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.