Atlantic County Pops to incorporate visual arts in summer concert

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Laura Stetser /Alec Alleva, 16, of Egg Harbor Township is a cello player for the band Laura Stetser /Alec Alleva, 16, of Egg Harbor Township is a cello player for the band

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP  When the Atlantic County Pops Community Band presents its free summer concert on Wednesday, July 23, the musicians will be joined by a visual artist for the first time since its inception in 2010.

The “Celebrating Mother Earth” concert will feature Cygnus Creative Arts Centre’s resident artist Stephen Gibson who will do a live sketching as the band performs Aaron Copland’s bold and familiar "Appalachian Spring" under the direction of Emily Threinen, a conductor and educator from Temple University.

Laura Stetser/The Pops return with a free summer concert on Wednesday, July 23 in Egg Harbor Township Laura Stetser/The Pops return with a free summer concert on Wednesday, July 23 in Egg Harbor Township

 The incorporation of different modes of art is one of the missions of Cygnus, according Mark Kadetsky, one of the center’s board members and the director of the Pops.

“This will be a try artist experience,” he said during the band’s rehearsal on Tuesday, July 15. “It is our mission to integrate art with dance and music. We normally have the Cygnus dancers perform with us, so this will be a first.”

 Band member and clarinet player Andrea Dixon of Mays Landing said having Gibson present his vision of the music will make it more accessible to the audience.

 “We have some people who will attend the concert that aren’t as musically-inclined. This will help them relate better to the music. It helps them visualize it.”

 Ross Holman of Little Egg Harbor, a trumpet player in the band, said he expects the artist to enhance the music.

“What a band tries to do is to portray musically a picture or a feeling,” Holman explained. “This time the audience will be able to see an artist’s interpretation of what we are portraying musically.”

 The band is a multigenerational group, comprised of retirees, working adults ranging from music teachers to doctors, and student musicians as young as middle schoolers.

 Alec Alleva, 16, of Egg Harbor Township is a cello player for the band. He will be a junior this year at Egg Harbor Township High School and has been a member of the community band for four years.

He said the experience of the 85-member band has taught him how to play for others.

 “Your sound doesn’t matter as much as how it sounds within the group,” he said. “It’s the overwhelming sound of the band that is what’s important.”

 The concert also allows its members to have access to top-tier guest conductors, Kadetsky said. This time it is Threinen, Temple University’s Director of Bands, who will be joining them for the fourth year to lead the Pops in a variety of selections celebrating the planet.

Highlights of her trip to the podium will also include “The Mother Earth Fanfare” by contemporary composer David Maslanka.

 Kadetsky will also share the podium with area music educators Ben Fong from the Reeds Roads School in Galloway who will conduct the theme from “2001, A Space Odyssey,” and Jon Porco of Absegami High School who will conduct Steven Reineke’s Defying Gravity.

As a patriotic salute, vocalists Mallory Paone, Dawn Gadon, Andrea Zackheim, Matthew and Rebecca Guerrassio and Michael Testa of Florida will perform a medley of songs to honor all branches of our military.

 Other musical selections will include “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “In Heavens Air” by Samuel Hazo, “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin and “Hands Across the Sea” by John Philip Sousa.

If You Go:

Cygnus Creative Arts Centre

Egg Harbor Township Community Center

5045 English Creek Avenue Egg Harbor Township

Wednesday, July 23

Doors open at 6:30pm

Concert begins at 7:00pm.

Free admission

Donations accepted, with door prizes offered

Call 609-272-1199


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