This summer, The Reunion Music Society and Northern Virginia Community college presented, ‘A Summer Pops Concert: Music for the Young at Heart! The NOVA Symphony Orchestra delighted not one, but two audiences over the week!
July 13th, 2022, The Orchestra performed the first evening concert at The Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax, Virginia. It was well attended and the acoustics were wonderful!
The evening began with John Williams’ Main Theme for Star Wars followed by The Empire Strikes Back! A strong start to a great night! It was soon time to hear John Powell’s, How to Train your Dragon and the amazing and ever popular Toy Symphony written by Mozart’s father Leopold.
At every concert, proud family and friends break out their phones to capture the lovely music created by our wonderful orchestral members. That’s always nice to see.
One of the highlights of the concert is a story and music experience that Maestro Johnston wrote himself in 2011 with a grant from the Arts Council of Fairfax. He wanted to find a ‘Tall Tale’ story that was lesser known. During his research he came along ‘Stormalong!’ which had been written about by several New England writers. The original tale came from Massachusetts. Being near the sea, our American tale includes pirates and the famed sea faring rivalry, The Kraken! Maestro Johnston wrote an entire extended narrative to bring the story of Stormalong to life for a childrens concert, in addition to writing the music that accompanies the tale, which is narrated by a wonderful sea faring pirate. In our case this was Captain Matthew! Matthew Balthrop did an incredible job interacting with the kids in the audience, dancing and most importantly inspiring our belief in the tall tale of Alfred Bullgtop Stormalong!
The entire piece was a huge success!!! Of course it’s not easy to follow up a great story about pirates!
But have no fear, Captain Matthew may have sailed away, but we soon found our way into the perfectly paired Pirates of the Caribbean theme, “The Curse of the Black Pearl!” written by Klaus Badelt.
Before out concert’s end, Claiborne Richardson II, president of Reunion Music Society, (and leader of the orchestra’s percussion section) was master of ceremonies for delivering the 2021-2022 Lafayette Jackson Memorial Scholarship celebration!!! Bruce Salad explains, “Mr. Jackson was a beloved bass player who was a member of the orchestra in its earliest years, and the scholarship created to assist high school bass players to get college credit via the dual enrollment program, an opportunity to perform with the orchestra, with the orchestra classes’ tuition paid for by RMS, and an additional stipend to further the recipient’s education awarded at the end of the year.. In recent years, eligibility for the scholarship has been expanded to include other string players”. This 2021-22 winner is violinist Joshua Trainer! It was so nice to witness the depth of appreciation the entire Orchestra has for Joshua!
The summer pops concert didn’t end there! On July 15th the entire Orchestra including Captain Matthew, headed over to Mason District Park to perform in their Spotlight by Starlight series! “Spotlight by Starlight is a free summer concert series presented by the Fairfax County Park Authority at Mason District Park. All performances are on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday beginning at 7:30 PM.”
What a great outdoor venue! It was my first time at the park and the acoustics were wonderful! The entire seating was both intimate and yet with plenty of room past the benched seating.
One of the other hits from both concerts was Leopold Mozart’s Toy Symphony. This included a wonderful line up of Orchestra members performing on fun instruments!
Captain Matthew enjoyed the scene as well! The kids came up front and were mesmerized! Even the adults enjoyed speaking like pirates!
Since 1992, the Reunion Music Society, has been bringing students and the community together for decades through a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College. This year the orchestra became the official college-wide NOVA Symphony Orchestra and we are so lucky!
This summer’s concert is just an example of the exemplary creative content and outreach that the RMS and Maesto Johnston has prided themselves on!
I can’t wait to see what the fall, holiday and spring concerts offer! We hope to see you at the next formal classical concert on November 11th, 2022 at The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall on the NOVA Alexandria Campus. For more information visit www.NOVASymphony.org to our schedule and learn about opportunities to participate as a musician or as a supporter of the arts in our community!
The Orchestra received a standing ovation from a very happy community! Hats off to a wonderful summer experience and to all the efforts by our Orchestra and all of those who helped bring it to life!
To learn more about Maestro Johnston and our section leaders visit: https://www.reunionmusicsociety.org/nvcc-annandale-symphony-orchestra/meet-our-musicians/
The NOVA Symphony Orchestra includes the following talented members:
First Violin: Patrick Geddes – Concertmaster, Melissa Brown, Paula Davidson, Devin Lichtenstein, Stephanie Trachtenberg and Abby Volcansek.
Second Violion: Adriana Gonzalez –
Principal, Jude Bruniany, Shawn Grogan, Beth Liebmann, Bettina Thomas and Maria Viso.
Viola: Margie Bassman – Principal, Pamela Dahlhauser, Amanda Koman, Zumi Rieskse, Brayden Teague, Joshua Trainer and Kasey Ulery.
Cello: Logan Madrid- Principal, Vanessa Bordo Flannes, Sharon Jones, Marissa Salad, Daniel Schlichtig and Grace Shwartz.
Contrabass: Andrew Johnston – Principal, George Cooper and Emma Spinnenweber.
Flute: Teresa Diaz, Dani Fielding and Kyile Kim, Piccolo.
Oboe: Elaina Reck – Principal, and Bruce Salad.
Clarinet: Mitch Bassman – Principal, Robert Hoyler and Laura Pikington, Bass Clarinet.
Basson: Louis Reichwein – Principal, Aaron Hahn, Contrabassoon.
Horn, Albert Triolo – Principal, James Kocsis, Joseph Triolo and Roger Whitworth.
Trumpet: Mary Kaplan, Alexandro Tavares and Bobb Webb.
Trombone: Lou Brundidge – Principal, Charles Stolpe, Rolando Virreira and James Wilson.
Tuba: Cristian Condor
Harp: Meghan Gwyer
Keyboard: Lauren Hong
Timpani and Percussion: Clairborne T, Richardson, II- Principal Rafael Arancibia, Jordan Hendrickson, Lauren Hong, Tim Nuhfer.
Librarian: Sharon Jones and her Assistant Laura Plkington.
For more information on the Reunion Music Society visit https://www.reunionmusicsociety.org/