Barbara Jean from California

Ivey Abitz Bespoke Took my Breath Away

Fennefleur Frock in Garnet Striped Silk from the Winter 2018 Bespoke Clothing Collection by Ivey Abitz.
Fennefleur Frock in Garnet Striped Silk from the Winter 2018 Bespoke Clothing Collection, photographed just before shipping to its new home in California.

I just opened my boxes from the Fall / Winter Collection, and oh my goodness, each box was increasingly wonderful, from the ethereal Garnet Striped Silk at the top to the Floravinea Scarf, so delicate, to the truly delicious Pewter Mohair and Floral Voile, and then, like buried treasure, the Heraldry Frock with those amazing textured stripes, it took my breath away! I love that these clothes are such rich and royal colors and yet so light and airy. I am going to enjoy wearing them always!

You are certainly adding to the beauty and wonder that combats the weariness we might sometimes feel in the day to day routine. I know that my day is brightened whenever I wear my Ivey Abitz wardrobe, and this collection has outdone itself in soft-spoken brilliance that shines for all to see.

With Awe and Amazement,

Editor’s note: You can see a gallery of bespoke order images taken just before shipping. Visit the Ivey Abitz Orders Gallery.

Cynthia from Missouri

When the Car Hit Me – Recovery and Hopefulness in Ivey Abitz Bespoke

This is a real story by an Ivey Abitz client, Cynthia from Missouri.

This is the actual Camille Frock by Ivey Abitz that Cynthia was wearing when she was struck by a drunk driver. She has recovered from her injuries.
This is the actual Camille Frock Cynthia was wearing when she was struck by a drunk driver. She has recovered from her injuries.

2017 was, in many ways, a year that I was eager to see end, punctuated as it was in the middle – July 5 – by an accident that left me with a broken knee and torn ligaments. On that evening, I was hit by a drunk driver as I walked across the intersection of two very familiar streets in my hometown. The surreal occurrence set in motion a cascade of events, good and bad. As painful and disorienting as it was, I was lucky. I never hit my head; I never lost consciousness. I was also immediately helped by many kind strangers, who came to my aid: getting the license plate of the hit-and-run driver, calling 911, calling friends and my 14-year old son, holding my head, holding my hand and cheering me on.

Interestingly, earlier that very day I had also received four garments from Ivey Abitz, my first-ever order. I have been trying, for the past two years, to have far fewer items of clothing: to develop a “capsule” wardrobe, where the pieces are the best quality I can afford and are produced in a way that is ethical to both people and the environment. When I’d “discovered” Ivey Abitz, I felt pretty certain that these garments would meet all of my wardrobe aspirations. In fact, I had been so impressed and delighted by the beautiful pieces that arrived on July 5, that in the early afternoon, I had written an email to owner Cynthia:

“…I cannot imagine being more pleased. The craftsmanship, tailoring and design are exquisite… I immediately started trying things on, and have yet to take off the Camille Frock. It may sound odd to say it, but it may just change my life.”

Addy Frock in Lake Tufted Plaid Voile by Ivey Abitz
Addy Frock in Lake Tufted Plaid Voile by Ivey Abitz

Indeed, I was still wearing that Camille frock in Feather Vine Weave, when the car hit me that evening, a fact I was also compelled to convey to Cynthia, in an email just a few days later:

“…the very good news is that I am able to write to you to tell you this incredible story. I am thrilled to bits to be alive! The other good news is that, though the emergency medical team cut off my pants, I quickly undid the buttons and inner tie and convinced them to slide, not cut! my [Camille] frock off of me! Whew. Talk about wearing your garments doing everything and weaving your own story into them!”

And, I started to incorporate Ivey Abitz into my recovery plan:

“The not so good news is that I have a broken knee: lateral tibial plateau fracture with ligament damage, and will have to have two surgeries this summer. I will also likely have my left leg in a bulky brace for about 12 weeks! …I would love to order an Addy Frock or Baedeker Skirt to wear during this uncomfortable period.”

Finally, I added, “By the way, despite being hit by a Camry, flying over the top of a car and skidding across asphalt, I cannot find any damage to my lovely Camille Frock!”

