The Endless Mountain Music Festival is not like any other

PHOTO PROVIDED The Endless Mountain Music Festival Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser performs in the auditorium at the Corning Museum of Glass.

From its opening night on Friday, July 20, until the closing concert on Saturday, August 4, there will be music for all different tastes at the 16-day Endless Mountain Music Festival this year.

“Our audience members are welcome to dress casually or ‘to the nines,’ whichever they prefer,” said Cindy Long, executive director of the event.

Under the baton of Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser, festival founder and producer, there will be symphony orchestra concerts on three consecutive Fridays at Mansfield University and three consecutive Saturdays at the Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium in Corning, New York. Sunday through Thursday, there will be 10 chamber concerts, eight in Pennsylvania and two in New York, with three of them being free to attend.

Eleven of the 16 concerts will be in Pennsylvania. Three will be in Mansfield, five in Wellsboro, one each in Knoxville and Tioga, and outdoors at Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County. Five shows will be in New York, with four in Corning and one in Elmira.

The 2018 Season opens next Friday with Legends of the Silver Screen. Film clips will be projected on two big movie screens at Mansfield University as the 62-member Festival Symphony Orchestra performs selections from 11 different films. Among them are: “Star Wars: Episode II,” “Superman,” “West Side Story,” “Titanic,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Camelot” and “Dr. Zhivago.” This is an event for all ages. Youngsters will receive a free Superman cape. Adults in costume will be admitted free. Adults who do not wear a costume will be admitted for half price if accompanied by children who do.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 27, Mansfield University choral activities director Peggy Dettwiler will conduct the Symphony Festival Orchestra and MU Concert Choir, Festival Chorus and Choral Academy voice students as they perform “In Windsor Forest.” The maestro will then conduct the orchestra for the Pennsylvania premier of Navarro’s energizing “Paconchita.” The orchestra will also perform Peck’s “The Glory and the Grandeur” with spectacular visual effects and sound provided by the fast-paced percussionists Joe Turner, Simon Bjarning and John Allis as they play more than 120 different percussion instruments.

The following Friday, the Symphony Festival Orchestra will premier a new musical composition by Bram Wijnands. Also presented will be Bizet’s “L’Arl sienne Suite No. 2” along with Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26” featuring Israeli violinist Asi Matathias and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92.”

The first chamber concert will be on Sunday, July 22, at the First Presbyterian Church in Wellsboro. Works by two Russian masters, Arensky’s “Piano Quintet in D Major, Op. 51” and Shostakovich’s “Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57” will be performed by Russian pianist Asiya Korepanova, violinists Diana Seitz and Alla Wijnands, violist Ignacio Cuello and cellist Gita Ladd. Korepanova is only performing twice at this year’s festival.

Due to its popularity, Across the Pond, an award-winning Celtic band, is returning for the third year in a row. The three native Pennsylvanians will perform their arrangements of Irish and Scottish tunes, from hauntingly slow airs to fast moving jigs and reels, love ballads and traditional and contemporary songs. Performing with them for the first time at Wellsboro will be singer Marilyn Dally and step dancing champion Emily Warren. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, Warren will teach step-dancing to anyone interested in learning how to do it in the Deane Center lobby at 104 Main Street, Wellsboro. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. that night in the Deane Center Coolidge Theatre.

The first free chamber music concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25 in the Knoxville Yoked Church at 110 Alba Street. The Festival String Trio including pianist Matthew Graybil, cellist Mark Kosmala and violinist Alla Wijnands will perform works by Schubert, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich.

At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26 in the Tioga County Courthouse, 118 Main Street, Wellsboro, will be a performance by the dynamic duo of Matthew Graybil at the piano and Gita Ladd on cello. They will announce their selections that night.

“This year, we are returning to our roots,” said Gunzenhauser. “When the festival first began in 2006, we held concerts in the First Presbyterian Church and the Tioga County Courthouse. These settings are more personal for both the audience and the musicians,” he said.

Also free will be the festival’s only outdoor concert on Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. on July 29 at Cherry Springs State Park, 4639 Cherry Springs Road, Coudersport. The Festival Brass Quintet with a percussionist will play astronomy-inspired musical arrangements under the stars in the Night Sky Viewing Area. Stargazing with telescopes and a laser-guided Night Sky Tour will follow. Limited bench seating is available. Those planning on attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and coats as it gets chilly after dark. If rain is forecast, all registrants will be emailed directions in advance to the indoor concert location.

Festival favorite Bram Wijnands of Kansas City, a jazz, swing and stride pianist, will perform cabaret-style at 7:30 p.m. on July 30, at the Penn Wells Hotel at 62 Main Street, Wellsboro.

Singer-songwriter Abbie Gardner, a talented dobro and slide guitarist, will perform her original folk tunes for the first time at the EMMF festival at 7:30 p.m. on July 31 in the Deane Center’s Coolidge Theatre, 104 Main Street, Wellsboro.

“I am really excited about this concert,” said Gunzenhauser. “Abbie is among the top dobro players.”

As soon as the maestro heard her, he signed her to perform at the festival on the spot. “She is so good,” he said. Gardner is a member of Red Molly, the well-known female Americana and roots trio. No stranger to solo performing, Gardner has three CDs to draw from with award-winning songs. Her newest, “Wishes on a Neon Sign” was released in January of this year.

“Peter vs. The Wolf” is being performed at 7:30 p.m. on August 2, in the Williamson High School Auditorium, 33 Junction Cross Road, Tioga. This production is the first time EMMF Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser and Hamilton-Gibson Productions artistic director Thomas Putnam have collaborated on a festival project. Justin Locke wrote this courtroom musical comedy as a sequel to Prokofiev’s famous tale. The maestro will conduct a 12-member chamber orchestra. Actors are rehearsing under Putnam’s direction. The show begins with alarm bells and sounds of a police chase because the Wolf has escaped from the zoo. He eludes police, runs into the concert hall and pleads his case to the audience. The Wolf claims he never got a fair trial as he tells his side of the story. “This musical comedy is intended for children and is entertaining for adults at the same time,” said Gunzenhauser.

Those 20 years of age and under are admitted free to all festival concerts. For more information about the Pennsylvania and New York shows, call the Endless Mountain Music Festival at 570-787-7800 or visit www.endlessmountain.net.

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