BENNINGTON -- The Sage City Symphony, now in its 40th season, continues to make an investment in the musicians, composers and actors of tomorrow with its annual youth concert.
Slated for this Sunday at 4 p.m., the concert is under the music direction of conductor Michael Finckel, who has lead the symphony for his 21 years. The concert will be held in Bennington College's Greenwall Auditorium at the VAPA building, and is free and open to the public.
Each year the orchestra performs with local youth groups to support those interested in the musical arts. This year the symphony will perform with the Bennington Children's Chorus under the direction of Kerry Ryer-Parke. The two groups perform Giovanni Pergolese's (1710-1736) "Stabat Mater."
This year's concert changes up the traditional formula by incorporating short scenes from the Shakespeare comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by the North Bennington Children's Shakespeare Theater, which is in its 10th year, between songs by the symphony.
The actors will perform during the Felix Mendelssohn section of the concert. Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed incidental music in 1844 for "Midsummer," some of which the symphony will perform Sunday.
"(The concert) takes a variety of shapes," said Judy Ensign, of Sage City Symphony.
Students from Mount Anthony Union High School and the Long Trail School wrote seven of the songs to be performed this weekend as part of the Young Composer's Project, which is in its fifth year. These include: "Metallic Characters (The Unrivaled Epics)" by Nolan Downey; "Artemis' Legacy," by Darius Carey; and "An Epic Journey" and "Annabel's Waltz" by Katianna Nardone -- all students at MAUHS.
Sage City Symphony will premiere "The Passage" by Isaiah Barnard, "E Minor Symphony" by Spencer Kristiansen, and "Tales from the Mire" by Collin Campagne -- all students at the Long Trail School in Dorset.
"There was a Bennington College composing intern Robert Singley who five years ago presented this idea to our conductor, Mike Finckle, and it was funded provisionally. He logged many miles going to different area schools find students. We had a very successful first year, I think we had eight participating students," Sage City Symphony manager Gail Smith said.
The program alternates annually between college students and high school students. This year the mentor for the program is Robert Zimmerman, a Bennington resident and artist associate in classical bass at Williams College.
"The children work with a mentor and he helps them with their composition, with their instrumentation and then the finished project is brought to us and we premiere the works it's recorded -- there's a nice CD that's produced in support of college applications," Smith said.