Long weeks of recovery again brought frustrating challenges and welcome pleasures. Dismal, uncomfortable and inactive days were interspersed with loving and helpful friends and family members, whose value in my life came sharply into focus after such an unsettling event. And, my Addy Frock in Lake Tufted Plaid Voile, which Cynthia had so kindly and thoughtfully helped me select, arrived and was worn very happily throughout the summer. It made me feel a bit better whether at doctor appointments or just sitting in bed with my leg elevated.

Heraldry Duster Coat - one of Cynthia's "capsule" wardrobe pieces.
Heraldry Duster Coat – one of Cynthia’s “capsule” wardrobe pieces.

As the year ended, I completed physical therapy, and life was returning to a much more normal rhythm. I also added a few more Ivey Abitz pieces to my wardrobe for fall and winter. And indeed, I’m coming close to the capsule wardrobe I envisioned. I have a small but well-orchestrated collection of pieces that work beautifully together. And, of course, that Camille Frock in Feather Vine Weave is key player in the ensemble!

Limited Edition Holkham Hall Vest - one of Cynthia's "capsule" wardrobe pieces.
Limited Edition Holkham Hall Vest – one of Cynthia’s “capsule” wardrobe pieces.

Though I was certainly ready to close the books on one of my most challenging years to date, I am not without a profound appreciation for lessons I learned in 2017: that every moment is truly a precious gift, especially those moments spent with friends and family; that where possessions are concerned, quality is more important that quantity; and that it’s extremely gratifying to be able to incorporate your values into all aspects of your life – wardrobe included. I’m eager to find what 2018 has in store. I know that where Ivey Abitz is concerned, it will be beautiful.

Editor’s note: Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your harrowing yet hopeful story. May we all endure life’s challenges with such grace and courage.

Barbara Jean from California Client Stories

A Dream Fulfilled in Paris

By Barbara Jean in California

Barbara Jean in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, wearing Ivey Abitz.
Barbara Jean in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, wearing Ivey Abitz.

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Paris.

When I think of Paris, I find myself imagining all the creative and passionate souls that have walked these streets, sat in these cafes, and lived their dreams out in this city.

When you dream of something so intensely, it is no wonder that the Universe begins to arrange things to bring your dream into reality.

I knew that I would be traveling to Paris to walk those streets myself. What I didn’t know was that my perfect wardrobe for walking those streets would be created by another creative and passionate soul, our dear Cynthia, along with all of the talented hands and hearts at Ivey Abitz!

When I found these clothes, it was immediately apparent to me that they were clothes that were made to be worn, made to be walked in, and I could hardly wait to wear them for my grand adventure in Paris.

When my first package arrived, I had to quickly put my new ensemble on and go for a walk! How good they felt, so comfortable and yet elegant. Timeless, yes, that is the right word for these creations – timeless.

What stood out for me in my experience of wearing Ivey Abitz Bespoke clothing in Paris was a feeling of “traveling through time,” especially as I walked the avenues in the Pere Lachaise cemetery, seeking out the names of those creative and passionate souls that I had admired for their writing, their dancing, their bravery, their love of life. I felt as if I were stepping back in time, walking along with them. It was a truly wonderful moment in time, unrepeatable as moments like these are.

“We’ll always have Paris,” it is said. And so, as I wear my Ivey Abitz wardrobe here in my home in the United States of America, I know that the dream lives here in my own heart.

As I walk my dreams into reality, I will be wearing my Ivey Abitz clothing, traveling into the future while honoring the grace and courage of the past.

– Barbara Jean from California

Client Stories Liz in the South

An Ivey Abitz Wardrobe in the Beautiful South

By Liz in the Beautiful South

After years of perusing the Ivey Abitz website I am, at long last, an extremely happy new customer. I don’t know why it took me so long to place an order. Clothes are very important to me.

Liz shares part one of her Ivey Abitz wardrobe.
A glimpse at some of Liz’s new wardrobe from Ivey Abitz.

One of my cherished, early memories is of my grandmother making my kindergarten clothes. We went together to look at patterns and choose fabric. Then she created a one of a kind wardrobe that instantly made me the best dressed five year old in town.

