Pops, Patriots, and Fireworks
Wednesday July 4 8:00pm

Pops, Patriots, and Fireworks

Overview

Celebrate July 4th the Caramoor way as we pay tribute to Leonard Bernstein alongside other grand symphonic works with the esteemed Westchester Symphonic Winds and two stellar alumni from Caramoor’s Schwab Vocal Rising Stars. Then, stick around for a proper ending to the evening with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and of course — fireworks!

Artists

Westchester Symphonic Winds
Curt Ebersole, conductor
Meredith Lustig, soprano
Miles Mykkanen, tenor

Program

Smith The Star Spangled Banner (arr. by Damrosch and Sousa)
Bernstein Candide: Overture (arr. by Clare Grundman)
Willson Selections from The Music Man (arr. by Barton Green)
Markowski Famishus Fantasticus
Fillmore Americans We March (arr. by Fennell)
Sheldon Metroplex: Three Postcards from Manhattan
Bernstein Selections from West Side Story (arr. by Matt Podd)
Ward America the Beautiful (arr. by Phillip Rothman)
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (arr. by Mayhew L. Lake)
Sousa Stars and Stripes Forever (arr. by Brion and Schissel)

Covered Picnicking for All Membership Levels in the Pavilion

In the case of inclement weather, the concert will be held as planned on Wednesday, July 4 and the fireworks will be held at 9:00pm Thursday, July 5.

Westchester Symphonic Winds

Westchester Symphonic Winds

Artist Website Listen Watch

Westchester Symphonic Winds, an adult community-based 60-piece wind and percussion ensemble celebrates its 30th anniversary season in 2017-2018. We strive to promote music in our area, instill pride in our nation and heritage, provide opportunities for personal expression and growth within our membership, and nurture the love of music by offering an exceptional musical experience for people of all ages.

The ensemble was founded by Rachel Eckhaus, Robert LaPorta, and the group’s first conductor, James D. Wayne, who conducted the band from 1988-2004. Dr. Luis Fernando Jimenez was conductor from 2005-2008. Curt Ebersole was invited to conduct the 20th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2008 and was subsequently invited to stay on permanently as Conductor and Music Director. Since 2008, guest conductors and clinicians have included Dr. Mallory Thompson, Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Tom McCauley, Dr. Shelley Axelson, Travis Cross, Joseph Greco, and many other nationally recognized wind band conductors.

Over the years, we have given benefit concerts for many groups, including the Food Bank for Westchester, Student Assistance Services, Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, Irvington Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Rotary Club of Briarcliff Manor, Emergency Ecumenical Food Pantry, Family Services of Westchester, Yonkers Arts Education, and others.

The ensemble made its New York City debut at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in March of 2010, its national debut at the 2012 Association of Concert Bands National Convention, and will perform for the fifth time at Caramoor in July 2018. The organization is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the historic Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York, and rehearses there on Monday evenings from September through June.

 

Curt Ebersole
Curt Ebersole, conductor

Artist Website

Curt Ebersole has served as the Conductor/Music Director of the Westchester Symphonic Winds (John P. Paynter Memorial Conductor’s Chair) in Tarrytown, NY since 2008. He is currently a member of the Music Department faculty at the Masters School (Dobbs Ferry, NY). In 2013, he retired from Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, NJ (NVOT), where he served as Director of Instrumental Music for 31 years. At NVOT, he conducted the String Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Concert Band, and Marching Band, earning recurring accolades, and firmly establishing the annual Prism Concert as a local rite of spring. He also acted as Producer/Conductor of the school’s award-winning musical theater program.

He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music in Conducting degree from Northwestern University, where he studied conducting with John P. Paynter and clarinet with Larry Combs, and a Master of Fine Arts in Clarinet Performance from SUNY-Purchase, where he studied with Ben Armato.

Conductor Curt Ebersole is currently a member of the Music Department faculty at the Masters School and has served as Conductor/Music Director of the Westchester Symphonic Winds since 2008.

Mr. Ebersole has served as a guest conductor and clinician for numerous county, region, all-state bands and orchestras, and adult community ensembles across the nation, including performances in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Caramoor, as well as appearances in South Korea and Australia. He is the founding coordinator of the Music Educators of Bergen County Wind Conducting Symposium and served as a clinician at the 2009 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL, and the 2015 Temple University Wind Conducting and Teaching Workshop in Philadelphia, PA. He is a practitioner of both Positive Psychology and the Harkness Method. In 2017, he presented his first TED Talk, Framing Failure, at TEDxOneonta.

