CLASSICAL EVENING IN CHERRY GROVE
by special correspondent Jack Twist
The Cherry Grove Community House was turned over to some of the more serious-minded classical music performers on Saturday, June 9, for an evening that once again proved that Cherry Grove is made up of a myriad of different kinds of people, with diverse interests. Under the capable leadership of Isaac Steven Vaughan, the 9th annual OceanAires, was advertised as #9 with nine performing nine at nine. By the time the program was finalized however, there were 10 compositions represented by 12 performers, but the concert still got underway a bit after 9.
With the always witty and personable Philomena acting as MC, each of the performers was introduced with a brief biographical note of what each one was doing at age 9. After the customary welcome and musical fanfare of Cherry Grove's newly-crowned Homecoming Queen Lola Galore, with a wonderful piano, four-hands arrangement of "God Save the Queen," featuring Isaac Steven Vaughan and Eric Martin at the piano, the program was off and running. Contralto Rosemary Palladino began the concert with the aria from Mendelssohn's Elijah "O rest in the Lord," capably accompanied by Mr. Vaughan at the piano. Pianist Clarence Perry provided a rousing rendition of Aram Khachaturian's "Toccata for Piano." Tenor Chris-Ian Sanchez chose a selection from the Brahms repertoire, "Von ewiger Liebe ('By everlasting love')" from a set of Four Songs, Opus 43. Pianist Eric Martin provided a very sensitive accompaniment to Mr. Sanchez's lovely vocal quality.
Nunzio Sisto selected the 3-movement "Concerto for Bassoon in F," Opus 75, by von Weber, assisted by Mr. Vaughan at the piano. Following Nunzio's outstanding performance, the entire audience was invited to wish him a happy 21st birthday, again with a wonderful piano, four-hands arrangement from Messrs. Vaughan and Martin. The first half of the concert concluded with King Philip's aria from Verdi's Don Carlo, "Ella giammai m'amò." Eric Coyne, in his resonant and resolute basso voice and demeanor, and pianist Rodney Giles were joined in the selection by cellist Kurt Behnke in the aria which features some of the loveliest moments in all of Verdi's operas.
Following intermission, Mr. Behnke returned to the stage with violist Thomas Frenkel and played an unpublished (in his lifetime), but quite complicated, and somewhat humorous Beethoven duet for "Two Eyeglasses," an obvious reference to someone who is losing their vision. Tenor Nathanael St. Cyr selected an aria from Gluck's opera Paride ed Elena, "O del mio dolce ardor." Mr. St. Cyr's clear and furtive singing filled the Community House with Paris' declaration of love for Helen, with Mr. Vaughan providing outstanding assistance at the piano. The duo-pianists for the evening once again took the stage (Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Martin) for a most "touching" rendition of Rachmaninoff's "Barcarolle," Op 11, No. 4. Concluding the program was soprano Marlena de la Mora, who chose "L'altra notte" from Boito's Mefistofele and "Art Is Calling for Me" from Victor Herbert's The Enchantress.
MC Philomena once again introduced each of the performers for a final bow and invited the audience to share in a champagne and Italian pastry reception in the pavilion, thus bringing to conclusion OceanAires 9 for 2007.
Picture attached (group photo at end of concert):
Back row (L to R): Rosemary Palladino, Clarence Perry, Thomas Frenkel, Eric Coyne, Rodney Giles, Kurt Behnke
Front row (L to R): Chris-Ian Sanchez, Isaac Steven Vaughan, Eric Martin, Philomena, Marlena de la Mora, Nathanael St. Cyr
Not pictured: Nunzio Sisto