LOWELL, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Nearly forty percent of Americans can trace at least one ancestor to Ellis Island, and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra will present a work based on three actual stories of the famous islands that encompass the immigrant experience.
Composer Gabriele Vanoni spent half year researching for his work “Island of Peoples,” a multimedia composition based around three true stories from Ellis Island that are just as relevant today as they were when they happened, since they deal with struggle, pain and sadness, but also joy, love, friendship, and faith.
“My family has a connexion with Ellis Island because in the museum, you can look up for passengers,” says Vanoni, “And I found the record. I found the ship where they came. When I got to passengers’ search looking for my family’s history, I found out about the Ellis Island Oral Histories.I found this amazing collection of stories of people who basically just left their country without knowing what to expect.”
These stories are told and unfold intertwined around a few common traits: the longing for home, the perils of traveling for days, and the cultural, social and human uncertainties of the new world, through the fabric of musical mastery that only Vanoni can delivery.
When asked to describe his work “Island of Peoples,” Vanoni says “What you’re gonna hear is basically three snapshots. This is a multimedia work in which you will have electronic music interludes with some media projection, and you’re gonna have three works for ensemble, which are snapshots of three stories.”
While the ensemble is very small – flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion – Vanoni’s orchestration makes it a perfect vessel to express the many feelings imbued in the stories. Soprano Mary Mackenzie and tenor Kartik Ayysola are the vocalists who bring to life the three stories, sometimes singing, sometimes speaking.
Vanoni decided on three particular stories because “it was important to give a little bit of a glimpse of the experience to the listener. The scenes do follow pretty much like a trip. So the first section talks about leaving the country. Then the interviews and the middle section talks about being on Ellis Island. And the end of it is just the legacy, if you wish: the history and the future if you wish.”
Like all Lowell Chamber Orchestra concerts, the performance is free and open to the public, and will take place on: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 7:30 p.m., at Middlesex Community College’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Academic Arts Center (240 Central Street, Lowell, MA).
This concert is part of Middlesex Community College’s “A World of Music Concert Series.”
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Learn More: https://lowellchamberorchestra.org/
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