By Matt Smith
Calling all Prokofiev fans–especially those with kids! You’re invited to join The Chappaqua Orchestra (along with the bird, the duck, the cat, and several others) on Saturday, November 7th, for a performance of Peter and the Wolf. As one of the first concerts launching the orchestra’s new 2015-2016 season, the evening’s family-friendly program will not disappoint.
The piece will be paired with The Runaway Bunny, an adaptation of the classic children’s story by Margaret Wise Brown, set to music by composer Glen Roven. Famed violinist Kinga Augustyn will serve as soloist on that piece, while Elliott Forrest–broadcaster at New York’s classical music station WQXR–will narrate both selections. Additionally, each composition will be accompanied by a series of projections behind the musicians to help tell the stories visually.
And as for the choice of repertoire? It was simply a case of good, nay perfect, timing. “Since I’ve been with the Chappaqua Orchestra, we had never done Peter and the Wolf,” explains conductor Michael Shapiro, who has been with TCO since 2002. “So, I thought ‘now’s the time!’ It’s such a great story–and great for kid–and a beautiful piece of music.”
And it’s clear The Chappaqua Orchestra is seizing this “great opportunity” as best it can; hoping to pique interest and maximize community involvement, the ensemble has arranged a few pre-show activities with other organizations in town. Prior to the concert, Camp Kiwi will host a variety of games for the kids, and members of the Westchester Music Conservatory will provide an instrumental “petting zoo,” which will allow guests to get a closer look at–and even touch!–the individual instruments within the orchestra.
“We feel that if we are to become a regionally known orchestra, we have to make sure the people in our own community and town know about us and are coming to see us,” Restivo reiterated. “What better way to [kick off our season]…than by celebrating our youth?!”
And as if you needed yet another reason to attend this classical extravaganza, Shapiro is also quick to emphasize that the travel time simply can’t be beat! “If you want to go to a concert in Lincoln Center, you have to factor in the drive–up to two hours round trip–and then, of course, the added considerable expense,” he explained. “[TCO] is of the same professional quality [as those musicians]…and we’re right here in Chappaqua! No need to travel [far].”
Additionally, Shapiro notes the importance of “bringing professional level music of all kinds–symphonic, theater and film music, family and children’s concerts–to our local community,” and how he hopes, specifically with these child-oriented pieces, the youngsters leave with a more deepened appreciation and “enthusiasm for music.”
Echoing this sentiment is Restivo, who stresses, again, how he hopes the move to Wallace will increase community awareness of what the company has to offer. And though the selections may suggest a lean toward a youth-centric program, he assures concertgoers that the evening “will get people of all ages excited about our group.”
So, get up, do your part, and please join The Chappaqua Orchestra for what is sure to be an undoubtedly incredible evening of music!
Hailed as “The Jewel of New Castle,” The Chappaqua Orchestra has been serving Northern Westchester since 1958. The Children’s Story Concert, again, will be performed live on November 7th at 4 p.m. Wallace Auditorium is located within Chappaqua Crossing, at 480 Bedford Road, just off of 117.
For more information, visit chappaquaorchestra.org.
Matt Smith, a proud graduate of Skidmore College, is a regular contributor to The Inside Press.
A Spectacular New Home Inside the Wallace Auditorium
The Chappaqua Orchestra’s fantastic musical offerings aside, the concert itself is only one of the reasons this event is so special and meaningful to the orchestra. An equally important cause for celebration: the performance will be the first for the musicians’ group in their newly christened home at Wallace Auditorium in the Chappaqua Crossing plaza.
The ability to perform in the auditorium is especially significant, as the venue was originally set to be demolished as part of the plan for Chappaqua Crossing’s redevelopment. Last July, the town entered into a lease agreement with Summit Greenfield to salvage the space, and the Town Board has since created and Arts and Cultural Committee–on which both Mr. Shapiro and The Chappaqua Orchestra’s Executive Director David Restivo sit–to fund and administer the auditorium.
“It’s very exciting,” said Shapiro, on the subject. “I think it’s wonderful that they fought to keep it standing. We’ve played in many venues…Greeley [Auditorium], Chappaqua Library, the Gazebo…. [and] we have needed a permanent home that is worthy of our orchestra, so it’s nice to finally have a place to call our own.”
“With the creation of the Arts and Cultural committee, we are doing whatever we can to make sure TCO is a part making Chappaqua and New Castle the center of Arts and Culture for all of Westchester,” added Restivo. “With the acquisition of Wallace, the town has a great opportunity to do this.” –Matt Smith
“We are at the forefront of what is happening with arts and culture in our town. In making the Wallace Auditorium our new home, we will essentially be the only orchestra in Westchester that will have its own space to perform in. TCO would love to have more involvement from the residents of New Castle to help us further this success, not just through attendance, but also volunteering for our concerts and possibly joining our Board. It’s an exciting time
to be a part of the oldest
orchestra in our county!”
– TCO’s Executive Director David Restivo