Soloing with the symphony

During a morning sponsored and hosted by the Skaneateles Music Guild, fifth through twelfth grade students had the pleasure of not only hearing a fine performance by the Syracuse Symphony conducted by Raffaele Ponti, but also of being inspired by two high school musicians who had auditioned for the privilege of performing solos. The theme of the program was "Music from Around the World" and after listening to "The Toreador March" from "Carmen" with its touch of Spain, student alto-saxophonist Maureen Meyer, accompanied by Anna Egert, played her Brazilian-style solo of "Scaramouche" by Darius Milhaud from France for her peers and the professional musicians. Narrator of the musical world tour was SSO Education Manager, Robert Allen, who later invited the young audience to Italy to hear senior Jared Mulcahy's performance with the orchestra of "Dragonetti's Double Bass Concerto." Supporters of the Guild and encouraging parents had much to be proud of as the program continued to motivate aspiring musicians and future concert attendees.

The orchestra performed Verde's Overture from the opera," Nabucco," written to give courage to the Italian people during troubled times, followed by Stravinsky's "Infernal Dance," from his ballet, "Firebird" written after the Russian composer's exposure to Paris when train travel made an exchange of cultures possible.

After inviting everyone to attend the "Nutcracker" in December, Mr. Allen introduced three excerpt s from the second act that reflected Tchaikovsky's portrayal of the cultures of China, Arabia and Russia. In the 1940's, when the cities of New York and Chicago became home for the influx of immigrants who brought their varieties of food, fashion, art and music, Aaron Copeland wrote his American ballet, "Rodeo," to reflect what it meant to be American. German composer Beethoven, living in Vienna in the 1800's with a world challenged by Napoleon, wrote his "Fifth Symphony" to musically represent conflict and also hope for the people of his time.

The SSO played "Hoe Down" from "Rodeo" and the first movement of the "Fifth Symphony." The final piece, reflecting the ancient culture of Armenia was Khachaturian's "Folk Suite Masquerade." Mr. Allen then challenged each student to "Become citizens of the world: read, explore and wonder about cultures and people." Both school principals thanked the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Skaneateles Music Guild and their attentive audience for a very special morning of music.

Patti Carey is a member of the Skaneateles Music Guild

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