Over 12,000 Rhode Island students, including hundreds from Cranston, joined the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for four days of “rocking” classical music at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
Resident Conductor Francisco Noya and Trinity actor Joe Wilson Jr. led and entertained the packed audience through an exciting program, with students joining in on their recorders for many of the numbers. Noya started by introducing all of the instruments in the orchestra and their artists, dressed in RIPO blue and orange t-shirts.
Beethoven, Verdi, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky were presented more like rocking writers than dead composers, as the orchestra played lively renditions of “Ode To Joy,” “The Anvil Chorus,” “Dance of the Adolescents” and a portion of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #4.
Students from Smithfield won the contest for developing an original piece titled “Puzzle Peace,” which the orchestra followed up with Holst’s dynamic “Mars, The Bringer of War” from “The Planets.” The program closed with Orff’s “O Fortuna,” which the students sang along with sopranos Katie Klaya and Aimee-Rose Willett, graduates of URI and RIC.
The annual program, presented by the Philharmonic’s Music School, has grown in popularity over the years and, according to the school’s director, Annette Mozzoni, has been popular with students, most of whom were introduced to classical music and the RI Philharmonic for the first time. The program is blessed with many sponsors and is part of the Link Up program developed by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.
Participating Cranston schools included Garden City, Oaklawn, Dutemple, Eden Park, Edgewood Highlands, Arlington and Gladstone.