By Elizabeth Winchester
The Space at Westbury Theater is a concert venue that accomplished musicians dream to play. This Wednesday, July 26th at 7:30 pm, kid and teen string players will take center stage there for the fifth annual SummerStrings! RockFest. Professional musicians including Roger Street Friedman and his band and Jason Liebman will rock out with the kid orchestras. Conductor and percussionist Michael Lipsey will also take part. Tickets for the show are available through ticketmaster: http://thespaceatwestbury.com/?page=show&sid=1496
Sea Cliff musician Matthew Schneider founded SummerStrings! to give kids the opportunity to explore different styles of music and to play with professional musicians.
“The festival brings real-world musical experiences and artistry to teaching,” says Schneider.
Friedman released his second album, Shoot the Moon, in January. Schneider wrote string arrangements for four Friedman songs for the Rockestra, which is one of the two kid orchestras. The uplifting rhythms and lyrics of Friedman’s songs hit a high note with players and listeners of all ages, leaving them reaching for, as Friedman sings, a “brand new day.” The band will also perform a solo set.
The tracks on the newly released album introduce kids to American traditions in string music, including country, blues, gospel and fiddling. “I also thought it would be cool to involve kids with a project being born right now,” Schneider explains. The band recently toured the album on the West Coast and performed songs from it on Today in Nashville. In August, the band will be touring the Northeast.
The second kid orchestra, the Sea Cliff Stringers, will be playing with phenomenal vocalist Jason Liebman. Their rousing set includes rock hits from the 1990s. The set also includes an original composition by Schneider and student Brendan Miller, 12, called “Snow Day,” which has listeners dreaming for cold temperatures and a day off in the height of the summer heat.
SummerStrings! kids work hard leading up to the concert. They rehearse in Sea Cliff two evenings a week to quickly master challenging music. Kids say they love taking part because “it’s energetic, happy, social, and the music is great!”
The SummerStrings! concert is where kids put together all that they have learned over the five-week session.
“To experience more fully what it means to be a musician,” says Frank Ferrara, who plays guitar in Friedman’s band, “playing with and for other people is something for which there is no substitute.”
Friedman’s band is excited to take part and encourages all to support these local kids and the tremendous show for which they have been working hard to prepare.
“I am always amazed at the level of talent of the kids in this community as well as the support for the arts programs,” says Friedman. “These children are the next generation of musicians and to participate in a small way in their musical development feels great.”
BACK TO HOME PAGE
SummerStrings! Faculty - Bottom, from left: Max Naftol, Rachel Viola and Kristin Sette; Top, from left: Lisa Quispe, Matthew Schneider (director), Miranda Purcell and Josh Epstein