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Westchester Band Concert July 1 in Chase Park

The Westchester Band will hold their second concert of the season, on Thursday July 1 at 8pm in Chase Park. Professor Alan Hollander will lead the 75-member band in music to celebrate the Fourth of July. Joining the band for this concert will be the Hudson Voices, a 12-voice ensemble from Rockland County, under the direction of Vincent Green. This year marks the 41st anniversary of these free concerts under the stars.

During the concert, there will be a contest where members of the audience will be asked to guess the name of a “mystery tune.” The contest winner will receive a prize donated by one of Scarsdale’s local merchants.

The weather reports looks good for Thursday, so everyone is encouraged to come out and celebrate Independence Day with an evening of wonderful music right in the heart of Scarsdale. In the event of inclement weather the concert will be held at Edgemont High School.

Fine Arts Festival Comes to Scarsdale

Scarsdale Village was an art lover’s dream on Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20 when it hosted the first Scarsdale Fine Arts Festival.  Approximately 90 international artists exhibited their work, which included:  sculpture, painting, photography, jewelry, fiber and ceramics.  The festival featured an array of artists who differ in their media, styles and background.

One of the exhibitors, Julia Gilmore, a painter from Toronto, Canada,  uses oil paint on a black canvas and palette knives, rather than brushes.   She prefers to begin with a black canvas because it automatically feels “full”, and she feels that empty space on a white canvas appears unfinished.  Gilmore says of her work, “I paint simple everyday life because I find beauty everywhere.  I paint what I know.”  Her paintings are representational images with a strong use of color.  She utilizes the still life format, often found in traditional paintings, with a contemporary flair. Gilmore is represented by U.S. galleries and her work is featured in a number of private and corporate collections.

 Another artist, Peter Stolvoort, is inspired by his surroundings.  Originally from Holland, Stolvoort currently lives in a coastal town in Virginia on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay.   Stolvoort paints landscapes, including seascapes.   For his work, Stolvoort likes to walk near his home and create rough sketches. Upon returning to his studio with the sketch he utilizes a technique he calls “mind mapping”; he draw on his memory of the scene– including his emotions and observations. Stolvoort often will construct a poem at this time to better capture the emotion of the experience.  He then begins the painting process.  He begins with a rough outline on the canvas and then pours paint onto the canvas. Stolvoort says, “with my paintings, I try to convey an emotion, a moment in time, a feeling, and/or a memory.”

Sculptor Nnamdi Okonkwo displayed his large bronze sculptures at the show and told us that one of his large works will be installed this week in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue where it has been selected to stand in front of a high rise condominium building in Harlem called “Fifth on the Park.”  Originally from Nigeria, Okonkwo has a degree in painting and was recruited to come to the United States to play college basketball for BY-Hawaii. In Hawaii healso  obtained a BFA in Sculpture.  He now works full time in his studio in Fayetteville, Georgia. You can learn more about his work on his website.

Acrylic sculptor Michael George pours and cast colors into his medium to create vibrant works. He was on a nationwide tour and headed from Scarsdale to California.  Watch a video explaining how he works here.

 Paul Shatz traveled to Scarsdale from Charlestown, South Carolina where he takes striking black and white photographs of Southern landscapes.  View his work at: http://paulshatz.com/index.html

Other artists hailed from closer by.  Jeweler Deborah Armstrong designs and produces sterling silver and 18K gold jewelry, some embedded with colorful gemstone accents.  Her work is worn by well-known women like Halle Berry, Jennifer Connelly, Faith Hill, Diane Sawyer, Sharon Stone and Vanessa Williams.  Armstrong in based in Greenwich, CT and you can view her work here.

 The event was produced by Paragon Art Events in conjunction with the Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce. The event drew a crowd to Scarsdale Village and offered a unique opportunity to meet and learn from artists about their work and their process.  The artists, themselves, also benefited from the chance to display their work and gain exposure. Bill Kinney of Paragon was pleased with the turnout and sales and hopes to repeat the show next year.

Some were not pleased with the results of staging such a large show on Father’s Day weekend.  Several retailers saw their weekend business plummet, as residents were unable to park and purchase gifts for dads and grads.  In addition, display tents blocked some store windows and doors, making it difficult for customers to see or gain access to retailers.  Chase Park was not utilized, and perhaps placing exhibitors in the park, rather than the street, could alleviate some of the problems in the future.

Lewis Arlt, President of the Scarsdale Chamber of Commerce conceded that the show layout was not optimal and that the beautiful weekend weather may have actually hampered attendance as residents opted to play golf, go to the pool or travel. For next year, they plan to, “put booths back-to-back down the center of Spencer Place, removing the issue of booths being in front of businesses. This will give visitors to the community visibility to both the merchants and the art patrons simultaneously. For 2011, we will consider options for a different date, most likely one in May.”

However, in his words, “the quality and professionalism of the show was exceptional, far exceeding our expectations. In talking with Paragon, reports from the artists indicate that even with the hot and humid weather producing light crowds, those coming to the event bought artwork. Two dimensional work and sculpture were especially well received. Advertising brought people to Scarsdale from NYC and distant parts of Westchester and Connecticut. One of the sculptors made a delivery of three big pieces to a private residence in Westport on Saturday evening. Another indication was overhearing people on the streets calling family and friends on their cell phones describing the beauty and quality of the work, encouraging them to come to the event.”

According to Arlt, “Our goal is to run a smooth event that is positive for all, and obviously avoiding last minute changes contributes to success. If we can increase awareness, good will and purchasing power to the village, we will have served the Chamber of Commerce's mission statement well.”

