On Saturday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m., musicians will perform in memory of Bob Anderson (1917-2012), the founding conductor and music director of Cascade Symphony for its first 30 years, from 1962-92.
There will be several small ensembles representing the orchestra: a string quintet, a cello quartet, a marimba duet, a piece for oboe and piano, a piece for brass, and a solo by our former principal cellist, Barbara Johnston.
The concert also features performers from Sno-King Community Chorale, Seattle Jazz Singers and others.
The free concert is at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6215 196th St. SW, Lynnwood.
More about Bob Anderson from Donn and Evangeline Anderson, Carol Anderson:
Robert Anderson | 1917-2012
Bob was born in the gold-rush village of Nome, Alaska in 1917, after his parents, Axel and Jenny immigrated from western Sweden. They survived the Spanish Flu epidemic that killed most of Nome’s inhabitants and moved to Seattle in 1918, settling near Green Lake. Bob learned English, entered school and began violin studies with Erick Koker at age 9. Following Axel’s death in 1934, Bob helped support his mother and brother Harold by teaching privately, playing events at the Olympic Hotel, working the Alaska ferries during the summer, running a news stand in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and grinding
coffee beans for Al Manning’s restaurants. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1936 and enrolled at the UW as a Music Major with teaching credentials. Following Jenny’s death in 1939, Bob moved to Minneapolis to help his brother finish high school and studied with Harold Ayres, the Concert Master of the then-Minneapolis Symphony.
Returning to Seattle, Bob recalled the day he heard the news of the Pearl Harbor tragedy – riding the ferry to his teaching job at Bremerton High School. This job granted him a deferred deployment after he enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1942. The deferred deployment permitted the “encounter” that would change his life from wandering musician to husband, father, teacher and conductor. The huge doors of the UW Music Department may still bear the marks of his “meeting up with” (read: knocking her off her feet) a pretty 20-year old Army General’s daughter, newly arrived in Seattle. The rest is history.
Following his marriage to Georgia Olmstead, Bob went overseas in the spring of 1945, serving as S/Sgt Bandmaster in the 2nd Armored Division in Germany. When the European war was declared over, Bob completed his deployment with the 1st Armored Division at the American University in Biarritz, France, studying conducting and orchestration.
After the war, Bob started over yet again as he joined his wife, built a GI-l house, pursued a M.A. and re-secured his chair in the Seattle Symphony. He played every show, ballet, park concert, opera, circus act and musical in town. 1947 was a great year. Dad welcomed a son, Robert Donn. He was then hired to build a music program in the Edmonds School District. 1949 began a 20-year commitment to the choir of First Christian Church on Capitol Hill. In 1951, daughter Carol arrived and Bob accepted the podium of the Bremerton Symphony, which he led for nine years. He continued to build the Edmonds School District music program with staff that became life-long friends and was contracted as District Music Coordinator in 1954, a position he held until his retirement.
Beginning in 1957, Bob was awarded Ford Foundation fellowship grants to study orchestral conducting with Richard Lert, the Conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic prior to the Nazi invasion of Austria. Bob would drive the Old Highway 99 straight through and back again from the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif., to spend two weeks, delighted to be head down in scores, but be back in time to march in the Sea Fair parades. At the end of the four grant years, he returned to play in the Asilomar orchestra with Donn, to participate in the training of other aspiring conductors.
Meanwhile the Bremerton ferry figured again in his life, as it was on a return trip that the Cascade Symphony was envisioned, to debut in 1962. The CSO was his passion and joy for 30 years. Remembering a conversation with Jascha Heifitz backstage while stationed in New York, Bob lived by what the virtuoso reminded him – “There will always be better fiddle players than you, lots worse, so diversify. Do all that music offers.”
The tag-team race of Bob’s musical life was tempered by Georgia and with each retirement, they were able to slow down and enjoy travel to England and Scandinavia to visit family, continental Europe, Australia for Donn and Evangeline’s marriage, and Hawaii to revisit Georgia’s childhood sites.
Thank you for encouraging Dad after Mom’s death in 2002. While he was a good sport about moving to Bellingham in 2008 at the age of 90, he missed the Edmonds area very much. He made many friends while in Bellingham and they provided him with a new life and outlook (however Mondays remained “rehearsal” nights – what else do people do on Mondays?) After a short and contented stay at a Bellingham Care facility, Dad “took the 3rd ending” (his euphemism) on May 11, 2012 at nearly 95.
He laid his baton down for the last time… but the music continues.
Donn and Evangeline Anderson