Celebrate Independence Day at Caramoor! The Westchester Symphonic Winds are back for their annual tribute to America’s independence with a program of works for symphonic winds including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Stars and Stripes Forever, an Ellington Portrait, and a Gershwin medley performed by vocalists Candice Hoyes and Jorell Williams (both alumni of Caramoor’s Bel Canto Young Artist program).
Due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be no fireworks this year in order to prevent exceeding large gathering limitations.
Westchester Symphonic Winds
Curt Ebersole, conductor
Candice Hoyes, soprano
Jorell Williams, baritone
Smith: The Star-Spangled Banner (Arr. by Walter Damrosch/ John Philip Sousa)
Herman: Overture to Mame (arr. by Barton Green)
Sparke: Jubilee Overture
Svanhoe: Barnum and Tesla’s Tandem Bicycle from Steampunk Suite
King: Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite
Ellington: An Ellington Portrait (arr. by Floyd Werle)
Sousa: The Invincible Eagle
Gershwin: I Got Gershwin (Arr. by Matt Podd)
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (Mayhew L. Lake)
Sousa: Stars and Stripes Forever (Keith Brion & Loras Schissel)
Curt Ebersole, conductor / music director
Curt Ebersole has served as the Conductor and Music Director (John P. Paynter Memorial Chair) of the Westchester Symphonic Winds since 2008, fostering its exponential growth over the past 11 years.
He retired from Northern Valley Regional High School (Old Tappan, NJ) in 2013 after serving as Director of Instrumental Music for 31 years. His ensembles were honored with consistent critical accolades, and his instrumental Prism Concerts became a local rite of spring. He now serves on the faculty at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Ebersole earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music in Conducting from Northwestern University, where he studied conducting with John P. Paynter and clarinet with Larry Combs. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Clarinet Performance from SUNY-Purchase, where he studied with Ben Armato.
Ebersole has served as guest conductor for numerous county, regional, all-state, and adult community ensembles across the nation, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Symphony Space, and with the U.S. Army Field Band. He is the founding coordinator of the Music Educators of Bergen County Wind Conducting Symposium. He has served as a clinician at the Midwest Clinic, Temple University Wind Conducting and Teaching Workshops, Florida Music Educators Association Convention, and presented his TED Talk “Framing Failure” at TEDxOneonta in 2017. He is a practitioner of both Positive Psychology and the Harkness Method.
Ebersole’s performance achievements include solo and ensemble performances as both a clarinetist and basset hornist, including principal clarinet of Westchester Symphonic Winds in 1989-1990.
He was selected as the Northern Valley District Teacher of the Year in 1994 and Bergen County Teacher of the Year in 1995. The Mayor and Council of Old Tappan honored him for 20 years of service to the community in 2002. His distinguished awards include a 2003 Master Music Teacher Award from the New Jersey Music Educators Association, a 2003 Governor’s Award in Arts Education., and a 2009 New Jersey Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award. In addition, Yale University honored him with their Distinguished Music Educator Award in 2011.
Ebersole is a native of Lancaster County, PA, and a current resident of White Plains, N.Y. In addition to his busy musical life, he enjoys riding America’s fastest and tallest roller coasters.
Candice Hoyes, soprano
Candice Hoyes is “shap[ing] the artist-cum-activist role” (NPR) as soprano, archivist and producer. Candice is set to release her self-penned EP in July 2021, the follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 album of rare Duke Ellington songs, On a Turquoise Cloud. A multi-genre artist of “breathtaking range” (Vogue), Hoyes is a recipient of the 2021 NYC Creative Arts grant, and 2020 winner of the inaugural NYC Women’s Fund for Film, Music and Media for breakthrough recording
Hoyes is an honors graduate of Harvard University, where she studied sociology and Black Studies. Of Jamaican parentage, she is the first professional musician in her family. Her recent performances include BAM, Detroit Symphony, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Portland Ovations, and 2020 NYC Winter Jazzfest. An exponent of contemporary music, she originated the roles of Helen Gibson (The Summer King), Masha (Four Sisters), and First Spirit in Philip Glass’ radio drama Help!
