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Out & About: Classicopia returns with Broadway tunes

  • Classicopia Artistic Director and pianist Daniel Weiser will perform alongside violinist Timothy Schwarz in “Broadway Violin” during three shows this weekend. (Courtesy photograph) Courtesy photograph

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/11/2021 9:44:19 PM
Modified: 8/11/2021 9:44:26 PM

FAIRLEE — As vaccine rates rise in the Twin States, more groups have been making their return to performing in person.

This weekend it’s Classicopia’s turn. Artistic director and pianist Daniel Weiser will perform alongside violinist Timothy Schwarz in “Broadway Violin.” The program, which they will perform three times, features Broadway hits by George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The duo is slated to perform at a Hanover home at 7:30 p.m. Friday; at 7 p.m. Saturday at Fairlee Town Hall and at 1 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. The house concert costs $35 per person and registration is required at classicopia.org/concert/broadway-violin. The Fairlee and Lebanon concerts are $20 each, with children under 18 free. Concertgoers must be vaccinated and will be required to wear masks. For more information, visit classicopia.org.

“I just thought that I wanted something that was a little bit more universal, not too classical. I guess something people would recognize, some tunes that people would remember,” Weiser said. “Everyone knows all the great Gershwin and Rodgers songs. It feels like people are coming home to music they know really well.”

The duo will perform some of the pieces they played during a 1996 U.S. State Department tour of the Middle East as American Artistic Ambassadors. Among the selections are pieces from West Side Story.

“We are also going to play an arrangement of Gershwin’s The Man I Love that was written by a Russian composer working in Aleppo, Syria, named Konstantin Dyubenko, who we met while playing there who gave us a collection of his excellent arrangements of several Gershwin songs and Broadway tunes,” Weiser wrote in a follow-up email. “Just shows how universal and beloved these Broadway melodies are and how they can even transcend language and politics.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Classicopia has not hosted any in-person concerts since February 2020. This upcoming concert series is a bit of relaunch for the nonprofit organization as co-founder Marcia Colligan is stepping back. Weiser and Classicopia’s board are considering restarting a summer music camp, in addition to opportunities to “sort of go back to our educational roots where we really wanted to promote the young kids in the area, give them opportunities to perform,” he said.

Weiser, who co-founded Classicopia with Colligan while living in the Upper Valley and is now based in Baltimore, started performing live again in early June. During the pandemic, he recorded concerts from his home.

“I was actually able to make a living still,” he said.

While he knew people were enjoying the shows, he missed seeing audiences’ reactions. When he performed in person in June, the audience was thrilled: “It totally changes the way you play as well, because you just feed off the energy of the room.”

The concert in Fairlee Saturday is of particular importance to Weiser as it is known as the Bev Hodge Memorial Concert. Hodge, who died earlier this year, was a good friend to Weiser and his family when they lived in the Upper Valley.

“She knew my girls and would watch them grow up and go on the tractor,” Weiser said. “She was an amazing woman.”

The organization started planning its Upper Valley shows well before the delta variant surge. While there are concerts planned for the fall, that may change.

“I’m hoping (since) New Hampshire and Vermont, because of the high vaccination rates, we’ll be able to go a bit longer, but we will see,” Weiser said. “I think there was a real thirst from audience members as well as performers to get back to performing in public and large programs.”

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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