“How do you celebrate the 90th birthday of a bassoonist who has been playing that ungainly-looking instrument for nearly 80 of his years?” writes Steve Siegel in Thursday’s (1/17) Morning Call (Allentown, PA). “You get at least a dozen other bassoonists to join him in a concert. That was the birthday wish of Milton Focht, pretty much the Dean of Bassoonists of the Lehigh Valley, who … is a veteran player of the Allentown Band and Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Focht turned 90 on Sunday, and to celebrate he invited former students and colleagues to join him … in sort of a bassoon jamboree…. The program featured bassoon trios and quartets, and covered a variety of musical ground, from Mozart and Wagner to rags by Scott Joplin, Focht’s own arrangement of ‘Yankee Doodle’ and … of course, there was some Sousa. ‘You’ve got to finish a concert with Sousa,’ Focht says…. George Fennell, conductor of the Bethlehem American Legion Band, directed the group…. Focht joined the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in 1953, … became principal bassoon two years later, and stayed with the orchestra until 2003. There is hardly a bassoonist in the area who has not had Focht as an instructor.”

Posted January 17, 2019