Most recently, Hoyes returned to Caramoor, where she trained as a Young Artist, to perform the lead soprano in Shirley Graham Dubois’s rare opera Tom-Tom conducted by Kyle Walker. Last season, she performed and produced a recital of Ricky Ian Gordon’s vocal suite Autumn Valentine in collaboration with the composer and baritone Jorell Williams at The Cell. Hoyes has shared the stage and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Lin Manuel-Miranda, and Phillip Glass.
As an activist/producer, she continues her feminist performance lecture series for Jazz at Lincoln Center and CUNY for a fourth season, and is a key collaborator with the Feminist Press, Well Read Black Girl, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in Law, National Black Theatre, Women in Music, and numerous grassroots organizations. As a young artist, she trained at Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival and Nevada Opera.
Her upcoming EP features performances by GRAMMY-award winning producer Sullivan Fortner (Paul Simon, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Dianne Reeves), Casey Benjamin, Joel Ross, Keyon Harrold, and Natasha Diggs. Follow her journey @candicehoyes on all social platforms.
Jorell Williams, baritone
Jorell Williams is an American operatic baritone with a wide variety of experience from standard repertoire to premiere pieces, performing in collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Theater, Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, On-Site Opera, Urban Arias, Opera Columbus, Fort Worth Opera, and Finger Lakes Opera.
Jorell is widely recognized for his concert work, having performed as soloist with Carnegie Hall, Omaha Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, Juneau Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Geneseo Symphony, The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra, Caelis Academy Ensemble, Essential Voices USA, The Little Orchestra Society, Hudson Chorale, National Chorale, and the Harlem Chamber Players.
His career has brought him on tour with the Mark Morris Dance Company, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Chorale Le Chateau, and the Brooklyn Art Song Society. He has also worked alongside some of today’s most versatile artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Damien Sneed, Jon Batiste, David Lang, and most recently, Jennifer Higdon – for her 2017 Grammy nominated World Premiere Opera Cold Mountain with the Santa Fe Opera. Winner of the 2018 Rochester Classical Idol XII Prize and Audience Choice award, Jorell garners top awards from some of the most prestigious competitions in the world, including the American Traditions Competition, Gerda Lissner International Competition, Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, The American Prize, Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, David Adams Art Song Competition, Civic Morning Musicals Foundation, Harlem Opera Competition, National Association of Negro Musicians, and the Liberace Foundation.
He in an alumnus of Caramoor’s Bel Canto Young Artist Program, the Composers and the Voice Program at The American Opera Project, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, and Songfest at Colburn in Los Angeles. He also trained at Santa Fe Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. He is an advocate for artist rights and is a newly appointed artistic council advisor for On-Site Opera and the new music board for the Brooklyn Art Song Society, using his experience to consult with arts organizations on their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.
A Note from the Director
It’s our seventh year at Caramoor! But more importantly, this is our first performance after more than a year’s shutdown due to COVID-19. The pandemic caused trauma for us all on many levels, but losing our weekly connection of making music together was truly unsettling. Returning to this stage today signifies triumph over adversity on more levels than we can describe.
It seemed inappropriate to begin today’s program with a traditional, military-style version of the national anthem. Not only is this our first performance since February 2020, this is likely the first live performance in a very long time for most of our audience members attending today. Because of this, I chose the arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner by Jack Stamp (b. 1954). In his score, Stamp noted that a national anthem should be a citizens’ “love song to their country.” In this spirit, Stamp took a sketch from his earlier arrangement of the anthem and updated it in the days following September 11, 2001. I feel its tone – beginning reverently and ending triumphantly – is especially relevant to open today’s program.
Jubilee Overture, by Philip Sparke (b.1951), sparkles with radiant joy. From its opening brass fanfare, through its quirky and jaunty principal theme, to its buoyant and joyful lyrical theme, this overture is a jewel in the wind band repertoire. Sparke is a British composer with many brass band and wind band works to his credit. His association with the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and US Air Force Band have earned him praise and respect worldwide.
