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Keith Thompson is a gem. All of you in the audience have known this for years, I know, and I found out what an amazing musician and human being he was in just the same way most of you have, through his incredible gift to our community that takes place just across the way in Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, The Composer’s Showcase.

During my first season with the LVP, many musicians in the orchestra mentioned two local shows that I needed to see: Sante Fe and The Fat City Horns, and the Composer’s Showcase. This intrigued me because, for those of you in the audience that don’t yet know me, no matter where I go, I have an obsession with all things local. Local restaurants, local coffee shops, local bookstores. If I’m hungry in a foreign country, I just walk down a busy street, find a restaurant where all the locals hang out, and ask for the most popular dish. No guidebook or app needed, thank you very much!

The Composer’s Showcase is like that little neighborhood restaurant that’s so good, you almost don’t want to tell your friends about it, for fear that you might not get your favorite table anymore. Like you, my first reaction was, “10:30pm……on a Wednesday?!” As luck would have it, though, I had a rehearsal ending at 9:30 here in Reynolds Hall on a…Wednesday night! Over the next two years I became an ardent fan and would go whenever my schedule would permit. What one hears at these shows is creativity in its unadulterated, raw state and it quickly became a wonderful tonic for me. I’d spend the earlier part of those Wednesday evenings trying to figure out what some dead composer was trying to say in his music from 150 years ago, then I’d go over to the Composer’s Showcase to hear something that had been written perhaps earlier that day. Perspective.

About a year and a half ago, I woke up with the hair-brained idea of bringing the Composer’s Showcase into Reynolds Hall, backed by the Las Vegas Philharmonic. When Keith and I first met over croissants and coffee at my favorite — local — cafe, I don’t think he really believed me. After a couple of reassuring emails that either convinced him that I was crazy enough to do it, or just plain crazy, Keith has created a show for you of amazing variety and depth. You’ll see and hear the best of what Vegas was, is, and will be for years to come.

I think that if there’s one thing that the classical music world needs to constantly remind itself of, it’s that while it’s ok to be the world’s best cover band, there’s nothing that beats an original song.