The West Hartford Symphony Orchestra (WHSO) ended its tenth anniversary season with a free outdoor concert Friday, June 1 on the lawn of Kingswood Oxford School. Funding for this event was provided by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, and the New Alliance Foundation.
“This was our most ambitious season yet,” said music director Richard Chiarappa. “In addition to our usual four performances we played a children’s concert, a holiday concert with the Traveler’s Chorale, and our “˜Dancing with the Symphony’ fundraiser.” Said WHSO board president Ron Reisner “This [concert] was a tremendous success in terms of visibility for the WHSO. Our name is growing in the West Hartford community and beyond, and the Town truly has a cultural organization to brag about!”
An audience conservatively estimated at 400-500 people or more enjoyed wine, picnic dinners, and Rita’s Italian Ices under the canopy of Kingswood Oxford’s ancient oaks while the Orchestra reprised some of the most popular pieces from its first ten seasons “” light classics, Broadway songs, movie themes, and operatic arias. The popular duet of Sheri Ziccardi (soprano) and Christopher Stone (tenor) performed the “Armed Forces Salute,” a composite of U.S. armed forces theme songs. Honoring the men and women in the service of our country has become a tradition of the Orchestra.
In yet another WHSO tradition, Carin Wiesner, WHSO concert mistress, performed two solos: “Ashokan Farewell” (from the PBS/Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War”), and “Por Una Cabeza,” better known as the Tango from the Al Pacino film “Scent of a Woman.”
In a solemn moment, tenor David Baker, a faculty member at Kingswood Oxford and popular WHSO guest, performed “Bring Him Home” (from Les Miserables) and Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” in memory of fellow Skidmore alumnus Aaron Cohen, who was killed in a traffic accident earlier this year. Chris Troianello, another Skidmore alumnus, friend of Aaron, and a WHSO board member, expressed his feelings in a moving speech: “”For those that did not know Aaron personally, consider the best person you know. Be it a friend, family member or mentor, everyone has at least one person that they feel embodies the best aspects of the human condition. Somebody that not only sees but ferrets out our best qualities despite a sometimes miserable frailty, and who can keep you going by the virtue of their exceptional example.”
The Orchestra’s eleventh season started October 28th with a classical program featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #2 (“Little Russian”), Stravinsky’s “Berceuse and Finale” from The Firebird, and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, with Carin Wiesner as soloist.
The West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, a non-profit all-volunteer orchestra, is dedicated to bringing the community together through music.