Teal Dragon Quilts

A world of Quilts and Dragons!

Memories of Bill Kushner

on March 13, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012 a dear friend left this world.  He was the conductor of the Rapides Symphony and the Lake Charles Symphony for many years.  I was 19 when I joined his orchestras.  He watched me mature musically and as a person.  I started out in the back of the 2nd violin section and now I am the section leader of the Lake Charles 2nd violins.  What fun!  I think Kushner was tickled that I asked for the position.  I remember being so afraid of a no and he said “Sure, Mary Webb” and he giggled.

So many memories.  I married my husband when I was 27.  I remember telling Mr. Kushner about my upcoming wedding.  His comment was, “Well, you will always be Mary Webb to me!”  In Lake Charles and Alexandria, Louisiana, to this day, I am still known as “Mary Webb”.

In Alexandria, we had rehearsals on Monday nights with a reduced orchestra.  A few string players and some winds.  Most of us drove from Natchitoches, LA.  Kushner was a conductor to the core.  He could make a comment that would make you want to crawl under the chair…(most of them can).  But most of the time he never did that to me.  But sometimes….On the way home a comment would be made about how Kushner was in a “mood, he even got onto Mary Webb!”

For a while, I lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana and was able to attend the rehearsals on Tuesday nights.  At one of the 1st rehearsals of the season, there was a new 2nd violin that was sitting next to me.  This player kept coming in early, and rushing.  At one point, Kushner told the player to follow Mary Webb, she will never lead you astray!  Oh, how my heart sang:)

But overall the rehearsals were enjoyable and they just got better.  The music we played was always good.  Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Mahler, Strauss, Copeland, Shostakovitch, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, just to name a few.

We played ballets and operas, we played with so many soloists, some were well known, others were on their way up.  Names like Bob Hope and Shari Lewis.

He trusted his musicians to pull through and luckily we never let him down.  I know he now has a perfect orchestra to conduct, but I am sad, I will not hear his voice say “Mary Webb!”  I will miss you Bill Kushner, save a spot for me in your orchestra in heaven!

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One response to “Memories of Bill Kushner

  1. ivoryspring says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Mr. Kushner sounded like a super guy!

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