WSO brings in the holiday season with ‘Moments of Joy’

Mime Dan Kamin supplies the laughs with the 'Classical Clown'

For their Dec. 13 show at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., the Wiliamsport Sympony Orchestra will present “Moments of Joy,” and also will feature Dan Kamin as “The Classical Clown.”

The show, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will also have the WSO playing side by side with  the Williamsport Youth Symphony Orchestra and feature a performance from Baron Cao, the winner of the WSO Young Artist Competition.

Cao, hailing from State College, was the winner of the competition that the Symphony does every year, pooling talent from the area and surrounding. Among the judges for the competition were Gerardo Edelestein, WSO conductor; Amanda Gunderson, Lycoming College faculty member; and Mark Minni, WSO concertmaster.

Cao will perform his winning performance of Mozart’s Concerto for “Piano, No. 23, K. 488, A major, Movement No. 3.”

Starting his musical journey at the age of seven, Cao, now 15, said he hasn’t stopped since. He entered the competition after hearing from a friend’s previous experience. “At the time I was applying, I was aware that Williamsport had a fantastic symphony, with a world-class instructor, and I was simply excited at the opportunity to perform with the orchestra if I won,” he said.

“It means a lot to me to perform in Williamsport — this will be my concerto debut; my first performance with an orchestra. I am super excited about this fantastic opportunity, and I can’t wait to share my music with the city of Williamsport,” Cao said of the performance.

Edelstein emphasized the difficulty of picking a winner for the competition — the amount of talent that was presented was impressive. “It shows the level of performers in the area, which is very encouraging; music is still alive,” he said.

For the second half of the show, Dan Kamin will present “The Classical Clown,” as he incorporates the audience and Edelstein into the performance. As the “uncooperative guest artist,” Kamin will completely disrupt the show, as he said, “throwing a curve ball right from the start.”

“It’s a paradox of real theatre,” Kamin, from Pittsburgh, said. “It has to look like it’s just happening at the moment. It’s a combination of physical comedy, low brow comedy and high brow music.”

Kamin, who just returned from presenting “The Classical Clown” in Malaysia, has an impressive background. He was a trainer for Robert Downy Jr. in 1992’s “Chaplain,” and also worked with Johnny Depp on 1993’s “Benny and Joon.”

After seeing a world-class mime perform while he was studying industrial design at Carnegie Mellon University, Kamin realized this was what he wanted to do. Immersing himself in the art, he became a professional who now brings his show all over the world.

“It made me feel like a different person,” he said,” which is the essence of theatre. You can put on a mask and something in you is released that otherwise wouldn’t come out. That’s a fascinating thing.”

While there is a script for the show, Kamin said each performance is tailored to the symphony he is performing with.

Edelstein said he had slight nerves for the performance, which is a completely different experience from a regular performance. “I actually have lines to learn!”

“Suddenly, the conductors are playing themselves, but a hightened theatrical version of themselves. A lot of my job is creating a safe space to have fun with that,” Kamin said.

“Gerardo is going to be really delightful and funny in this show,” he addded. “We are going to take the rigid, uptight quality inherited in symphony and turn it upside down, inside out and destroy it.”

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