Four Nations Ensemble performs for young and old in New Hope

The Four Nations Ensemble, prestigious figures in the world of early music from the 17th and 18th centuries, will play two concerts December 12th at the New Hope Lower Elementary School, sponsored by the Delaware Valley Music Club’s Marie Paxson Fund. The Ensemble, consisting of flutist Antonio Campillo, harpsichordist Andrew Appel and cellist Loretta O’Sullivan, will begin with a 9:30am performance geared to young listeners in kindergarten, followed by a repeat concert for second graders.

Tuning up their instruments again at 2:00pm, The Four Nations Ensemble will appear at New Hope’s Trinity Episcopal Church to play the full program for the Music Club’s December concert. The program will include the Sonata for Flute and Continuo in E minor by Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, Sonata for flute and harpsichord in B minor by CPE’s father, J.S. Bach, and the Sonata for cello in D minor by Francesco Geminiani, an 18th century Italian composer who was a pupil of Scarlatti. Following intermission are Pieces de Clavecin  (harpsichord) by Jean-Phillipe Rameau, as well as a Sonata for flute and continuo in G Major by Jean-Marie Leclair. The Ensemble this year is featuring works by both Baroque composers, commemorating the 250th anniversary of their deaths in 1763.

The Ensemble’s performance in New Hope is part of the Delaware Valley Music Club’s program to bring quality classical music to local school children. The children, including the little ones, are quite receptive to the music, and enjoy meeting and talking with the musicians, according to Laura Garawski, chairman of the Club’s Marie Paxson Memorial Fund, which sponsors the school performances. The Fund also awards cash prizes to winners of the Bucks County Symphony Youth Competition. The Fund was established in 1967 in memory of Marie Paxson, a local pianist and organist and a founding member of the Club.

Music Club members attend the concerts at no charge; there is a $10 fee for guests and the general public. The church is located at 6587 Upper York Road (Route 263) near Sugan Road in Solebury.   


Southampton Band announces upcoming season

The Southampton Community Band has announced its upcoming season. Entering its 16th year, this volunteer band consists of 70 members.

The four subscription programs scheduled for November 23rd, January 18th, March 22nd and May 17th will again be held at Klinger Middle School on Second Street Pike in Southampton.

Highlights for this year’s concerts include Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s narrating a selection in memoriam to President John Kennedy in November, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the President’s assassination.  January will feature a former participant with the band, Lety ElNaggar.

Ms. ElNaggar received a Fulbright grant to study Egyptian instruments after completing college at Columbia. She will be composing a selection that will be premiered by the band and feature these instruments.

The May program is the band’s annual tribute to our military and this year will feature vocalist Elizabeth Von Trapp. Elizabeth is the granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Baron Von Trapp; she will be performing with the band as well as soloing.

The band’s web site ( has membership information for the season. Family memberships for the four programs cost $40 and a senior couple is $35. For additional information call 215-364-3180 or 215-355-3927.


NCO performs world premiere of ‘Missa De Profunctis’

On Saturday, June 1st, a composer’s dream was realized and a legacy of love fulfilled when the Newtown Chamber Orchestra (NCO) performed the world premiere of Missa De Profunctis, a requiem composed by Dr. Samuel Bellardo in loving memory of his great-nephew Joseph L. Bellardo III.

The extraordinary musical ensemble of over 100 musicians, singers and soloists assembled and directed by Dr. Russell Hoffmann, Musical Director/Conductor of the NCO, played to a full house of music lovers, friends and family of Samuel Bellardo and Joseph Bellardo who came to celebrate their memory and to share this historic, once-in-a lifetime event.

James D. Moyer, the highly regarded Chorus Master and Randy White, the accomplished Youth Chorus Master assisted Dr. Hoffmann. Also featured, were youth soprano soloists, Mason Cano and Cole Vonvorys and four international soloists, Susan Whitenack, Soprano, Cheri Rose Katz, Dramatic Mezzo Soprano, Edgar Jarmillo, Tenor, and Matthew Curran, Bass.

Members of the Bellardo family were profoundly moved. It had been 10 years since Joey (Joseph L. Bellardo III) died in a car accident and the music offered them some solace.

“Joe and I were both moved by the performance” said Aggie Bellardo, Joey’s mother. “We felt a presence of peace. The music was beautiful and we thank all who worked so effortlessly, from the musicians, the choir, the soloists and especially Russell and Deborah for their devotion to accomplishing this world premier. Uncle Samuel and Joseph are smiling!”

