Roger Wilhelm

News and views

You may see less arts coverage in the Democrat and Chronicle. The daily paper’s classical music, jazz and dance reporter and critic, Anna Reguero, is leaving to pursue her doctorate in musicology.  (You can hear our conversation about changes she’s seen in Rochester by clicking here.)  She will not be replaced.  In a city with a widespread affinity for music of all kinds, the decision by Rochester’s daily paper to not hire a new music writer is troubling but not surprising.

A conductor's last lark

Singers and audience members expressed mixed emotions before Madrigalia’s final concert of the season. It was the last one conducted by the choral group’s long-time music director, Roger Wilhelm. He received a standing ovation before anyone sang a note.

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More thoughts on singing

In the middle of the concert, I suddenly realized I had no idea what I was singing. “Tu devicto mortis aculeo.” Activate dimly-remembered high school Latin. “Mortis.” That’s death. OK. That’s sad. But what if it’s victory over death or something? I study the conductor for clues. Normally leaning forward with a look of hawkish concentration, he’s tilted back on his heels, torso curved, mouth open, eyes half-closed. He looks enraptured, like the sound is a glittery syrup filling his spinal column. Arms swirl. No clues there. I slice a look to the tenors for help. Andy and Dennis are leaning forward, singing intently, expressions neutral. I reset my features and turn the page of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. I’m blanking out.

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Heartbreak

When Beth Wilhelm awoke on the morning of Christmas Eve, her husband’s breathing sounded funny. “I tried shaking him awake, but he didn’t respond,” she said. “He was turning gray.”

Panicked, Beth called 9-1-1 and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Soon, paramedics arrived to take Roger Wilhelm to Strong Memorial hospital.

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Crystal ball

Happy New Year! Our Distinguished Committee on Future Delights presents these cultural events for you to look forward to in 2008:

JANUARY

You don’t even have to leave the house. Tonight (January 2nd) at 8:00 p.m., hear the final broadcast concert from the 2006-2007 season of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on Classical 91.5 FM (or streamed at wxxi.org.) Christopher Seaman conducts Pictures at an Exhibition.

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News of Roger Wilhelm, director of Madrigalia

The former Music Director of the Rochester Oratorio Society, Roger Wilhelm, had a very serious heart attack during the early hours of Christmas Eve morning. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and was placed in a drug-induced coma for 48 hours. As of today, he was taken out of the coma and has had a miraculous improvement and is now alert and able to speak.

Wilhelm is currently serving in his last season as Music Director of Madrigalia.

His family asks for prayers – no visitors, no flowers. If you wish to send greetings, please send to Roger’s home address: Roger Wilhelm, 4280 East Ave. Rochester , NY 14618.

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