He was selected as the Northern Valley District Teacher of the Year in 1994 and the Bergen County Teacher of the Year in 1995. The NJ Music Educators Association chose him as the recipient of the 2003 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, and he received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education later that year. In 2009 he was the NVOT recipient of the NJ Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award. Yale University presented him with their Distinguished Music Educator Award in June 2011.

Mr. Ebersole is a native of Lancaster County, PA, and resides in White Plains, NY. In addition to his busy musical life, he also enjoys riding America’s fastest and tallest roller coasters.

 

Meredith Lustig

Meredith Lustig, soprano

Artist Website  Listen

Praised for her “radiant soprano” and “outstanding dramatic presence,” Meredith Lustig is establishing herself as an artist of great versatility and sophistication. Appearances during the 2015-16 season included Eurydice in an English translation Offenbach’s Orphee Aux Enfers with Virginia Opera, Musetta in La Boheme with Syracuse Opera, and as Fiona in Lerner and Lowe’s beloved musical, Brigadoon with Gulfshore Opera. Ms. Lustig is especially passionate about her work with new music and is excited to bring life to Robert Paterson’s The Whole Truth with the American Modern Ensemble in New York this January. Additional concert performances included Frank Martin’s Golgotha with the New Amsterdam Singers, an evening of Bel Canto favorites with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and a debut with the Hong Kong Opera.

Ms. Lustig is a former Resident Artist with Pittsburgh Opera. During her two seasons with the company she performed the roles of Papagena in The Magic Flute, Zina in Dark Sisters, Musetta in La Boheme, Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto, and Clorinda in Cenerentola. During that time Ms. Lustig also made multiple appearances with the Erie Philharmonic as the soprano soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Meredith Lustig is an alumna of Caramoor’s Vocal Rising Stars mentoring program and has performed with Operas across the United States and internationally.

Ms. Lustig has enjoyed multiple summers as a Young Artist with the Glimmerglass Festvial, where she sang the roles of Ancella in Cherubini’s Medea (2011) and Bella Griffeths in An American Tragedy (2014). In 2012 she attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival and sang the role of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby under the baton of Anne Manson.

A great lover of the recital repertoire, Ms. Lustig studied as a Songfest Stern Fellow and at the Ravinia Steans Institute, where she also made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Vaughn Williams Serenade to Music. Ms. Lustig enjoys a close collaboration with Michael Barrett and Steven Blier at the New York Festival of Song, with appearances in multiple programs including “Off the the Island,” “Killer Bs,” “Latin Lovers,” “Road Trip,” and “Carried Away.” In 2012, she participated in Caramoor’s Vocal Rising Star Program where she presented New York to Paris, Paris to Paradise.

Ms. Lustig holds Bachelor and Master Degrees from the Juilliard School. Favorite roles there included Lauretta/Gianni Schicchi, Venere/La Doriclea, and the title role in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias. Ms. Lustig is a 2012 District winner and 2013 third place Regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2015 semi-finalist in the American Traditions Competition, and the first recipient of the Juilliard Novick Career Grant in 2011. Ms. Lustig is a New Hampshire native and a proud graduate of the Walnut Hill High School for the Arts.

 

Miles Mykkanen

Miles Mykkanen, tenor

Artist Website  Watch

Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times). Of his performances in Eugene Onegin at the Juilliard School, Opera News wrote, “Mykkanen was a knockout as Lensky. The lyric intensity of his singing made each moment count, and the duel- scene aria was a stretch of sheer vocal gold.”

The 2017-18 season sees Mr. Mykkanen performing the title role of Bernstein’s Candide with the Arizona Opera and Palm Beach Opera and Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for Opera Columbus in a new production by Stephen Wadsworth. The music of Stravinsky serves the tenor’s debut at the Canadian Opera Company in Robert Lepage’s The Nightingale and Other Short Fables. On the concert stage he is heard in performances of Handel’s Messiah with the New Jersey Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony, in concert performances of Verdi’s Otello with Robert Spano leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and in Bernstein’s Songfest with his frequent collaborators, Steven Blier, Michael Barrett, and the New York Festival of Song. The tenor makes his New York Philharmonic debut in a program of highlights from West Side Story conducted by Leonard Slatkin and joins the Bard Music Festival for performances of Moniuszko’s Halka and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with Leon Botstein conducting the American Symphony Orchestra.

