Jul 28, 2014
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New Rochelle Songcatchers Perform 'Rip Van Winkle'

New Rochelle Council on the Arts, in addition to Songcatchers, Tutti Bravi Productions and Daniel Webster Elementary School, presented the two-act operetta “Rip Van Winkle.”

Daniel Webster Elementary School was buzzing with excitement Friday as New Rochelle’s Songcatchers and a live orchestra with them presented Rip Van Winkle.

There were more than 60 people in attendance showing their support.

The purpose Songcatchers is to give children the opportunity of participating in quality musical programs. Children have an opportunity to get involved with three different musical programs provided by Songcatchers, and a majority participated in the performance on Friday.

Rip Van Winkle was the first operetta performed by Songcatchers. The music, which many audience members praised at the end of the night, was composed by Nicolas Flagello, a famous composer who was once a resident of New Rochelle before his death in 1994.

In spite of the hard times earlier in the month with power outages due to Hurricane Sandy, the show went on. Songcatchers were still able to give the performance on the scheduled date due to their hard work and dedication.

Billie Tucker, director of the operetta, explained how the storm affected them.

“We were rehearsing at St. Gabriel’s, which didn’t have power for a week,” she said. “So we had to go searching for it.”

Tucker praised the composition of the operetta and those involved.

“It is very melodic,” she said. “Both the kids and musicians picked up very quickly.”

Songcatchers founder Sr. Beth Dowd, of New Rochelle, shared the unique characteristic of the performing orchestra. 

“The orchestra is a combination of Songcatchers teachers, volunteers, adult members of the community and a few professionals who all love playing,” she said.

The audience members had nothing but praise for the entire show.

New Rochelle resident Laura Barraban said she had attended the performance to support her friend’s daughter who was performing.

“It was beautiful,” she said. “Everything was fantastic. I really enjoyed it.”

Anne Cox of City Island, came to the performance to watch her granddaughter perform. Cox could not pinpoint one particular part of the show that was her favorite.

“I liked it all,” she said. “It was very well put together. There was a lot of humor.”

Another event by the Songcatchers takes place next month on Dec. 16 at 4:30p.m. They will be singing at the College of New Rochelle in their annual Concert for Peace Sunday. Be sure to check their Web site for more details, as well as information on volunteering.

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