This summer St. Mary’s faculty, students, and the Chesapeake Orchestra came together on the Greens under the direction of Professor Jeffrey Silberschlag for the 14th annual River Concert Series. The outdoor concerts take place every Friday evening and have brought prestige and culture to Southern Maryland since 1999; the series appeals to all ages with a wide repertoire from many different genres. This summer’s concert schedule brought the same variety by featuring composers such as Richard Wagner, George Gershwin, and John Williams with guest artists from all over the world.
The first performance of the season on July 22 was called “A Little Bit of Gypsy” and included pieces with an Eastern European flair and two guest artists from very different places: Jessica and Katelyn Lyons, two talented young girls from Southern Maryland; and Edita Randova, an acclaimed Czech mezzosoprano who sang Dvorak’s “Gypsy Songs Op. 55” in the original Czech. Concert number two on July 29th titled “The Perfect 10!” featured some recognizable and popular pieces such as the main theme from Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel. The third and most popular concert of the summer was on July 6th and celebrated “That Independent Feeling!” that comes with the Fourth of July. Fireworks accompanied works such as the “1812 Overture” by Piotr Tchaikovsky and the score from “Superman” by John Williams.
The fourth concert on July 13th included choral director Larry Vote and members of the SMCM choir and chamber singers in conjunction with talented singers from area high schools. Silberschlag himself also performed a George Frideric Handel trumpet solo. As a nod to the fears of the December apocalypse, the fifth concert was called “A Wagnerian Finale for 2012 (In Case the Mayans Are Right!)” and opened and closed the concert with epic works by Wagner, “Tristan and Isolde – Prelude and Liebestod” and “Gotterdammerung: Siegfried’s Death and Funeral Music.”
The final concert of the season ended another successful summer for the Chesapeake Orchestra with Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite 1919” and “Super Sax” by Charlie Parker that featured Don Stapleson, Jazz teacher at St. Mary’s.
“The series was again very successful,” said Silberschlag. “The orchestra played particularly beautifully…the only issue, if there was one, was the weather.”
“Despite some of the worst weather we’ve ever seen, we had a great turnout and a lot of support from the community,” said Adam Goldberg, senior and cellist who played in the series.