Mame, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (1931-2019) followed Hello, Dolly! as his second mega-hit on Broadway when it was originally produced in 1966, with Angela Lansbury in the title role. A third box office smash, La Cage aux Folles, followed in 1983, breaking more attendance records and culminating in Herman’s third Tony Award, for Lifetime Achievement, in 2009. Mame was the first Broadway show I ever played, in a community production in 1974, and that experience forever defined my perspective of pit orchestra performance. When Barton Green approached me with his offer of an arrangement of the Mame overture, I jumped at the chance. This overture celebrates the joie de vivre that the pandemic stole from our lives, and helps us reclaim that joy today.
The magic of American “Big Top” circuses is woven into our American cultural heritage. For the Westchester Symphonic Winds, this is especially important in 2021, as we had our first re-entry rehearsals in May and June in a circus tent on the grounds of The Masters School, in Dobbs Ferry. Without that tent and the opportunity to rehearse safely outdoors, we would not be performing today. And so it’s very important to feature one of the greatest circus marches ever written, Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite, by Karl L. King (1891-1971). King wrote more circus marches than any other composer, and his aerial waltzes and galops also provided the musical backdrop for America’s finest circus performances.
“Steampunk” refers to a genre of science fiction and fantasy that incorporates technology designs inspired by 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells are just two literary examples of this world. Musically, the Victorian era sounds of clockworks, bicycle bells and horns, and steam technology have found their way into the works of Ives, Sousa, Satie, King, Stravinsky, Weill, Khachaturian, and even Danny Elfman. Erika Svanoe (b.1976) harnessed this musical energy in her Steampunk Suite, and its fourth movement, “Barnum & Bailey’s Tandem Bicycle,” pays clear tribute to the Karl King march we just played, along with “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two).” I invite you to close your eyes and be transported to a wholly different time and place, with tongue-in-cheek planted firmly in place.
It was originally our intent to partner with Caramoor’s celebration of the Harlem Renaissance centennial anniversary last year. So instead, we’ll celebrate 101 years today with the music of Duke Ellington (1899-1974) in this dynamic arrangement by US Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Floyd E. Werle (1929-2010). This musical journey of Ellington favorites includes Azure, I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, Solitude, It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing, Sophisticated Lady, Mood Indigo, Caravan, and In a Sentimental Mood. Join us as we celebrate the centennial with this extraordinary array of toe-tapping tunes!
For the seventh time, Matt Podd has arranged beautiful music for the Westchester Symphonic Winds and our vocal soloists here at Caramoor. This year, we are featuring soprano Candice Hoyes and baritone Jorell Williams in an arrangement of George Gershwin classics, appropriately titled I Got Gershwin. The melodies include an amazing bouquet of tunes we know and love, including Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm, Fascinating Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Strike Up the Band, Our Love is Here to Stay, Embraceable You, and themes from An American in Paris. We hope you’ll enjoy this ingenious new medley, written especially for today’s performance.
Although its origins have nothing to do with the birth of America, Overture “1812” (subtitled “Ouverture Solennelle”) has become synonymous with the battle for which it was named, in which Russia defended itself against the Napoleonic armies of France. Connect battles to cannons, cannons to fireworks, and fireworks to Fourth of July – thus, a musical tradition was born. Arthur Fiedler initiated this tradition with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade in 1974, complete with cannons, church bells, and fireworks. We hope you enjoy our special take on this battle hymn of freedom, which is especially apropos this year as we celebrate our emerging freedom from this pandemic.
We are closing our program tonight with a traditional Fourth of July encore, The Stars and Stripes Forever, by John Philip Sousa. Since an act of Congress in 1987, it is the official National March of the United States of America. What better way is there to end our Fourth of July celebration?
I’d like to thank Ed Lewis, Kathy Schuman, Ellie Gisler, Tim Coffey, and Ed Greer at Caramoor, Matt Podd, Candice Hoyes, Jorell Williams, and the Board of Trustees and members of the Westchester Symphonic Winds for their support for our performance this evening!
Westchester Symphonic Winds
All artists and dates are subject to change and cancellation without notice as we work closely with local health experts and officials. Please note that all performances at Caramoor are in compliance with current New York State Regulations. Read our latest Health & Safety updates.