Now, at age 59, I’m able to replicate that experience with Ivey Abitz. These are clothes for those of us not interested in participating in fast fashion, who pay no attention to trends, but instead build a consistent wardrobe and look over several seasons. These creations are precious and will last many years. The designs are timeless, the fabrics gorgeous, and the sewing exquisite.

Liz shares part two of her Ivey Abitz wardrobe.
A glimpse at some of Liz’s new wardrobe from Ivey Abitz.

Every time I wear one of my new garments, I notice yet another exceptional detail. And they are so comfortable I can forget I have them on, until one of my friends exclaims over a new jacket or dress and wants to know where on earth I found such a treasure. And then I direct them to the Ivey Abitz site.

I’m a convert!

-Liz in the Beautiful South

Client Stories Lavinia in Portland

Swathed and Comforted in Ivey Abitz Bespoke

By Lavinia in Portland

Wearing Ivey Abitz bespoke clothing after a double mastectomy.
Lavinia in Portland wearing her Ivey Abitz bespoke clothing.

Ivey Abitz first came across my radar in 2013, though I cannot remember how. I was instantly enchanted. I ordered one frock, and the ensuing winter storms on the east coast delayed the arrival of this frock well past the holiday season. Cynthia corresponded with me and was most concerned and reassuring. She treated me as if I had ordered an entire wardrobe when it was only one frock, on sale. Her courtesy impressed me. I loved my new frock. It was elegant, simplicity itself, and I found many ways to wear it.

In spring, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and though it was stage one, it was a particularly aggressive kind of tumor. It was profoundly shocking as I was propelled into the efficient machine of cancer treatment, beginning chemotherapy within two weeks, knowing surgery was the final outcome. I elected to have a double mastectomy because if the lymph came out clean, I would not have to undergo radiation. I didn’t want to mess around with this kind of aggressive cancer. I wanted it GONE. I elected to not have a reconstruction done. I would be flat chested. Yet I still wanted to feel feminine.

When summer arrived – hairless (me, not summer) – I found the IA summer sale email and began to dream. This body was undergoing many changes and sensations. I dreamt of a new body. I dreamt of a look that would be sensual, feminine, dignified, playful, gamine. I thought about what excited me and knew that the feel of clothes, the touch of fabrics, was as important as the flow and line. I placed an order, then another, and another, and Cynthia and I began a dialogue. It felt so good to know someone was on the other side dreaming and creating and making these clothes – someone with an aesthetic similar to mine, with a passion for beauty, elegance, and quality.

When Cynthia invited me write a piece for the Ivey Abitz blog, I was thrilled. I’ve been a lover of clothing and costumes all my life, and I know I am not alone. Sometimes I feel conflicted about this passion. Yet, as we make major life changes, we humans, in all cultures I can think of, invariably wear some special and particular clothing to mark the occasion. Christenings. Baptisms. First communions. First day of school. Graduation. Marriage. Taking vows. We mark these occasions with special garments. In the Jewish tradition, there’s even a blessing you say when you don a new garment. Clothes are ornaments of the human body. They can be playful, expressive, freeing, restrictive, sensual, powerful, symbolic. They can evoke an entire life, allowing one to capture feelings difficult to express. Clothing solicits our imagination and invites us to invent ourselves again and again.

I wanted to reinvent a more spacious self, braver in being willing to wear what pleased me, rather than what was considered “hip.” I wanted my clothing to move and be moving. Slipping my Ivey Abitz Lake Plaid frock over my head and shoulders felt like I was sliding into a pool of cool water. The cloth moved as I moved, making a swishy sound. When I wear it, I am transported to a green glade. In it, I walk with sunlight on my shoulders, even in our Portland rain. I found the Cobblestone Pond gauzy cotton incredibly soothing on my recently surgically altered chest. I feel swathed and comforted. I love how the Tilbrook and Hambledon dusters flutter around my legs. It makes wearing jeans feel impoverishing by comparison. I combine these garments with elements from my current wardrobe, like boots and sweaters.