A graduate of The Juilliard School and an alumnus of Caramoor’s Vocal Rising Stars mentoring program, tenor Miles Mykkanen is a champion of new work whose voice has been heard in festivals and with opera companies around the country.

Last season Miles Mykkanen sang Belmonte in Opera Columbus’ new production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Tichon in Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová in a new Stephen Wadsworth production at Juilliard conducted by Anne Manson, Candide in a fully staged production with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and joined the world premiere cast of Kept: A Ghost Story by Kristin Kuster and Megan Levad in a presentation at the Virginia Arts Festival conducted by JoAnn Falletta. The tenor spent the summer at the Marlboro Music Festival where his performances spanned from song of Brahms and Britten to chamber music of Brett Dean with distinguished guest artists Paul Lewis, Mitsuko Uchida, Roger Vignoles, and many others.

Mr. Mykkanen’s opera credits include championing new work in addition to leading roles drawn from the classic repertoire. He gave the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing at the American Repertory Theatre directed by Diane Paulus and Opera News wrote, “Miles Mykkanen’s work was especially distinctive: his burnished high tenor seemed like the organizing principle around which the other voices cohered.”  He was involved in the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Twenty-Seven and Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown. Other operatic highlights include performances of Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Ariadne auf Naxos, Les mamelles de Tirésias, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, The Cunning Little Vixen, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Le donne curiose, A Hand of Bridge, and Down in the Valley.

PBS Great Performances produced a documentary of Renée Fleming’s American Voices festival in 2015, featuring Miles Mykkanen in a master class with Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster. The tenor is a youngARTS Gold winner and the recipient of prizes from the Sullivan Foundation, Toulmin Foundation, Novick Career Advancement Grant, and Juilliard’s Joseph W. Polisi Award. Recently graduated from The Juilliard School with an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies, Miles Mykkanen earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school under the tutelage of Cynthia Hoffmann.

About the Music.

A Note from the Director

Is it possible that this evening marks our fifth performance at Caramoor? It’s hard to believe, but the members of the Westchester Symphonic Winds are thrilled to be performing here again in this beautiful garden of music. The ensemble, originally founded as the Hudson Valley Wind Symphony in 1988, has grown substantially in expertise and stature over the past ten years. This program is not only a collection of popular and patriotic works by great composers; it is also an evening of classic American favorites, which I hope you will enjoy.

With many choices available, my favorite arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner is by John Philip Sousa and harmonized by Walter Damrosch, which we are performing. We hope you will find it to be a stirring combination of traditional patriotism and melodic breadth. I have always felt strongly that the National Anthem should be the best-performed selection on any concert, and we aim to fulfill that goal once again tonight.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of a truly great American — Leonard Bernstein. His impact on music performance, music composition, music theory, music education, musical theatre, and more cannot be calculated. As a composer, conductor, educator, collaborator, and humanitarian, Bernstein was a true Renaissance man. In honor of his 100th birthday on August 25, we are performing selections from two of his most important works: Candide and West Side Story. First, the Overture to Candide sparkles with robust, fervent, and irreverent energy. The lyrical theme in the overture’s middle section has a buoyant and bouncy energy like no other. And the final coda section brings the overture to a jubilant and joyful conclusion.

This year, we are excited to present a fresh and new Broadway medley from our resident arranger, Barton Green. Following his arrangements of selections from Anything Goes and Promises, Promises and the overtures to Funny Girl and Gypsy, this evening we are premiering his new arrangement of highlights from the American classic, The Music Man, by Meredith Willson. Green describes his arrangement: “Composer Meredith Willson wrote The Music Man as a love letter to his home state of Iowa. However, The Music Man is also about bands and, for this reason, I wanted to give each section a chance to shine at different points throughout this arrangement. I also wanted to underline the thematic connection between ‘Seventy Six Trombones’ and ‘Goodnight My Someone’, which are variations on the same melody.

In addition to these songs, this arrangement also includes “The Wells Fargo Wagon,” “Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little,” and the eternally romantic “Til There Was You.” Many people know the latter song only as a ballad that the Beatles recorded in 1963 for their first album (one of the extremely few songs over the course of their storied career that they did not actually write themselves), not realizing that it was originally written for a Broadway musical. Paul McCartney performed the lead vocals on the track and, according to Meredith Willson’s widow, Willson made more money from the royalties of the Beatles’ cover of the song than he did from the musical!”

