“It’s hard to believe it’s been two decades already,” commented Gordon Shacklett, cellist and pre-concert commentator with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra (GNSO), “We’ve survived and thrived in an economy that has been challenging, and we’ve significantly added to the growing arts-friendly reputation of Newburgh, Orange County and the Mid-Hudson region. The Newburgh Symphony ‘family’ is also expressing their gratitude to Dr. Woomyung Choe, our conductor, music director, and founder, as he retires at the end of this season. It’s a big year, and we’re celebrating with big music.”
On April 18 and 19, the GNSO, with numerous choruses including the Newburgh Symphonic Chorale, USMA Glee Club, Middletown Concert Chorale, SUNY New Paltz College-Community Chorale, Foxhill Community Youth Choir, and the Mount Saint Mary College Choir will give two performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor Op. 125. “We celebrated our tenth anniversary with performances of Beethoven’s Ninth and it was so well received, we wanted to share it again. Many consider it the greatest piece of music ever written, and it happens to be a personal favorite of Dr. Choe,” said Shacklett, “With over 200 voices and outstanding soloists joining the orchestra, this is going to be one powerhouse of a concert.” Soloists include Kristine Biller , soprano; Ryu-Kyung Kim, mezzo soprano; Jin Hwan Byun, tenor; and Jorge Espino, baritone.
Also on the schedule is another Beethoven work, Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72b 14, “The Leonore Overture is frequently paired with ‘the Ninth’,” said Shacklett, “This is the third version of an overture originally composed for Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, it is an intensely dramatic, full-scale symphonic movement, that will begin the concert.”
The concert will be presented Saturday, April 18 at Newburgh Free Academy, at 7:30 p.m. (Arrive at 6:30 pm to hear Gordon Shacklett’s fascinating concert preview!).
Tickets — Reserved: $30, General: $24, Senior Citizens: $18, Students: admitted free) can be purchased online or at the door.
The Sunday, April 19 performance will take place at Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, 1351 Kings Highway, Sugar Loaf at 3:30 p.m. Regular tickets for this performance are available through Ticketmaster or at www.sugarloafpac.org
“The Sugar Loaf performance also offers a VIP ticket option that include choice seating and admission to a special 20th Anniversary Reception in the summer,” said Shacklett, “VIP tickets are $75 each and are available on the GNSO website.
The April 18th program is funded, in part, by Orange County Tourism and the County of Orange. Details about the 2014 – 2015 season of the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra can be found online at www.newburghsymphony.org or by calling 845-913-7157, and requesting a season brochure.
Shacklett also shared information about another special event taking place prior to the concerts: a special brunch on Sunday, April 12 at the Powelton Club in Newburgh. “The existence of the GNSO, can be attributed to two dedicated men with exceptional vision,” remarked Gordon Shacklett, cellist with the orchestra since its beginning, “George Handler and Dr. Woomyung Choe saw the opportunity, and were successful in bringing together the musicians, board, and volunteers.” Handler and Choe will be honored at this second annual Spring Brunch, featuring music, a silent auction, and sumptuous food. “This benefit will help the Newburgh Symphony continue their growth in outreach and in special programs, such as January’s highly successful Disney multi-media concert,” said Shacklett. Information and tickets are available on the Newburgh Symphony’s website.