Town Editor

Thumb_4421559c31dddfecae6e_img_0076_internet_ready
Jackie Lieberman
908-279-0303

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Westfield Symphony Changes Name to Match Expanding Mission

May 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM

WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Symphony Orchestra will soon be known as the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, a name change several years in the making as New Jersey’s second-largest professional orchestra has expanded into a regional one. But Westfield music lovers need fear not, according to Music Director Maestro David Wroe.

“We clearly recognize that our home is, and will remain, in Westfield,” said Wroe.

In recent years the WSO has expanded its performances, playing not just in Westfield but around New Jersey and as far away as Carnegie Hall. The expansion is “really in response to the economic tsunami that has hit our industry over the last four or five years,” explained Wroe. Though its freelance musicians come from all over, including New York City, “For 30 years, the Westfield Symphony Orchestra has operated almost exclusively in Westfield.”

Sign Up for E-News

The expansion into other parts of the region is critical if the orchestra is to survive, according to Wroe, who told TAP that each year several symphony orchestras and operas suspend their operations or even close completely.

“We have been proactive in designing a response,” said Wroe. The plan underway is two-pronged: Increase the number of performances by traveling to other towns and perform music that attracts a broader audience.

Economically, Wroe explained, it makes more sense to pay musicians to rehearse the same music for several performances, which means traveling out of Westfield to reach more audiences.

For two seasons, the WSO has fused with the New Philharmonic of New Jersey in Morris County, which allowed it to expand into the Morris County market, often recreating the same performance there that audiences enjoyed in Westfield. In other words, “We’ve doubled up nearly all of our concerts,” said Wroe.

Barry Zucker, once president of the New Philharmonic’s board of trustees and now the vice president of the Festival Orchestra’s board of trustees, told TAP, “I’m very excited about my involvement with the Westfield Symphony, primarily because of their plan to continue their quality orchestral offerings in Morris County. I’ve given them my full support to do that by joining their board.”

“We believe that there has to be a consolidation of resources in New Jersey to allow arts organizations to either survive or flourish,” said Wroe. To meet that, the orchestra is continuing to establish partnerships with other organizations whose artistic visions are compatible so that a more efficient business model can be achieved.

Wroe himself has been appointed the music director of Opera at Florham, which resulted in a close relationship between the orchestra and the opera. The two will perform together in the fall.

Despite the new name and regional expansion, “Westfield is going to see no substantial change,” Wroe promised. “This is our home. We will continue to perform at the Presbyterian Church and other venues in the area. Our offices are here. I live here. We have deep roots in Westfield and we are here for good.”

At the same time that the orchestra is expanding its fan base geographically, it has begun performing concerts designed to attract a wider audience wherever it goes.

“There is a celebratory, a festive, an out-of-the-ordinary element to our programing,” said Wroe, which explains the “Festival” part of the new name. “We felt this beautifully describes the essence of what we are. We are not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

While still serving those who love the great composers of the 18th and 19th centuries, “we also try to become more relevant to a younger audience whose tastes are more rooted in contemporary culture,” said Wroe.

Those who attended performances this year may remember dancing to a live swing band, hearing the theme from “Jaws” live at “Night at the Movies,” watching the  1931 film “Dracula” accompanied by live macabre masterworks and taking in Carmen as sung by internationally renowned vocalists. Plans for the 2013 to 2014 season include a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida with guest stars from the Metropolitan Opera, another combination of live music and silver screen and a season finale of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony.

“You see a cross-fertilization of cultural genres in our programs,” said Wroe. As a result, he said, “We’ve seen a tripling of our single-ticket sales over the last four years.”

Grant institutions have taken note and are showing their support with both advice and “hard cash” Wroe told TAP.