It is so delightful to slip on such lovely clothing knowing the designs and fabrics are quite unique. I feel spacious when I wear these garments. And I frequently experience a kind of synesthesia, where sounds, sensations, scents, and colors frolic in my consciousness. Here’s a little of what I experience when I wear Ivey Abitz designs: Celtic music, sun streaming through leaves just so, susurration of wind and leaves, fragrant breezes. People respond to these looks. There is a heightened sensation that accompanies the wearing of Ivey Abitz. I highly recommend it.

Cheryl in California Client Stories

Ivey Abitz in Paris

Cheryl wearing her Ivey Abitz Evie Frock, Cilla Slip Frock, and Wildefield Sash in Paris.
Cheryl wearing her Ivey Abitz Evie Frock, Cilla Slip Frock, and Wildefield Sash in Paris.

Almost two years ago, I was having a lazy afternoon messing around on Pinterest when I came across a picture of an Ivey Abitz creation. Needless to say, the love affair began. So, when I had the opportunity to spend the month of July in Paris I knew Ivey Abitz was coming along with me!

As soon as the Spring/Summer 2014 Collection debuted I was glued to my iPad assembling my wardrobe for my trip. French weather in July can be a little tricky, so I needed garments that would work for both cool, rainy weather and hot, humid weather.

Of course, Ivey Abitz delivered on all counts. The pond washed gauzes, beautifully soft voiles and scrims, beach grass florals, the linens…oh my gosh, somebody stop me.

Let the shopping begin.

One of the best things about Ivey Abitz is the owner/designer Cynthia. The customer service she provides is beyond compare. Whenever I had any questions regarding any of my orders I could always expect a prompt response that was thoughtful and reassuring. I’m one of those late night online shoppers and up until about 6 weeks before I left I was still making purchases. Every dress, camisole, skirt, pant and sash that I ordered arrived in time for my trip. Cynthia’s expertise in choosing fabrics that mix and match so well that I was able to put together a different look almost everyday of my trip.

And don’t get me started on the quality of their work–the wonderfully finished seams, antique buttons. I was even able to add/subtract an inch with custom tailoring when needed.

One of the things I dislike about traveling is packing. Not this trip. I think I was as excited to wear my new clothes as I was to be in Paris. The whole experience was fantastic!

Thank you again, Ivey Abitz, for making me feel beautiful and unique on my adventure to France. I look forward to many more!!

~ Cheryl from California

Frances from California

Under Fire in a War Zone Looking at Ivey Abitz

by Frances from California

Ivey Abitz design worn by social scientist in Afghanistan.
Frances in Afghanistan wearing her Clotaire Shirt Jacket by Ivey Abitz.

I first discovered Ivey Abitz clothing on my last night of vacation in Paris. I’d spent nearly two weeks there absorbing art, quality design, and craftsmanship. The next day I would board a flight back to Afghanistan, where I had spent the previous 14 months. I worked and lived in southern Afghanistan, in Helmand province, the most violent in the country.

I don’t remember how I found the website, but sitting there in Paris on my last night of leave, I discovered this beautiful clothing that met all my criteria: quality craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and custom made. I am myself a weaver and sewer, and while not nearly as talented as Ivey Abitz, I know enough to identify quality when I find it. It was a fit.

Knowing that I would not have reliable internet for long, I placed an order.

Upon returning to Helmand, Cynthia Ivey Abitz and I struck up an occasional conversation about our mutual admiration for craft and quality. I was back for six more months of living and working in a war zone.

I cannot overstate how much it meant to have a distraction from the violence around me. I served with the British Army, and while our area of Afghanistan was small, we had a disproportionately high amount of casualties compared with the rest of the country. Our task was daunting.

Our conditions were austere to say the least! I lived in a tent with seven other people; we endured a summer and winter with no climate control. However, the most pressing concern there was the fact that we lived in a war zone. Internet access was rare, but when available I went right to the Ivey Abitz site and just looked at beautiful things, and imagined what my world would be like when I was home. There was no better therapy than distraction for me.