In his score, Michael Markowski wrote: “The title, ‘Famishius Fantasticus,’ is a direct allusion to the faux binomial (the scientific Latin name) of Wile E. Coyote, as shown in the opening freeze-frame of the 1956 Looney Tunes cartoon, There They Go-Go-Go! If this were actually Latin (and again, it is totally made up), one would probably pronounce it fah-ME-see-oos fahn-tahs-TEEcoos, which might roughly translate into something like, “Fantastically Famished” or “Fantastically Hungry.” Many composers of the Looney Tunes era have defined the cartoon music genre, perhaps most notably Carl Stalling (with the help of Raymond Scott’s extensive Warner Brothers catalogue) and MGM’s Scott Bradley. ‘Famishius Fantasticus’ is not an attempt to rewrite these masters, but rather to take the techniques that make these scores so exciting — colorful and period orchestration, extended performance techniques, exotic percussion and sound effects, constantly shifting musical textures — and draw my own composition for the wind band medium. Of course, without the animated accompaniment, the visual gags are best left to our imaginations.” However, don’t be surprised if our players come up with their own visual gags in the midst of our performance!

Along with Bagley’s “National Emblem” and Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” our first march of the evening completes the triumvirate of the greatest patriotic American marches. Americans We was written by Henry Fillmore in 1929. Frederick Fennell, the founder of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, declared that it was “as happy a piece of music I know.” And so, it is a great fit for this program.

Metroplex (Three Postcards from Manhattan) is a musical portrait of the landscape of New York City’s most famous borough. The first section evokes the city’s epic skyscrapers and concrete canyons. The second section changes the pace and takes us to an urban jazz club. The final section takes us on a wild taxi ride through the city, invoking the memory of the skyscraper themes from the opening. Sheldon wrote Metroplex for Normal Community West High School Band of Normal, Illinois, and was written for the school’s performance at Carnegie Hall in 2005.

Barton Green also contributed this historical perspective, connecting his arrangement with the Bernstein vocal medley: “Last fall was the 60th anniversary of the Broadway premiere of two very iconic American musicals, both of which are featured in tonight’s concert: The Music Man and West Side Story. Back then, The Music Man was the big hit of the season, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and enjoying a run of over 1300 performances. West Side Story’s original Broadway run was little more than half that length. Its impact was immediate and undeniable and the critics fully understood that it was groundbreaking and a major step forward for the American musical theatre. But audiences were cautious at first due to its tragic nature, and West Side Story did not become the worldwide classic for the ages that we now know it to be until the hugely successful movie version was released four years later and cleaned up at the Oscars.” We are very excited to perform another arrangement by Matt Podd for the fifth consecutive year. His medley from West Side Story features soprano soloist, Meredith Lustig, and tenor soloist, Miles Mykkanen, and includes these timeless selections: Prologue, “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “Maria,” “I Feel Pretty,” “America,” and “Somewhere.”

America the Beautiful is regarded by many to be the (unofficial) second national anthem of the United States of America. Its soaring melody by Samuel August Ward and picturesque lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates evoke the all the timeless and peace-filled characteristics of our beloved country. This new arrangement by Philip Rothman was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the National Youth Orchestra in 2014. The audience is invited to join our performance, and sing along:

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Oh, beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Although its origins have nothing to do with the birth of America, Overture “1812” has become synonymous with the battle for which it was named, in which Russia defended itself against the Napoleonic armies of France. Connect battles to cannons, cannons to fireworks, and fireworks to Fourth of July — thus, a musical tradition was born. Arthur Fiedler initiated the tradition with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade in 1974, complete with cannons, church bells, and fireworks. We hope you enjoy our special take on this battle hymn of freedom, complete with hand bell choirs, which imitate the victorious pealing of church bells.

We are closing our program with a traditional Fourth of July encore, The Stars and Stripes Forever, by John Philip Sousa. Since an act of Congress in 1987, it is the official National March of the United States of America. What better way is there to end our Fourth of July celebration?

I’d like to thank Jeffrey Haydon, Kathy Schuman, Ellie Gisler Murphy, Tim Coffey, and Warren Hammer at Caramoor, Matt Podd, Meredith Lustig, Miles Mykkanen, and the Board of Trustees and members of the Westchester Symphonic Winds for their support for our performance!

— Curt Ebersole, Conductor/Music Director, Westchester Symphonic Winds