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A NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM FROM THE VYO

VYO banner Vermont Youth Orchestra Winter Concert
MVU Theater, Highgate
Saturday January 29, 2000, at 7:30 p.m.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra returns to the MVU stage Saturday, January 29, 2000, with a tribute to Aaron Copland entitled A New Birth of Freedom. The VYO concert is hosted by the All Arts Council of Franklin County and presented by media sponsors the St Albans Messenger and WWSR/WLFE radio.
      A New Birth of Freedom features music commemorating the battle for political liberty throughout the world. In keeping with its tribute to Aaron Copland, the VYO will perform Copland's Lincoln Portrait, a moving tribute to America's sixteenth president. Beethoven's Egmont Overture honors a Dutch hero's fight for freedom from Spanish conquerors. The Polovtsian Dances by Borodin, one of the most popular works in the orchestral repertoire, evokes the exotic world of an Asian tribe struggling for independence from Czarist Russia.
      "This concert season is really exciting for us at the VYO because we are doing a season long tribute to Aaron Copland." said Troy Peters, music director for the Vermont Youth Orchestra. "The year 2000 is the centennial of his birth, so in celebration of that we have programmed a major work of Copland's at each concert and are spending the whole year exploring his music and his life. The kids are getting to know the pieces and his life story. It's a great opportunity for them to get to know well one of America's greatest composers."
      One of Copland's most popular pieces is the Lincoln Portrait, a stirring narration of the words of Abraham Lincoln, including excerpts from the Gettysburg Address, with strong orchestral music behind them. Written in 1942, the Lincoln Portrait stresses the idea that out of struggle and conflict can come a "new birth of Freedom."
      "This program has music by other composers that reflect the theme of the 'Lincoln Portrait,'" Peters said of Beethoven's Egmont and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances which are also on the program.
      Lamoraal, Graaf van Egmont was a leader of the opposition in the Dutch struggle against the Spanish Inquisition of Dutch Calvinists in the Low Countries. Although the northern provinces eventually won independence from Spain, Egmont was executed for treason in 1568. Goethe dramatized the story in the play, Egmont.
      Beethoven's middle period is marked by the his excitement with "any music about heroism, freedom and struggle. He was a real fan of the heroic individual," Peters said. Works like the earlier Third Symphony (Eroica) are straight, bang-'em-up heroism, while Beethoven adds serenity in the later Egmont and the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth symphonies. "Egmont has bad guys, darkness and foreboding, battle music, and a happy ending," he said.
      Aleksandr Borodin began the Polovtsian Dances for his Prince Igor opera. A distinguished professor of chemistry at the Medico-Surgical Academy and the son of a Georgian prince, Borodin steadfastly used Russian folk music in his work, but after 18 years of effort he never finished the Prince Igor opera. Rimsky-Korsakov orchestrated the Polovtsian Dances suite from that opera at Borodin's request. Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Fokine danced the lead roles in the Dances in the opening season of the Ballet Russe.
      Three VYO members will appear as soloists, filling the program with colorful, melodic selections. The Concerto in G major for Two Flutes by Cimarosa will be performed by Laura Hamel, a home schooled senior from Hyde Park, and Shannon Wheel, a senior at Colchester High School. Both Laura and Shannon study privately with Berta Frank. Nicholas Strebendt, a senior at Plattsburgh High School, will perform the Trombone Concerto by Gr ndahl. Nicholas studies with Michael Nystoriak.
      The VYO seats 92 top student musicians from Vermont and northern New York this year. Musicians from Franklin County include Amy Branagan, violin, of St. Albans, Anne Clark, violin, of East Fairfield, Heather Davis, horn, of Richford, Malikah Fulton, viola, of Georgia, Elisabeth Lauffer, violin, of Enosburg Falls, Morgan Pollitt, violin, of Fairfax, Nicole Rawding, flute, of St. Albans, and Rebecca Snyder, violin, of Georgia.
      The MVU Art Department will exhibit a diverse collection including a series of mosaics by high school students with a variety of themes from baseball to bands to (Thunder)birds. The MVU band, with the generous assistance of Pam's Pizza in Swanton and TBA, will host the VYO musicians for a buffet dinner before the concert.
      The Vermont Youth Orchestra Freedom concerts will be presented only at MVU on January 29 and at the Flynn Theater in Burlington on January 30.
      Tickets for the mvu performance cost $5 for adults; students and seniors are free. Tickets are available at Jukebox CDs and Tapes in St Albans, Spears Pharmacy in Enosburg Falls, Swanton Rexall in Swanton, from most AAC members, from the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association (658-4708), and at the door.
      The VYO will also present A New Birth of Freedom at the Flynn Theater on Sunday, January 30, at 3 p.m. Senator Patrick Leahy will narrate the Lincoln Portrait. Tickets at the Flynn are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens, available at the Flynn box office or from the VYO. The VYO's Flynn series is underwritten by Vermont National Bank.

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