The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra traditionally offers a “family concert” every January that is aimed at engaging young people by introducing them to the world of classical music. These performances have always been very well received, but music director candidate David Bernard, wanted to elevate the idea of “family concert” to a whole new level.
Bernard, a candidate to replace Dr. Woomyung Choe as the permanent conductor of the GNSO, has gained recognition for his dramatic and incisive conducting in over 20 countries on four continents, including a nine-city tour of the People’s Republic of China and a guest conducting appearance with the China Conservatory Orchestra. Maestro Bernard has served as Music Director of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony since 1999 and under his leadership, the orchestra has thrived, expanding in size and achieving critical acclaim.
Bernard won the hearts and imagination of the audience this past summer at the GNSO’s Summer Pops concert conducting John William’s “Star Wars Suite” dressed as Darth Vader wielding a light saber baton. He’s enthusiastic about making great music, and bringing it to as broad of an audience as possible. For Jan. 16, he has developed a family-friendly event called “Arabian Nights,” which will combine pre-concert activities, a narrated presentation of Rimsky-Korsikov’s Scheherazade, topped off with Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances brought to life by a local dance troupe.
“The rich cultural resources of the Newburgh community inspired this collaboration” said Bernard. “We will not only immerse and engage the community in the beautiful melodies and brilliant colors infused in the music we perform, but we will also put the best of Newburgh artisans in music and dance on display for the community to see and experience firsthand.”
“Arabian Nights” kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with the Newburgh Symphony’s first-ever “Classic Music Fair” including an Instrument Petting Zoo, giving participants hands-on opportunities to try different musical instruments; the Art Station, featuring drawing projects related to the music to be performed; Music Trivia Contests with prizes; and a Conducting Station where participants will conduct a small ensemble from the orchestra.
At 3 p.m. Maestro Bernard will lead the GNSO in Alexander Borodin’s exciting “Polovtsian Dances” from the opera “Prince Igor”—with the orchestra accompanying the Newburgh Free Academy’s dance troupe “Advance Dance” led by Mandy Clifford. The featured work of the afternoon, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, will include narration by the internationally renowned storyteller Peninnah Schram. “Storytellers transfix their audiences by illuminating powerful narratives from within the tales they tell. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade portrays this ancient art musically with melodies that offer narratives worthy of the best storytellers.” said Bernard. “By combining this incredible music with Peninnah’s magical storytelling and the engaging visuals, we hope to bring an unforgettable experience to the audience.”
“Arabian Nights” will be presented Saturday, Jan. 16 at Aquinas Hall at Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, with the Classical Music Fair beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the concert at 3 p.m.
The snow date in case of inclement weather is Sunday, Jan. 17. Tickets – Reserved: $30, General: $24, Senior Citizens: $18, (Students: admitted free) – can be purchased online or at the door. Details about the 2015 – 2016 season of the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra can be found online at www.newburghsymphony.org or by calling 913-7157, and requesting a season brochure.