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originally published: 09/12/2022

(WESTFIELD, NJ) — New Jersey Festival Orchestra is back on October 1st with another outdoor concert at Westfield featuring music by Gershwin, Copland and more, and a special appearance by renowned NY Metropolitan Opera baritone Stephen Gaertner.

Maestro David Wroe, music director and conductor of Westfield’s professional orchestra, said he is delighted to present “From Olden American Times” in the gardens of one of Westfield’s most beautiful mansions.

“We are thrilled to be able to squeeze in one last outdoor concert. The Hertell Gardens ‘experience’ – under the stars, an acre of bucolic grounds, theatrically lit, acoustically enhanced sound, one of Westfield’s grandest mansions as a backdrop – is back by popular demand for the ultimate outdoor buzz. Come catch one of the last summer sunsets with an unforgettable artistic and social experience and celebration for the whole family.”

The NJ Festival Orchestra will present the outdoor concert at Westfield on October 1st

October 1 will present a “folk touch” Americana program featuring the Appalachian flavors of Copland’s Old American songsGershwin’s Porgy and Bessie Fantasy even shepherds, gavottes and tarantellas from Stravinsky.

American baritone Stephen Gaertner, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007, will join the NJFO to perform a number of Copland’s best-loved songs that capture the grandeur and intimate details of American life and legend including “The Boatmen’s Dance,” “Long Time Ago,” “Simple Gifts,” and “I Bought Me a Cat,” and more. These songs make up some of the most popular and beloved classical music of our time—whether in the concert hall or in popular culture.

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With the change of tempo, the orchestra will also present Gershwin’s Porgy and Bessie The fantasy features a host of moving, memorable melodies, not to mention powerful and dramatic instrumental interludes, from perhaps America’s greatest folk opera. Audiences will be enthralled by the orchestral sounds of “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily That Way,” “I Got Plenty O’Nuttin,” “My Man’s Gone Now” and more, from one of the most iconic American works of the 20th Century. .

“This is music for America’s musical Constitution – “… of the people, by the people, for the people.” enthused Wroe.

The concert, made possible in part by the NJ State Arts Council, will be professionally staged and lit.

“This concert will be another phenomenal event,” said NJ Festival Orchestra Board President Keith S. Hertell. “We transform my basics to create a fully professional outdoor performance experience. We build a symphony stage to accommodate 30 to 40 musicians and conceptualize a “mode” for each piece with exciting lighting. We bring sound enhancement technology to evenly distribute the sounds of the orchestra across the field. It is a huge undertaking and we are deeply grateful to the NJ State Council on the Arts for their support.”

If you go: The show on Saturday 1st October starts at 19:00. Bring your lawn chairs and refreshments to NJFO Board President Keith S. Hertell’s backyard patio at 241 E. Dudley Avenue in Westfield. Patrons are welcome to arrive as early as 5pm to set up and enjoy the sunset. VIP seats are available for those who wish to take advantage of limited access to a reserved section of NJFO chair seating provided close to the stage.

The NJ Festival Orchestra will present the outdoor concert at Westfield on October 1st

Yifei Xu, a concert pianist who performs with the orchestra, will offer an optional free pre-concert lecture at 6pm in the back garden. Her talk is an informative and engaging way to learn more about the program and the composers on offer.

Free street parking and full access available.

Tickets ($40 for lawn general admission, $85 for VIP reserved seating, chairs provided) can be purchased online at www.njfestivalorchestra.orgby phone (908) 232-9400 or in person at the NJFO office, 224 East Broad Street in Westfield.

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