Toward the end of my deployment the Afghan phone carrier I had offered very slow 3G. One day our base took indirect fire, where people lob ordnance into where we live. We put on our heavy body armor and headed for the shelters. I sat in a concrete bunker wearing a flack jacket and helmet and waited for pages to slowly load on my phone. Coincidently, that day was the very day IA’s spring 2013 line premiered, and I wasn’t going to miss out on making a mental list of new items to contemplate.

Needless to say, I made my list, placed an order, and by the time I returned home I had boxes of beautiful clothing waiting for me. I love every item I have, and am grateful to Cynthia for providing me with plenty of good things to think about while I was in Afghanistan.

Blanchefleur Duster Coat and Palliser Jacket over the Everett Frock
Frances in the Blanchefleur Duster Coat and Palliser Jacket over the Everett Frock on her return home to California.
Client Stories Lynn-Jane from Washington DC

Traipsing Round the World in My Traipse Shirt

Traipse Shirt by Ivey Abitz
Traipse Shirt by Ivey Abitz

I love my Traipse shirt and its beautiful fabric of tiny knitted flowers (look closely) in a beautiful, rich black colour. It is so soft and cuddly.

It is the perfect piece to be wearing when one is visiting cuddly bears! More on the Traipse shirt in a moment. But first some background on the cuddly bears.

This May, I once again narrated a children’s show for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. These concerts are for the youngest members of the NSO audience. (“Is there a concert for me? I’m only three!”)

The concerts are called “Teddy Bear Concerts” and the children are allowed to bring their stuffies with them. There is also an instrument “petting zoo” before the show begins, with musical instruments for the audience to play, touch, and hear. A very nifty idea, I think.

Teddy Bear Concerts come in differing programs but I like to think that our program is special, for it is the only one about bears! Through poetry, music, and visuals, we visit different bears in their native countries. The music illustrates the country. For example, “Waltzing Matilda “ represents Australia and “Reel O’ Tolloch” represents Scotland. We visit 6 countries and I, as the storyteller, use accents from each country for the poetry.

Huge pictures of the bears we are visiting are revealed as we arrive in Scotland, Peru, USA, the Arctic Circle, Bulgaria, Australia, China, and even outer space for a robot-like space bear!

The wonderful thing about this concert is that it appeals on many levels. Adults find it fascinating to learn that all the bears that we see through the program are endangered, and that there is only one bear native to South America – the Spectacled Bear. We know that Koalas are marsupials and not bears, but we don’t let too many facts spoil the image of those lovely creatures as the musicians play “Matilda” and we sing along!

I love doing these shows…so much fun! We worked very hard to make it fun and educational, and the audiences have truly enjoyed it. We did it for the first time last year at the Kennedy Center, took it on tour twice, and then once again this year at the Kennedy Center. There is talk of future performances and all of the concerts have, thus far, sold out!

It is a pleasure to bring music to children. Some even get up and dance. We go with the flow, and the musicians are a delight to work with as are our audiences. Some of the children who have heard this concert when we are on tour have never heard live music before (please see my previous blog entries).

So, where does my Traipse Shirt come in?

The first year at the Kennedy Center, I wore my ever favourite Solomon Jacket in silk weave with a black skirt. [See Lynn-Jane’s bloggings from her 2010 NSO tour.] This year for the tour and the four shows in D.C., I wanted something new from the wonderful IA collection. I had to have a new piece that would travel easily and be easy to move and dance in.

Once again, I asked Cynthia’s advice, and, as usual, her suggestion was perfect. We decided that MY Traipse would be more of a jumper. That is one of the lovely things about IA designs: the flexibility and collaboration of CIA (Cynthia) and the patron. CIA? Isn’t that funny? I call her “Couturier Cynthia Ivey-Abitz.”

At my request, her seamstress made the shirt extra large and loose. I could roll up the sleeves for our “trek,” and I wore it for all four concerts and for a few concerts on tour. It worked beautifully. Cozy, comfortable and beautiful. A lovely black knit that looked perfect on stage!

A couple of the musicians remarked that they had not noticed the pattern on the weave until they saw the shirt closer, and that it was a perfect choice, as most of their wardrobe was in blacks and greys with touches of colour. My Scottish pin of feathers and thistle added the perfect bit of colour to my shirt/ sweater and was an appropriate piece for visiting Scotland.