Dr. Russell Hoffmann, who conducted the concert and perhaps spent the most time learning the score and thinking about the music, offered his perspective. “It is very a compelling work from every perspective.  It is monumental with tremendous significance.”

Dr. Hoffmann concluded: “The Missa de Profunctis is not only a great tribute to Joseph Bellardo III and his family, but a masterpiece withstanding all time. My hope is that anyone who was not able to attend the world premiere performance presented by Newtown Chamber Orchestra will be able to experience this work at a later time whenever future performances will be announced whether in this country or around the world.”


Announcing auditions for Princeton Girlchoir’s 2013-2014 season

The Princeton Girlchoir is now accepting audition appointment requests for girls to be part of the organization’s highly anticipated 25th Anniversary Season.

This landmark year will kick-off in September 2013, and will feature:

  • Collaborations with arts organizations throughout the tri-state area;
  • Performances in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Boston, New York, and other regional locations;  
  • World premiere of newly commissioned works written for PGC’s anniversary;

[Read more...]


Music is in the air

The Morrisville School District Spring Concert & Art Show is scheduled for May 16th.

Under the direction of Morrisville’s Dr. Michael Scott, the event features the Symphonic Band and Jazz Band, plus the newly formed Morrisville Chorus, comprised of students in grades six through 12.

About 40 Morrisville students are involved in the event that will be held at Morrisville High School.

The student Art Show begins at 6:00pm and the concert at 7:00pm in the high school auditorium.   


Newtown Chamber Orchestra update

Music lovers attending the Newtown Chamber Orchestra’s (NCO) January 27th concert, “Soloists on Stage,” enjoyed an exciting evening showcasing accomplished musicians and eclectic music, assembled by Music Director, Russell Hoffmann, D.M.A.

This diverse concert was supported by the musicians who graciously donated their time and talent to benefit the NCO. Among those performing were: Andrea Levine, violinist, 2003 Young Musicians Competition winner, accompanied by Clipper Erickson, pianist. They performed Fritz Kreisler’ “Praeludium and Allegro.”

Stephen Snow, tenor, accompanied by Richard McIntyre, pianist, performed “Giuseppe Verdi’s Nessun Dorma from Turandot.” Also accompanied by Richard McIntyre, pianist; Sarai Johnson, soprano sang “Giacomo Puccini’s Senza mamma” from Suor “Angelica and Giacomo Puccini’s Pace, pace from La Forza del destino.”

Newlyweds Bliss Michelson, double bass and Peggy Wiltrout, oboe, performed Timothy Goplerud’s “The Miraculous Journey” of Edward Tulane For Double Bass and Oboe. Newlyweds Risë Kagen-Erickson, handbells, and Clipper Erickson,  pianist, performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalize” and Arnold Sherman’s “Grazioso.”

Performing as a duo, Beth Benson, oboe and Nancy Gaspari, English horn played Eugene Bozza’s “Shepherds of Provence Op.43, Call at Dawn, Beneath the Star, and Fete Villageoise.”

Closing the concert and performing Victor Ewald’s “Symphony for Brass Quintet,” the Trenton Brass Quartet, led by Artistic Director, Karl Megules, tubist , was accompanied by Charles Megules, trumpet; Ed Hirschman, trumpet; Nancy Ciacciarelli, French horn; Peter Reichlin, trombone.

The last concert for the 2012-2013 season is “Springfest” on Sunday, April 7th, at 7:00pm, at The Lutheran Church of God’s Love, 791 Newtown-Yardley Road, Newtown. The program will include Sandler’s “Eili, Eili” performed by Milton Schwartz, violin, and Russell Bechloff, piano; Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”; Delius’ “Two Pieces for Small Orchestra, First Cuckoo in Spring and Summer Night,” and Haydn’s “Surprise Symphony No. 94 in G.”

Also, the winner of the 2013 Young Musicians Competition, violinist Beatrice Hsie, will perform.

In addition, NCO has been chosen to perform a special concert, “Missa De Profunctis Requiem,” the world premier of Dr. Samuel Bellardo’s last composition. This requiem will be held on Saturday, June 1st, at Pennsbury High School West, at 7:30pm.

The Newtown Chamber Orchestra is a non-profit organization contributing to the rich cultural tradition of Bucks County.

Individual concert tickets are adults $25, seniors $20, and may be purchased at the door, or in advance through their website (address below). Students and children admitted free.

For further information e-mail, visit, or call 267-291-4626.