Jul 27, 2009 Miranda L. Pennock Uncategorized
Clouds looming overhead and the air thick with humidity mingled with the sounds of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra made for a beautiful Skaneateles summer evening.
Music lovers of all ages began wandering into the Austin Park Pavilion shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday July 22 in search of the best seats to watch and listen to the orchestra, while others sought out the “instrument petting zoo.”
Hosted annually by the Skaneateles Music Guild, the free concert is somewhat a kick off to the musical season in the lakeside community. Bookended by the Skaneateles Arts Council gala and the Skaneateles Festival, the evening with the SSO offers mid-summer musical enrichment for everyone.
“There are so many arts and music lovers in Skaneateles,” said Susanne Guske, co-president of the Skaneateles Music Guild. “I think they’re all nicely related. We are really lucky.”
“Summertime with the Syracuse Symphony” offers a free concert for communities and each so far has been graced with an evening of light classics, pops and patriotic favorites with Principal Pops Conductor Ron Spigelman at the helm.
According to Guske, if concert-goers were paying for the seats they had on Wednesday, they might have been paying upward of $80 each at the Civic Center.
But, “here you can be within spitting distance for free,” she said.
The guild first became involved with the Syracuse symphony when it was just getting started and was one of several formed to offer support for the orchestra.
Now the local guild’s mission is to support music education in the school and offers scholarships to students, brings the SSO into the school each year and donates funds for much-needed instruments, equipment and other opportunities.
Prior to the orchestra taking the stage Guske announced this year’s scholarship winners — Dana DeSantis for instrumental and Jonathan Mushock for vocal. Both are 2009 graduates of Skaneateles High School.
The new graduates weren’t the only ones to show their enthusiasm and excitement at the concert.
Though it was just a portion of the evening’s events, children as young as 2 had a ball banging on the drums and trying their hand at the cello and violin at the instrument petting zoo.
In year’s past, the zoo included instruments from all of the musical families, but due to the H1N1 virus, or Swine Flu, the zoo was limited to string and percussion instruments.
According to Skaneateles Music Guild member Patti Carey, the petting zoo is a way to familiarize children with a variety of instruments.
By letting the youngsters experiment with making music, the hope is their interest in music and instruments will grow along with them.
“They love getting to touch and feel the instruments,” Guske said.
About 250 seats were set up for people who wanted to sit inside the pavilion and close to the orchestra — and many more chose to gather outside while the weather was nice and set up lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the music from.
According to Kristen Rossi, who spent several hours volunteering to make the evening’s event perfect, there were in excess of 1,200 people who came out to enjoy the concert.
“That is record attendance for us at that concert,” Rossi said. “We’ve never had that many people.”
Summertime with the Syracuse Symphony was presented by National Grid and sponsored by M&T Bank, the town of Skaneateles and Skaneateles Arts Council.
For updated concert information, call 424-8200 or log on to SyracuseSymphony.org.