So, that is how I “traipsed” around the world with CIA. Not undercover, but in the Family Theatre at the Kennedy Center. What a joy!

I leave you with a few lines of the poetry from the show. Adding a bit of a Chinese inflection (little ears cannot hear subtle differences in accents and there are so many in the show, thus I suggest them only). Lots of accent work and listening to tapes as I had to “get it right.” What more could one ask for? Great work, challenging work, neat stuff for children, super audiences, and a lovely new sweater.

Have you ever seen a bear so cute?
He lives in China – a far commute.
You may take a little snooze,
While pandas play in tall bamboo!

My thanks to Paula for the lovely poetry and my colleagues, Lewis, Elizabeth, Paula, and Joe for the wonderful music.


Lynn-Jane Foreman
Actor/ voicework

Client Stories Lynn-Jane from Washington DC

In Shock that I Went to a MALL

by Lynn-Jane of Washington, D.C., an actor on tour with the National Symphony Orchestra wearing Ivey Abitz.
Writing 3 of 3

Arrived in Charleston at 2 PM. Charleston is the capital of W.Va., and the city is quite beautiful…again, on a river. We are in the “downtown area” across the street from a MALL! SO funny, I never go to malls, but there I was, along with at least half of the NSO.

The orchestra arrived on the buses at 2:30PM. Rooms were not ready. For us civilians it’s not usually a problem, but for tired musicians who have a concert tonight at 8PM, it is a catastrophe! Lewis and I arrived at the hotel before the rest of the crew because we had the car.

Tonight’s concert was another “run-out,” meaning the NSO boards yet another bus to go out to Huntington. So, the buses left at 6PM in order to get to the hall for “half hour call.” Thus, everyone was at the mall, looking for something to eat until the rooms were ready for changing, napping or unpacking concert clothing.

Never knew a MALL could be such fun, and the Borders had British magazines! I cannot find UK magazines near me… it was actually a nice MALL (as far as MALLS go). Please forgive the capital letters of MALL — I am still in shock that I went to a MALL. It’s online ordering for me!

While at the MALL, we noticed that most people were wearing black ribbons in memory of the Big Branch Mine disaster. The mine is about 20 minutes from here. All talk today was about the mine.

People here are SO friendly, and when they find out that we are with the NSO, the hospitality is extraordinary. The concert last night was sold out, and the sponsor of the concert (a glass factory owner) gave each musician a glass paperweight and each Maestro a piece of art glass. The staff received a gift as well.

The concerts in Wheeling were sparsly attended as the tickets were $25. The musicans thought that the concerts should be PWYC or free, but the concert presenters did not agree. Last night and tonight were SOLD OUT with standing room only.

Yet, there was no reception for our cell phones in Morgantown. According to the TV reports, when the Red Cross came in to help with the mine explosion, they were flummoxed to find that there were no cell phones and only “dial up service” (whatever that means). Not many extremes here. HA!

Tomorrow is a concert matinee in Princeton and 3 outreach programs including a chamber concert and a small group at an assisted living facility.

On Monday, there is a children’s concert at 10. My husband, Lewis, has a “sectional coaching session” in CLAY county and then we have another “Teddy Bear” concert at 2! There are 9 outreach programs on Monday, including string coaching, in-school ensembles, conducting coaching etc.

The NSO provides everyone with a book for each tour, telling us where we are to be every minute of the day — what time the luggage needs to be in the lobby, what time the buses leave, dress for day and evening concerts, what hotel facilities are available, how long it takes to get to each place, etc., etc. CANNOT do without “the book”….I have forgotten where we are at times…think how the musicians feel?

When we finally got to our room here in Charleston (our last hotel) I was sick to learn of my leaving my Scottish feather pin (on my sweater/ costume for the concert on Monday and my slip) at the last hotel…remember what I said about unpacking? I unpacked these things and put them aside to keep my “wardrobe” together for the concert. Well, I left them, and we did not have the time to drive back to Morgantown. The pin was from Scotland (we go to Scotland in the concert). Needless to say, there was not another at the MALL. Oh well. I guess I am officially initiated into the NSO tour lore!

