From March 2017:
"The orchestra, choruses, soloists and Eric Jacobsen were all marvelous. My father would have been extremely pleased, I'm sure."
-- Alexander Bernstein
BERNSTEIN AT 99! brings down the house at The Klein
Chichester Psalms and West Side Story Symphonic Suite anchored a great evening of music at The Klein on March 18. The concert also included Ravel's Tzigane(soloist our own Deborah Wong) and Debussy's Nocturnes. GBS was pleased to welcome voices from the Connecticut Chamber Choir and the Fairfield County Children's Choir for this extraordinary concert. Concert week was full of activity, as usual -- including an open rehearsal at Bridgeport's Bassick High School, visits to two Bridgeport elementary schools, and a TV appearance with Eric Jacobsen and his wife, singer/songwriter Aoife O'Donovan.
Bernstein at 99! was sponsored by Peoples United Bank.
GBS reaches out to bridgeport High school students
"OPEN REHEARSAL" CONCERT FOR BASSICK HIGH STUDENTS, MARCH 16
GBS is a proud partner in education in Bridgeport. On March 16 -- two days before Bernstein at 99! at The Klein -- GBS played Bernstein's West Side Story Symphonic Suite and Debussy Nocturnes for honor students and special education class in the auditorium at Bassick High School in Bridgeport. "This is an important part of our mission -- to educate the youth of Greater Bridgeport -- and it's a return to our roots," said GBS President Jean Moffitt. "In the earliest days of our organization, our orchestra performed in Bridgeport high schools, and it changed lives. We want to continue that proud tradition." Indeed, GBS -- in its original iteration, as the "Bridgeport Symphony" (a WPA Arts Project), GBS brought great music to the auditorium at Central High School in the late 1930s. In this anniversary year, GBS is thrilled to be able to share our music with today's youth.
From December 2016:
A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING!
GBS TEAMS WITH GBYO FOR LA BOHEME AT THE KLEIN.
"Worth going out in any kind of weather to see!"
Despite sloggy winter weather, GBS played to a nearly full house on Saturday, December 17 with a rousing, emotional performance of Puccini's great La Boheme at The Klein in Bridgeport. Graced with the formidable talents of soloists Laquita Mitchell (Mimi), David Blalock (Marcello), Ariadne Greif (Musetta), Alexander Elliott (Rodolfo), Benjamin Bloomfield (Colline), and Thomas Woodman (Schaunard -- a resident of Fairfield!), GBS thrilled its audience after 15+ hours of rehearsal the previous week. Eric Jacobsen also welcomed the Principal Orchestra of GBYO to the stage. In a surprise appearance (the first time GBYO has performed at a regular season concert with GBS in over three decades), the upper strings, brass, wind and percussion sections of GBYO marched in as the Stage Band, (rescuing the Bohemians from paying their dinner tab), to the delight of the large audience in attendance. Seventy-five GBYO musicians then joined GBS on stage for Act IV of the opera, plus a grand rendition of Bizet's Farandole from L'Arlesienne Suite #2, better known at this time of year as the Christmas carol This Great Day. Jacobsen sprinkled Silent Night, The Festive Sounds of Hanukkah, Joy to the World and What Child is This into the program; the latter piece was performed by 16-year-old soloist Julian Shively of Trumbull, winner of GBS' 2016 Young Instrumentalists' Competition. Shively is also principal cellist for GBYO.
"We're so glad we braved the weather," said one newcomer to GBS. "We know, now, that we don't have to go all the way into New York City to experience great music."
From November 2016:
more than 1000 attend gbs goes to the movies
A huge audience heard guest conductor Ted Sperling conduct the music of the movies on November 12, accompanied by stills from over twenty different motion pictures. Ted's commentary added to the night, as he related his experiences in film and theatre to the music presented. The crowd thrilled to a wide variety of music, from Beethoven to John Williams, Scott Joplin to Pietro Mascagni, from movies such as Gone With the Wind, The King's Speech, The Godfather III, Raging Bull, The Pink Panther, The Sting, Crossing Delancey, Platoon, Fantasia, Schindler's List, Star Wars, and many, many more. Lucky concertgoers were given boxes of GBS popcorn on exiting The Klein, complete with prizes inside. We saw a lot of young, new faces in the crowd. Come back and see us again!
From September 2016:
CONCERT WEEK IS ALWAYS AN EXCITING TIME AT GBS!
Everyone knows about our concerts. They're big events, with scores of talented musicians coming together to make music for a big crowd. Opening night is always a special time: anticipation, meeting old friends (and making new ones), great music, and the house exploding in applause.
There's so much more behind the scenes: months of preparation for the season, followed by an intense week of activity. Fifty-three dedicated GBS musicians rehearsed twelve hours to make our concert of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Dvorak. Piano soloist Alex Beyer worked diligently to present a brilliant Beethoven concerto. That's just part of what GBS is.
During the week before the concert, Eric Jacobsen visited two Bridgeport public schools with our concertmaster, Deborah Wong. They performed Handel-Halvorsen and Kodaly at High Horizon Magnet, Multi-Cultural Magnet, and Roosevelt Elementary School to audiences of enraptured students, many of whom are young musicians. Eric then invited the kids to make up a story, which could be told in music. As they shouted out "It's a cloudy night!" and "Somebody's waiting around the corner!" Eric put music to their ideas on his cello. "It's all about fostering creativity. Use your imagination -- be creative! That's what makes the future something to look forward to," Eric said afterward. Free tickets were offered to any student (and his/her family) for the Saturday concert, and many attended.
On Friday of concert week, Eric accompanied Alex Beyer to Fairfield University, where Alex and Professor Alan Murchie performed a dual piano version of Beethoven's 2nd Piano Concerto at the Quick Center, in a free concert for Fairfield students and the Lifelong Learners group.
Even before rehearsals for the first concert of the 71st season were over, Eric was meeting with GBS' Music Advisory Committee to begin designing next season. Big things are in store!