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Virtual Virtuoso: Endless Mountain Music Festival honors essential workers

Endless Mountain Music Festival honors essential workers

WELLSBORO — This July, the 2020 Endless Mountain Virtual Music Festival is available online. Featured are video concerts recorded and submitted by guest musicians who were to perform this summer in Pennsylvania and New York during the live 17 concerts in 17 days event. All of the online concerts are free and available to everyone.

A special tribute to essential workers includes 13 members of the Endless Mountain Music Festival (EMMF) Festival Symphony Orchestra’s brass and percussion sections performing American composer Aaron Copland’s three-minute “Fanfare for the Common Man.” For this piece, videos and audios recorded individually by each of the fanfare musicians performing their parts are brought together and then intertwined with photographs of essential workers.

Fanfare musicians include Rebecca Dodson-Webster, Ken Bell, Brad Tatum and Christiana Smith, on French horn; Luis Engelke, Tom Cook and Brian Strawley, on trumpet; John Sebastian Vera, Nicholas Bulgarino and Phil McCelland, on trombone; Kevin Ladd, on tuba; Jason Mathena, on percussion; and Juanmanuel Lopez, on timpani.

Among the concerts by the EMMF guest artists are eight, short Scoring the Decades “teasers” during which each of eight emerging Hollywood film composers talks about composing and plays a portion of his or her original composition, which represents one of eight decades of music from the 1940s through 2020. Their works will premiere during EMMF’s 2021 season.

At the piano are Bram Wijnands performing stride jazz pieces and Sheng Cai playing Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. The Fire in the Glen trio gives a porch concert of Celtic music and Peggy Dettwiler, Mansfield University’s choral activities director, shares music from the university’s choral program from 2016 to 2020 “to generate enthusiasm for the day when we shall sing together again,” she said.

Others showcased in the virtual concert series are: Singer-songwriter Abbie Gardner, a talented Dobro and slide guitarist who writes and performs original folk songs; Grammy-winner Doris Hall-Gulati on clarinet; Jessica Wilbee on harp; and violinists Hua Jin, Sirena Huang and Siwoo Kim.

“We were going to hold a big celebration for our 15th anniversary this summer but in light of the coronavirus crisis felt it necessary to put the health and safety of our musicians, staff, volunteers and audience first,” said Ardell Thomas, board president, in April when the decision was made to move the entire 2020 festival to July 16 through Aug. 1, 2021.

Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser and EMMF executive director Cynthia Long worked with the involved musicians and composers and successfully rescheduled all of the concerts planned for this year to next year. Gunzenhauser founded the Wellsboro-based festival in 2005 and has served as its artistic director and conductor since the first festival was held in the summer of 2006. Internationally recognized, he recently retired after completing his 40th year as conductor and music director of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra.

Long credits Gunzenhauser with coming up with the idea for the tribute to essential workers and the 2020 Virtual Music Festival.

“The EMMF live festival will be back and better than ever in 2021 featuring these incredible guest artists,” Long said. “In the meantime, we hope people enjoy their virtual performances.”

All 2020 pre-purchased season passes will be honored in 2021. To learn more, visit www.endlessmountain.net or call the Endless Mountain Music Festival Box Office at 570-787-7800.

To access the 2020 Virtual Endless Mountain Music Festival, visit vimeo.com/showcase/emmf2020 or www.endlessmountain.net.

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