Albany Symphony plays to hundreds on the canal in Brockport

By on July 17, 2017
The Albany Symphony performing from a barge in the Erie Canal in Brockport on Saturday, July 7. K. Gabalski photo

The Albany Symphony performing from a barge in the Erie Canal in Brockport on Saturday, July 7. K. Gabalski photo

Albany Symphony Music Director David Alan Miller promised “the most spectacular night on earth,” and the Albany Symphony delivered with a “Water Music New York” performance to remember Friday evening, July 7, in Brockport.

While the sun set and the nearly full moon rose, the Symphony played from a barge docked in the Erie Canal at the Welcome Center.

The audience watched from both sides of the canal as well as from boats in the water and enjoyed selections from Handel’s “Water Music,” the world premiere of “Canal Tales” by Loren Loiacono, and music by American composers including Aaron Copland and John Williams.

The concert was part of the “Water Music New York” tour celebrating the bicentennial of the beginning of the construction of the Erie Canal. The Symphony traveled from Albany to Lockport from July 2 through July 8. The concert in Brockport was the only stop made in Monroe County.

The tour featured the work of emerging composers who immersed themselves in canal communities and created new compositions in partnership with local arts groups and the Albany Symphony.

The Brockport concert featured a three-movement piece by Loren Loiacono (who is still in her 20’s) performed with William Hullfish and the Golden Eagle String Band and Mariah Maloney and the College at Brockport’s Department of Dance.

William Hullfish and the Golden Eagle String Band perform with the Albany Symphony. K. Gabalski photo

William Hullfish and the Golden Eagle String Band perform with the Albany Symphony. K. Gabalski photo

Loiacono attended the concert and said she drew inspiration both from the historic musical repertoire of the Golden Eagle String Band as well as, “the incredibly rich history of Brockport.”

The first movement or tale, “Canawlers” was inspired by the, “canal workers whose labor built the canal,” Loiacono said.  It included the spoken words of a rhyming taunt shouted by local children at the workers during the canal’s construction.

The second tale, “Long Level”  portrayed a muggy summer evening (complete with the “buzzing” of mosquitos) on a passenger vessel carrying tourists who came to see the, “engineering marvel.”

The village itself was portrayed in the third tale entitled, “ … and musing, I scarcely know of what.”  Loiacono said the movement captured the hustle and bustle of the village as well as its residents including well known author Mary Jane Holmes and human rights crusader Fannie Barrier Williams.

The concert was free and supported by a Market NY grant from Empire State Development’s Division of Tourism.

Organizers said the vision of Water Music New York was to call attention to the revitalization along New York’s waterway communities, increase tourism, and leverage the power of the arts across New York State and beyond.

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