Friday, February 12, 2010

Here's a Worthy Valentine's Date

This is a photo from the rehearsal of the Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra, which is playing a Valentine's concert Saturday night at Chippens Hill Middle School. Wish I could give you a sound clip, because this is a very lovely sounding orchestra. If you're not busy, I recommend it! Here's the story I wrote for Saturday's edition of The Bristol Press about it:

BRISTOL – Music lovers – or any kind of lovers – without plans tonight may find a Valentine’s concert by the Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra to their liking.
The concert, “Romantic Winds,” is at 7:30 p.m. at Chippens Hill Middle School, is the Bristol performance by the regional orchestra for this year’s series.
“It’s not romantic music in the sense that it’s Romeo and Juliet,” said Marshall Brown, orchestra conductor and musical director. But he said he can’t think of anything better for Valentine’s Day than attending a concert of beautiful music.
The music program comes from the Romantic period, said Brown. It will include woodwinds and French horns, but no strings or percussion this time.
“We have 16 players, all virtuosos,” said Brown. “They’re all fantastic players.”
They’ll be performing “Serenade for Winds” and “Symphony for Winds,” both by Richard Strauss. The second portion of the program is “Sionfonietta” by Joachim Raff.
“Sionfonietta” is “a charming piece for 10 players,” said Brown, and the first piece of music to be named ‘Sionfonietta,’ which he said means ‘little symphony.’
Brown said it is a “very lovely” piece, with a particularly moving slow movement.
The evening’s music is demanding and filled with intricacies, said Brown, and the orchestra is playing it well.
“It’s going to be a wonderful program,” said Brown.
Music students or anyone playing in a band would benefit from hearing the performance, according to Brown.
“It’s a rare opportunity,” he said, to hear these particular pieces.
The performance, sponsored by the Barnes Group Foundation and the Clinton S. Roberts Foundation, opens the orchestra’s 2010 concert series.
Other concerts will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 7 at the Christ Episcopal Church in Avon, and Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Torrington.
The symphony is getting some help from Tunxis Community College. Graphics arts students are taking photos and designing the program book, said Brown.
“We have some fantastic interns from Tunxis Community College,” said Brown. He said Tunxis President Cathryn Addy is on the symphony advisory board and helped arrange for the interns.
Brown said the symphony performs one of its series in Bristol each year. The symphony board is committed to Bristol as one of the communities it focuses on.
“Romantic Winds” offers about an hour of music, with an intermission, said Brown.
The symphony is planning for its children’s concert, scheduled for March 24 at Lewis Mills High School. They’ll be performing Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” said Brown, as well as the world premiere of the orchestral version of “Evensong,” a work for trumpet and orchestra by Farmington composer Stephen Gryc.
The children’s concert is sponsored by the Parker Trust of the Main Street Community Foundation, The Sky Bight Foundation, Farmington Bank Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Brown said the Main Street Community Foundation was especially helpful in securing the grants.
Brown said they’re also planning for the annual Celebrity Maestros Gala on April 18 at the Farmington Country Club.
Tickets to tonight’s concert will be available at the door. They are $22 for adults and $10 for students. Adults who purchase the series get a discount; three performances for $55. Chippens Hill Middle School is at 551 Peacedale St. in Bristol.
For more information, see the symphony’s website at

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