I never met Guy Saint-Clair. But I wish I had.
The gregarious founder of the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra passed away suddenly on Wednesday, April 7, a day before he was to perform his compositions with the orchestra. The show was going to have a French theme, but instead became a de facto tribute to the popular maestro. His piano remained on stage, silent in tribute to him, adorned simply with a framed picture and a bouquet of roses.
I wish I’d met Guy Saint-Clair.
We would’ve had much in common. His wife, Audrey Sanders, was the other half of their artistic life together, a role I enthusiastically accept with my wife, Karen, who has played the oboe since she was a child. Until recent years, she was always part of some professional group, whether a local symphony or a theater troupe. Art has always filled our lives, as I’m sure it did in the Saint-Clair home. I’m sure that I would’ve had much to say to Guy.
But as the editor of a local lifestyle publication, I get to meet a lot of people I never actually get to meet. Confused? Let me explain.
Just two issues ago, I assigned Associate Editor Kristina Kolesa to visit Guy and Audrey in their Lake County home for a short, feature story in the March issue. She returned with a well-written Q&A from the gracious couple. She told me that the two were “warm, friendly, and unassuming” and that Guy was “elegant and unpretentious.” I would’ve been able to tell, though, even if she hadn’t said a thing because I could see the couple’s personalities in every quoted line.
In retrospect, I’m glad I made the assignment, only I do wish we’d done one much sooner. You see, as the editor, I work from a wish list of story ideas and names sometimes float from the bottom to the top—or stay in limbo somewhere in the middle. For some reason, though, Guy’s name was on my mind earlier this year when I was thinking about the issues that were ahead on the schedule.
After the short piece ran, we received many nice comments from our appreciative readers, many of whom are probably involved with the orchestra in some way or another as ticket-holders or volunteers. In fact, one appears in our Mailbox section in the pages to come.
And then we all heard the news.
In the short term, Guy’s unexpected passing creates a gaping hole in the lives of one family. However, over the long term, Guy’s legacy will endure. Lake County now has a first-class orchestra all its own—not Orlando’s, not Ocala’s, not Daytona’s, but right here in our backyard. Every note lovingly re-created from one of mankind’s time-tested masterpieces by Mozart, Beethoven, or Tchaikovsky will be heard because of one person’s dedication, passion, and vision to the needs of our local arts scene.
And because of that, we’ve all met Guy Saint-Clair.
All my best,
Want To Know More?
The best way to honor Guy would be to hear a live performance from the orchestra he founded with his wife, Audrey Sanders. Call (352) 589-1500 to get tickets for the concerts on May 5-6 or to order season tickets for 2010-2011.