The audiences have been visably moved when the NSO plays Bach’s “Air on the G String” in memory of the miners…the concert hall is so quiet, no coughing or shuffling… just a collective sigh and a great appreciation of the NSO remembering this tragedy; it happened on the first day of the tour. Some of the musicians wanted to go to Big Branch to play but it could not be arranged. I was astonished to hear that the miner families brought food to the rescue workers, the press, and the Red Cross. Miners are close-knit — families that have been miners for years. The sad truth is that there are few union mines, and mining is the only work available. As a friend of mine said, “Don’t want to go to the mines? Then don’t, but do not expect to find other work in the area that will support a family.” SO very sad and a real wake up call for me.

We leave W.Va. on Tuesday, after the final concert in Clay. It has been a remarkable experience.

I know I have said it over and over, but I have been so taken about by the people of W.Va. that I have met. Absolutely kind. Many have told me that the “hick” status is hurtful and that they are aware of the poorness of the western regions of the state. They may be desperate, but from what I have seen, they are proud and kind.

If only we spent our tax dollars on places like W.Va. and New Orleans and not on wasteful things…. I would rather my tax dollars go for domestic social programs than wars etc. Oh well, not my world…. the coal and petroleum lobbies control. In Europe, there are no lobbbyists, so in Norway (where they drill their own oil) fuel could cost 25 cents per liter, but the people voted to let petrol cost 7$ per gallon, to pay for social programs! They voted in a referendum…. can you imagine this in W.Va. or America? I can only hope that Mr. Obama goes after the mine lobbyists and the oil lobbists…. never happen? I can only hope. We still have the lowest prices on fuel in the world. I have learned a lot in W.Va., and I am so grateful to have been a part of this tour.

This BLOG will be the last as the next 2 days do not provide me with any free time…. so, thanks for listening, and if you ever get the chance to come to the western parts of W.Va., do.  AND I do not mean the Greenbrier….

We got another message from the teachers in Phillipi, thanking us and asking us to return….I hope that we can.

Editor’s note: For more about the tour, see the tour blog of Emil de Cou,  Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra
Client Stories Lynn-Jane from Washington DC

How about a dance from West VA

by Lynn-Jane Foreman, an actor on tour with the National Symphony Orchestra wearing Ivey Abitz.
Writing Two

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is playing tonight in Glenville. Then, we are all up in the a.m. to travel to Charleston, about 2 hours away. Then, tomorrow night a concert in Roanoke, W.Va. Children’s concerts on Sunday and Monday. Thank goodness, not at 9:30 a.m.

One or two nights in each hotel does not really allow unpacking or relaxing or siteseeing or “having fun.” There are receptions for us, but now I understand why most of the musicians and staff come home and go directly to bed. I am exhausted, and I am not playing each night.

I remember when my husband and I first got married. I thought touring (as do many others) was glamourous, especially overseas. But the first time I went to Europe with the NSO, we did 37 cities in 41 days, two days off at the beginning of the tour, and two days off the entire time we were away. People were tense: reviews, food, taking care of instruments, sickness, etc. Although I was thrilled to be there, it was frustrating to not be able to enjoy all of it. And we thought those ballet tours were hard! When we go to just one country, it is not so hard.

“American Residencies”…it is estimated that 400,000 people have heard music through the NSO residencies, and there has been a residency each year since 1992.

If I was queen and this was my world, I would make sure that children got music, art, and health care and not wars and politics. Not just children, but all people.

The NSO offered to do a benefit concert for the miners, but people here have little money to spare, so they are playing a special piece at each concert in remembrance of the miners that recently died. Charleston (tomorrow) is about 10 miles from the mine that exploded.

The cultural committee of W.Va. is holding a supper for us tonight with an Appalachain buffet and with traditional mountain music. Did you know they award a music degree from U. of W.Va. with a major in bluegrass? AND how similar (of course, look who settled W.Va. – Scots Irish) to the jigs and tunes we have in our show. In fact, we changed a line in the show from “how about a dance from the USA” to “how about a dance from West V-A” The audience loved it – and I did too!

XXX from the freezing West Virginia mountains…..


NSO tour as a “guest artist”