Musicians from the University of Maine honored two great minds Monday night. In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the school’s Oratorio Society performed at Hampden Academy. The evening was extra special for those on stage, as they said goodbye to a friend and mentor.
Professor Ludlow Hallman didn’t expect to spend much time in Orono. “Life is kind of what happens to you while you’re planning life. I’ve just continued to find new things to do here,” said Hallman, sitting in a rehearsal room on campus.
Since 1970, he’s been an advocate for the arts. Lud has seen himself at the helm of the University Orchestra and Oratorio Society, even the music department itself.
“I guess I’ve been so busy I didn’t have enough time to really figure out how to leave,” said Hallman. But the maestro always made time for students. They say he’s amplified their ability more than they ever expected.
Practicing with an undergraduate student last week, he said to her, “When I am not continuing to ride you, you go back to your old habits.” She laughed and tried again.
“When you get around Lud and he starts talking about music or performing music, he makes you emotional because he gets emotional,” said the student, Molly Abrams.
“I’ve never seen anyone carry such a strong relationship to the music that he’s performing. He knows everything about the composer. He knows everything about the piece, when it was written,” said former student Justin Zang.
The message of Monday’s concert was one of comfort for those “left behind” after a death or departure. “Braham’s Requiem” is an appropriate selection for Lud. The longtime educator is retiring.
“This is a limited engagement, this thing called life. So I guess I’ve reached the point where it seems like this is a good time to say goodbye and try something different,” said Hallman.
“He had created an environment in which all the good things that he worked for his entire life will continue. So I think what he has done has a legacy,” said longtime colleague Anatole Wieck.
Hallman will spend the first year of his retirement in Italy. His former coworkers invite him to return as a guest and collaborate on future projects.