Aug 15, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The 33rd year of the Skaneateles Festival started off last week with a fundraiser at a lakeside mansion, an informative collaborative event at the Barrow Art Gallery and the first of five concerts at Brook Farm — and every event was filled with excited attendees.
With four weeks of new, unique and inspiring music now underway, the latest year of the world-renowned festival is off to an auspicious beginning.
“We’re very excited. There’s such an assortment of music this year — something for everyone,” said Skaneateles Festival Executive Director Susan Mark.
The opening event of the festival was the sixth annual Summer Suite fundraiser at the home of Adam and Kim Weitsman on Aug. 8. About 300 people attended, and about $30,000 was raised for the festival.
On Thursday, Aug. 9, the Barrow Art Gallery hosted an informative collaborative event between the gallery, the festival and the Finger Lakes Land Trust. The partnership “just made a lot of sense” because John Barrow was an environmentalist and the Skaneateles Festival began its first years playing chamber music in the gallery, said Peg Whitehouse, Barrow Gallery director. “It all just fell into place very neatly.” The funding to host the event was provided by a grant from the Skaneateles Area Arts Council.
The 150 attendees enjoyed Barrow paintings, food provided by Mirbeau and brief comments by FLLT Director Andrew Zepp about his organization’s conservation efforts around Skaneateles Lake. “This is a fantastic event,” Zepp said. “It’s wonderful to see the community connections.” The land trust also shuttled a busload of people from Ithaca to Skaneateles to attend the event and the festival’s opening concert that night at the Skaneateles Presbyterian Church.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, the first festival concert at Brook Farm hosted about 500 people — singles, couples and families — who sat on the lawn with picnic dinners or bottles of wine and listened to musical selections by Bach, Rossini and Spohr.
Week one of the festival was themed “Bach and Beyond,” and was a tribute to composer J.S. Bach’s genius and influence on classical music. This week’s festival theme is “We Shall Overcome,” an exploration of profound and powerful music, from the inner battles of Beethoven, Smetana and Schumann to the expressions of faith, war and social injustice from Bloch to Schulhoff.
Week two’s offerings include new events to the festival: free community concerts in Auburn and Fayetteville by Imani Winds wind quintet, and a concert at The RedHouse Arts Center in Syracuse.
Festival co-chair David Ying said new concerts and locations this year are part of the festival’s desire to broaden its appeal. “We’re trying to make sure people understand the diversity of what goes on here,” he said. “We want to be available to a lot of different audiences and showcase a lot of kinds of music — it’s not just Bach and Beethoven. We want to be broad. The Skaneateles Festival is a treasure, and not one we intend to hide.”
Mark said the festival has seen “steady growth” of 2 to 3 percent every year, and their goal this year is to continue that trend. Last year, the Skaneateles Festival welcomed visitors from 17 states and Canada.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.