by Margaret Bell
It’s 8:00 on a Tuesday night. Just a normal weekday night for most but not for the Rush family. Jeanette and Victor Rush’s oldest daughter Kymberli Joye performed live yesterday on national television as a contestant on The Voice. Tonight they find out if she advances further in the competition. But they’re not at a viewing party, they’re in Peabody’s Friedberg Hall waiting for their son Jonathan, a master’s conducting student, to appear onstage to lead the final movement of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D major in the Peabody Conductors’ Orchestra concert. The Rushes, who have traveled to Baltimore from Connecticut, are doing their best to support two of their three children in big moments of their musical careers at precisely the same time.
Kayla, the youngest sibling, is sitting in Friedberg with her mother as they surreptitiously try to watch The Voice on the NBC app on their iPad in the dark. Jeanette has her earbuds in for updates, as to not disturb the audience in the hall. At exactly 8:00 pm, when The Voice starts, Jonathan walks out on stage with two other conductors – all three will lead different movements of the symphony. They take a bow, and Jonathan takes a seat in the first row of the theater in front of his family – more aunts, uncles, and cousins have joined his immediate family. Less than five minutes later, he hears a whispered “Yes!” behind him. He turns to see his family beaming, with huge smiles and giving a thumbs up. He knows Kimberly Joy was “saved by America” and is still in competition. He says later, “It helped all my nerves go away, and then I was ready to kill it.” At 8:30 pm, he approaches the podium to lead the 50-member orchestra in the vigorous final movement with his family applauding and cheering. His smile is wide, his movements are enthusiastic, and he’s full of energy.
Shortly after the concert, the conducting students come out in the audience. They take photos together and Victor jumps into a photo with his son and fellow conductor Hilo Carriel. He says he wants that photo for when they’re both famous one day. When he sees his family, he says, “So Kym made it!” He and his mother hug in joy. Jeanette says, “We’re so proud of all our kids.”
The students and Rush’s family are surrounded by a film camera, a camera operator, a sound operator with a boom mike, and the director of a documentary on Jonathan’s teacher and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Music Director Marin Alsop. A film in which Jonathan will be prominently featured. As he’s being interviewed by the film crew, the rest of his family is watching the video of his sister in the background.
Just a normal Tuesday night. The next day, the Rushes are driving Jonathan to the JFK airport in New York for his first trip out of the country. He’s traveling to Nairobi to conduct the first performance of The Nutcracker in Kenya – on just another regular Wednesday.