A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS, by Artistic Director Erin Freeman
I’ve always been pretty good at keeping secrets. For example, when I was 16, I managed to hide the fact that my sister was getting a new car for Christmas for an entire month. And, years later, I pulled off a surprise party for my husband’s 40th birthday – in a city three hours away from home.
However, as you might have noticed, I’ve been leaking details of our 2017 Festival and Academy for the last few months. I’m just so excited about our programming and roster of musicians that I feel the need to shout our news from the mountaintop (the Wintergreen mountaintop, that is!). We have returning favorites and new surprises – all with a focus on celebrating the 20th anniversary of our Academy.
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Here are a few of the details that I just can’t help but spill – even though our Festival Brochure won’t hit your mailboxes for another couple of weeks.
Victor Yampolsky, the fiery Russian maestro and premiere instructor of young conductors across the globe, will be returning for his third year. This summer, he’ll lead a thrilling and stunningly beautiful set of works featuring our Wintergreen Festival Orchestra. The first piece, called Rest, is a string orchestra version of one of the most moving choral pieces I’ve conducted this year: There Will Be Rest, by Frank Tichelli. Give the original composition a listen below. Then, imagine that beauty emanating from our talented strings atop picturesque Wintergreen Mountain. Pair that with the powerful Dvorak Cello Concerto and Shostakovich’s brilliant Symphony No. 9, and you have a program that will inspire all. [Save the date: July 22 at 6:00 pm and 23 at 3:00 pm.]
I met actor, singer, and US Navy reservist Scott Wichmann when he narrated a version of Peer Gynt that I created for the Richmond Symphony. We first went through the script while sitting at my dining room table, and I don’t think I’ve EVER laughed that much. His timing, humor, and care for everything he does is palpable. He is a favorite at Virginia Repertory Theatre and a history buff, and as such it is fitting that he has played John Adams in Fox’s Legends and Lies AND VA Rep’s production of the musical 1776. And, he even had a small role in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. For us, he’s putting together a special cabaret show featuring jovial songs about youth (“Young at Heart,” for example) and hilarious tales of growing up in Massachusetts. I know that you will laugh just as hard as I did that afternoon in my dining room. [Save the date: July 26 at 7:30 pm.]
Finally, just last week, I received the greatest gift a musician could ever receive: a new score! That’s right, Daron Hagen sent me the music to his new work that accompanies Charlie Chaplin’s A Dog’s Life. Having myself just rescued a dog (a BIG 85-pound gentle giant named Bruno), I’m overwhelmed with the honor of bringing this music to life with the film. This year, our third annual movie night will not only feature this new work, but will also open with a world premiere score to Chaplin’s The Vagabond – written by our composition students. If you missed our inaugural movie night, featuring our world premiere performance of Daron Hagen Chaplin’s Tramp, check out the result on Daron’s website! [Save the date: July 28 at 7:30 pm.]