Gershwin at Landis

By Chandra Burkhart

A stormy morn­ing filled with tor­ren­tial down­pours, thun­der, and light­ning gave way to cool­er tem­per­a­tures and a crys­tal blue sky: per­fect weath­er for a sum­mer con­cert at the Meet­ing House.

A crowd of over fifty peo­ple gath­ered to hear the Upper Catskill String Quar­tet play the music of com­pos­er George Gershwin.

The UCSQ began with an ear­ly piece of Gershwin’s Rial­to Ripples’”(1917) and played selec­tions in chrono­log­i­cal order, cul­mi­nat­ing in his Some­one to Watch Over Me” (1929). Each mem­ber of the Quar­tet took turns speak­ing before each piece they played to give the audi­ence infor­ma­tion about Gershwin’s – all too brief — life and work.

The Quartet’s cel­list, Robert Gos­selink, retired from SUNY Cobleskill as the direc­tor of music almost 20 years ago and began to pur­sue his inter­est in the cel­lo. He stat­ed that the Gersh­win pro­gram was select­ed for the Lan­dis audi­ence. The Quar­tet has played a wide range of reper­toire at the Arbore­tum for sev­er­al years now, start­ing when the Meet­ing House was just a wood­en, bare-bones struc­ture. Robert said the acoustics have improved.
Ali­son McMa­hon fell in love with the vio­la around the age of eight and has been play­ing ever since. She said that play­ing at Lan­dis is like play­ing at the top of the world,” a ref­er­ence to the panoram­ic view of the Schoharie Val­ley from the Meet­ing House. 

Vio­lin­ist John DeValve was a for­mer orches­tra direc­tor and a cur­rent mem­ber of the Sch­enec­tady Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra. He said that he enjoys per­form­ing at the Arbore­tum because of the appre­cia­tive response of the audi­ence. He stat­ed that Lan­dis has the largest turnout of all the venues they frequent.

Beth Bran­del plays the vio­lin and holds a Master’s Degree in Music Edu­ca­tion. She has played as a mem­ber and as a soloist with cham­ber orches­tras, includ­ing per­for­mances at Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Cen­ter. She loves Lan­dis’ wide open sky and rolling hills.

Most of the con­cert goers were return vis­i­tors for the UCSQ. Even younger, first-time atten­dees said they rec­og­nized some of the music – since Gershwin’s music has become part of our Amer­i­can her­itage. The ages of audi­ence mem­bers var­ied sig­nif­i­cant­ly, but the move­ment of heads and feet in time with the famil­iar tunes did not.

Fall 2019

Volume 37 , Number 3

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