This article was written by Julia Morris with photographs by Dana Salzman. Both are students at Scarsdale High School.

Free Summer Theatre Program for High School Students

altThis summer marks the debut of Free Theatre, a five-week program for high school students that is free of cost to all participants. Founded by Scarsdale resident, teacher and director Betsy Hooper, and sponsored by the White Plains Youth Bureaus, Free Theatre offers high school students the opportunity to spend summer evenings working onstage or backstage in a full-scale theatre production. “For the kids,” says Hooper, “the only cost is their commitment.”

Hooper and other theatre professionals are donating their time and expertise because of their belief in the value of being part of a theatre experience. “Being part of a production is like being part of a sports team,” Hooper explains. “It encourages kids to be responsible to something larger than themselves, helps them build confidence and uncover their own creativity.”

Students who join Free Theatre this summer can act, play music or work backstage on set design, lighting design or costumes.

Free Theatre will be held at the Mamaroneck Avenue School in White Plains, Monday through Thursday from 7 pm - 9pm. The program runs from July 6th to August 6th with performances on August 5th and 6th. Auditions for roles will be held on June 30th and July 1st at 7:30.

There will be a meeting for all interested students and parents on June 10 at 7:30 at the Mamaroneck Avenue School in the auditorium.

Ms. Hooper has been a director of youth theatre in Westchester for nearly 25 years. She has been program director of the Purchase College Summer Youth Playwrights Program, theatre director at Hastings High School and is currently the drama teacher at the Windward School.

For more information about Free Theatre, call the White Plains Youth Bureau at 914-422-1378 ext. 2104 or email freetheatrewestchester@gmail.com.

The Woman Behind the Tony Awards

The 2010 Tony Awards, the most coveted awards for achievement in the theatre, will be broadcast this Sunday night from 8:00 to 11:00 pm on CBS. The show will be hosted by Sean Hayes, who is now starring in Promises, Promises and is well known for his role on “Will and Grace.” The Tony Awards will feature performances from many of the top shows on Broadway and offer viewers the chance to sample this season’s theatre offerings without leaving home.

Scarsdale resident Jan Svendsen has been behind the scenes producing the show for the past 11 years in her role as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Broadway League. Svendsen is excited about the show on Sunday and encourages all Scarsdale residents to tune in. Here is her story:

Where did you grow up and how many years have you lived in Scarsdale?

I grew up in Los Angeles, then lived in London and Oslo and moved to Scarsdale in 1989.

What is your official title and role on the Tony Awards?


I am the Chief Marketing Officer for the Broadway League (producer of the Tony Awards and trade association for the Broadway industry) and this is my 11th Tony Awards. I help to produce the show by running all the marketing, advertising, promotions, sponsorships and media relations.

How many years have you worked for the League? And how did you end up there?

I have been working on Broadway for 11 years. I was 'recruited' to work here after a career at Ogilvy Advertising.

Describe what you do to put the show together?

It takes a Village to produce a primetime network live special like the Tonys. There are hundreds of casts and crew from the nominated shows. There are hundreds of folks that work at White Cherry Entertainment, our production company and hundreds more from Radio City Music Hall, CBS and behind the scenes. In addition to the Tonys, our executive producers, Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirschner have produced some of the biggest shows on TV such as Super Bowl Halftime shows, Democratic conventions, Obama's Inaguration, the Emmys, The American Music Awards, The County Music Awards and many more!

What do you enjoy about it?

I think the Tonys are really the most "entertaining" award show on TV. The Oscars are all about celebs. The Golden Globes are all about 'drunk celebs'. The Emmys are about the awards. The Grammys are about some unique performances. But the Tonys...they have the BEST entertainment and it is very diverse. From rock like Green Day to Sinatra. And we have some of the biggest names in Hollywood performing such as : Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johannsson, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Jude Law and many more!.

What are the highlights of this year’s show?

Big stars … lots of musical numbers and a performance by Green Day! And my personal favorite ...a performance from the cast of Glee (yes, I confess, I am a "gleek")

If readers can only go to a few shows this year, which ones would you recommend?

There is such diversity on Broadway these days so it really depends upon what you are into and whatever that is...you are likely to find it on the boards this year. I love "all my children" so I can't really say which show is my favorite, but I will tell you that certain shows have made an indelible mark in my life, such as: Rent, Next to Normal and Hamlet, to name a few.

How can people save money on Broadway tickets?

When one compares going to theatre and going to a sporting event the prices aren't really that different. There are many programs that we run to encourage folks to come to the theatre that provide discounts, such as: Kids Night on Broadway in the winter and Back2Broadway in the fall.

Anything else you want to add?

I love my job. I love the theatre. And I love being able to help others experience the world of Broadway. I love stepping out of my office door into the heart of Times Square and feeling that incredible energy and vibe. I love sitting in my seat before a show and feeling that sense of anticipation. And most of all, I love the feeling of being connected that one experiences in the theatre...connection to the actors, the music, the story, the other audience members....yeah, that is really the defining thing for me ... that feeling of 'connection'!

Watch the Tony Awards on CBS
Sunday Night June 13, 2010
8 PM – 11 PM
Visit: http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/index.html

Laramie Project at Edgemont High School

On Friday, May 28 Edgemont students will be presenting The Laramie Project at 7 p.m. at Edgemont High School. This is a controversial and moving drama about the gay-bashing murder several years ago of teen Matthew Sheppard in Laramie, Wyoming. Because of its sensitive subject matter, very few high schools in the U.S. have allowed their kids to put on this show. The show is being performed by Players Edge, a student-run actors ensemble at Edgemont High School and is being directed by Edgemont senior Danny Bernstein.

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