BEMIDJI - One of the first applicants to receive a fellowship from Region 2 Arts Council/McKnight Career Development Fellowship was Beverly Everett, musical director of the Bemidji and Bismark-Mandan (N.D.) Symphony Orchestras.
A new initiative by the arts council was the implementation of a mid-career fellowship grant, an idea first discussed and designed by a council subcommittee and then approved by the entire board.
Everett was one of two recipients in that first grant round in 2011 and she will be talking about her venture at 7 p.m. July 19 at the First Lutheran Church in Baudette.
In applying for the fellowship, Everett said one of the goals would be to study with a female conductor in a field dominated by men.
"I specifically chose to shadow Maestro JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Symphony in Belfast, Ireland," Everett said.
"In addition to being one of the great conductors of our time, JoAnn, quite simply is one of the most gracious people I have ever met. The experience exceeded my goals and expectations to such a great extend it is almost hard to describe."
Everett used the grant to underwrite expenses for two trips each to Buffalo, New York and Norfolk, Va.
In Virginia she was able to hear and experience a symphony by her favorite composer, Gustav Mahler, with Symphony No. 8, subtitled "Symphony of a Thousand." It is not often performed because of the large number of singers and musicians it requires. Falletta was able to assemble a chorus of 500 singers, a 100-plus member orchestra and eight soloists for a concert as part of the Virginia Arts Festival.
Another event Everett attended was Mahler's Third Symphony with Falletta as conductor.
"To hear the Third done well is a deep, spiritual experience and it was this in Buffalo," said Everett. "This piece truly showed JoAnn's artistry, power and strength as a conductor."
Everett says that she has found a true mentor in Falletta and a friend who generously shared her knowledge and professional relationships.
"The fellowship may have had a specific beginning and ending time, but what I learned and the friendships I made, will be with me forever," Everett said. "I know that I am a truly changed as a person, musician and leader because of this."