Platinum Love Story – A 3 Year Circle Completes

Rach 2 Rings.jpg

by Eugene Lee - Chair, PSO Marketing Committee & Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors

There is an exciting buzz in the air as Peninsula Symphony is about to open our Platinum 70th Season, featuring the return of Soyeon Kate Lee performing the Grieg Piano Concerto.  The program – also featuring Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Prelude – is shaping up to be a blockbuster program.

Why do we go to live performances? There are so many reasons – there’s a freshness to each performance, the multisensory experience is so much more immersive than listening to a recording, and it’s acoustically richer.  The energy of the audience melds with the energy of the performers.  And for many of us, it’s a fun “get out of the house” change of pace.

I think it’s also a real social experience.  It’s not only a “date night” for many, but I personally enjoy seeing many people chatting in the lobby before the concerts or during intermission, catching up with other friends and talking about the music, their families and friends, and life in general.

But this is a love story that started serendipitously 3 years ago.

In preparation for Soyeon Kate Lee’s debut with PSO (featuring Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 aka “Rach 2”), we on the Marketing Committee decided to experiment with a pre-concert dinner event.  We got a semi-private room at Merlion restaurant near Flint Center, and were pleased at the turnout of about 14 people.  Some who came were old friends, but several were first timers to the PSO.

One of the newcomers was a young woman named Jingyi who had just moved to the Bay Area, had gotten exposed to classical music concerts while a grad student, and discovered us through the “Peninsula Classical Music Meetup” group we had created on Meetup.com.  My wife and I instantly took a liking to her and invited her to ride with us on the short drive to Flint Center.

Separately, I had reached out to the Harvard Club of San Francisco and they had sent out a promotion to their group.  When we arrived at Flint Center we found a few Harvard alums seated in the row ahead of us, one of whom was a super nice guy named Jeff, who also had come by himself.

My wife, who is a consummate “connector”, spontaneously introduced Jingyi and Jeff to each other.  I was preoccupied with last minute details, plus I admit to thinking “there she goes again”, and that nothing would come from such a random introduction.  We must have invited both Jeff and Jingyi to the post-concert reception, but we couldn’t stay long, and we had to take Jingyi back to her car at Merlion. 

We hadn’t seen or communicated with either of them since.  Then out of nowhere my wife and I received an email 2 months ago with the subject line “A love story long overdue”.  Jingyi and Jeff are getting married!  They specifically chose their date to be November 1, which is 3 years to the day of their first date after the concert.

The photo above is of their wedding rings, which they chose to engrave with “Rach 2” as a perpetual reminder of the concert that brought them together.  My face lights up in a big smile whenever I look at their rings!

They will be attending the opening concert at Heritage Theatre, and all of us (including Kate Lee) are looking forward to seeing them and congratulating them on their impending nuptials.

My takeaway and encouragement to all of us: Concerts are shared experiences – let’s all embrace the opportunity to be curious about our concert neighbors, be welcoming to first timers, and connect with new people.  I look forward to meeting you soon – meet me in the lobby to say hello, or connect with our Meetup group at https://www.meetup.com/Peninsula-Classical-Music-Meetup/.