito, chemistry professor at LaRoche College. They are the proud and sleepless parents of 3 children, as well as 3 cats, and a Border Collie/Newfoundland mix who likes to sleep on the feet of violin students.
RESPONSE from Terre Blair Hamlisch to Alison Peters Fujito:
From Terre Blair Hamlisch to Alison Fujito and Pittsburgh Symphony Musicians:
Alison … Your yellow flowers this year and last have meant the world to me ..
Your caring and generosity and talent move me beyond words.
I will never be able to express EVER how much The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians meant to Marvin Hamlisch and myself. As you know you all were everything to him.
Coming back to Pittsburgh is coming home.
And your loyalty and respect and deep profound love for Marvin Is palpable in Heinz Hall and beyond!!!
It’s what happened in your hall with you last year and this that will be the profound moments I will never EVER forget in my lifetime… Ever.
There is nothing in the world like you and your colleagues playing his music!
Marvin Hamlisch would be and always so proud of you … The PSO is the shining star and always will be … He always said that.
Please continue to play his music and tell people about him…
Never let them forget … His love for his musicians of the brilliant PSO!
Terre Blair — Hamlisch