Maestro will headline with LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra at April 17 concert.
by Donavan Barrier
LAPORTE, Ind.– LaPorte native Gary Thor Wedow is excited to return home for an “in-person” concert April 17 in the spotlight leading the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra.
The 7 p.m. concert event is titled “Welcome Home Gary Thor Wedow” at 7 p.m. CST at the Civic Auditorium, 1001 Ridge Road in LaPorte. Joining Maestro Wedow are two of his favorite vocalists, Kellie Motter and Edward Graves, who will delight audiences with opera and musical excerpts. Tickets are $20 for adult balcony seats and $18 for senior balcony seats, with free admission for students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased at www.lcso.net.
Wedow’s personal and professional story begins, as he explains, with a youth surrounded by music, with his earliest musical recollections taking lessons from Florence Andrew, his piano teacher and organist for the St. Andrew’s Episcopalian Church in LaPorte. In his junior high and high school years, he took his interest in music further, playing French horn in the school band and piano for the school’s swing choir.
“It was just what I did,” Wedow said.
“It was my way of belonging. It was my path.”
After graduating high school, Wedow enrolled at Indiana University originally to major in education, but was convinced to go for a piano major after showing his skill on the ivory keys during his audition. It was there where he studied under piano virtuoso Jorge Bolet.
“He was a very deep musician,” Wedow said.
” He had such a passion for it. It took me years to figure out what he was telling me.”
During his time at university, Bolet helped foster in him a passion for collaboration which he said helped him improve in his talents.
“I loved collaborating with people,” Wedow said.
“When [Jorge] saw when I did that, I became a better musician. So he really encouraged me to pursue.”
After graduating Indiana University, Wedow studied at the New England Conservatory to gain a Master’s of Music degree with distinction and learn under conductor John Moriarty, who would help him connect for jobs with the Santa Fe Opera and the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. Wedow continued to work at various opera houses and with orchestras, as well as joining the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music, serving as a vocal coach.
When talking of the process of becoming a musician, Wedow describes it as an apprenticeship.
“Music is a profession that you learn by doing,” he said.
“Like a carpenter or a welder, you can only learn it by working with the masters.”
Wedow has also worked with various theaters such as the Teatro Colon and the Wolf Trap Opera to mentor aspiring singers and to help them hone their craft, with himself as an example.
“An opera singer has to be a student of the world,” Wedow said, with a twinkle in his eye.
“I try to give them musical tools, to make them self-sufficient.”
Donavan Barrier is a 2019 graduate of Purdue Northwest who works in broadcast communications and journalism, including work with local PBS station WNIT in South Bend. He can be reached at email@example.com