The orchestra’s next concert will take place on June 1 at the season finale, “New Beginnings.” For more information and for tickets, click here.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Letters to the Editor

Lance is Tearing Down NJ Gun Laws

February 11, 2016

We are sick and tired of Leonard Lance touting that he is a moderate as he supports all the extreme right wing positions of the Republican Party. His latest stunt is unconscionable. Shockingly,

Read the Full Story »



Upcoming Events

Fri, February 12, 7:30 PM

Galeria West Art & Music Gallery, Westfield

Flamenco Nights @ Galeria West - "Noche de Rumba ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_0593baf1ff46f315461a_mulberry

Sat, February 13, 5:00 PM

Mulberry House, Westfield

Valentine's Day Dinner at Mulberry House

Food & Drink

Sun, February 14, 5:00 PM

Mulberry House, Westfield

Valentine's Day Dinner at Mulberry House

Food & Drink



Police Blotter

More Burglaries Reported in Westfield

February 10, 2016

February 9, 2016 9:41 p.m. Officers Carrero and Martinez arrested Jakub Pasierb, age 32, of Wallington, NJ on an outstanding traffic warrant ($100) out of Wallington municipal court pursuant to a ...

Read the Full Story »



Columns

JCC NEWS

Israel: How Real Are The Threats? Ambassador Yoram Ettinger Will Speak at JCC on Feb. 15

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger (ret.), an insider on U.S.-Israel relations and consultant to Israel’s cabinet and legislators, will speak at the JCC of Central NJ, 1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains ...

Read the Full Story »



Liz on Theatre

‘Nureyev’s Eyes’ Mesmerizes with Fusion of Ballet and Painting at George Street

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The companionship/conflict between artist Jamie Wyeth and Rudolf Nureyev makes for a striking two-character play by David Rush. Directed by Michael Maestro, the tension ...

Read the Full Story »



In the Schools

Westfield High School Students Perform in Regional Chorus Concert

Eleven Westfield High School choral students were selected to participate in the Central Jersey Music Education Association’s 2016 Chorus Concert at Monroe High School in Monroe, NJ, on ...

Read the Full Story »



Lost in Suburbia®

Open Your Mouth and Say “Ugh”

I love garlic. I love roasted garlic, sautéed with olive oil, and mixed into just about everything except chocolate. I don’t think this is a bad thing. In addition to tasting ...

Read the Full Story »


Guest Column

Lacrosse for Special Needs Players Scores Big

February 8, 2016

Editor's Note: Mike Cohen, a Westfield resident, freelance writer and director of Throwback Sports wrote this story about a lacrosse program on Long Island for people with special needs. Mike and ...

Read the Full Story »



Keller Williams Realty: Real Life ... Real People

Selling Your Home in Winter 2016

So you thought we were going to coast through the winter, but Mother Nature has given us a little blizzard. So now what … Winter can be a harsh, uninviting and unappealing time to sell ...

Read the Full Story »


Westfield Area Y

Westfield Area Y Offers Heart Healthy Tips in Honor of American Heart Month

In honor of American Heart Month and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Westfield Area offers the following tips to help families be heart ...

Read the Full Story »


Evalyn Dunn Gallery

Just in Time for Valentine's Day!

This Valentine's Day, present your loved one with a handmade necklace or pair of earrings from jewelry designer Miriam Seiden.   Each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Read the Full Story »


SERVPRO - Helpful Tips Regarding Fire & Water Clean Up & Restoration

3 Common Furnace Repairs that Annual Maintenance May Prevent

Nothing is quite as comforting as coming home to a warm house on a cold wintry day.  Yet, chances are, you don’t think about your furnace unless it stops working. By then, however, you may ...

Read the Full Story »


Point View WealthPoints

Achieving a Better Life Experience

In late 2014, Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) — think of it as creating 529 accounts for those with permanent disabilities. ABLE accounts can ...

Read the Full Story »


A Little Bit of Knowledge

Notable Trends for The Housing Market in 2016

Now that we’re entering our eighth-year post market crash, we’ve made some great progress and have seen an impressive comeback in the housing industry, but what will 2016 bring? I have ...

Read the Full Story »


Lindabury Legal Corner

Lindabury Adds Seasoned Trusts & Estates Partner

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper is pleased to announce the addition of attorney Mary Patricia Magee to its Wills, Trusts & Estates Practice. Mary Pat has more than 30 years' ...

Read the Full Story »


In Search Of Flavor

What The Fork Are You Eating!

I recently went to a food lecture on practical and healthy eating. When I learned of the event, my first reaction was that this was going to be a completely one-sided “discussion” given ...

Read the Full Story »


The Seventh District Congressional Report

The Seventh District Congressional Report

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) hosts Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Lance is a member. The duo discussed the dozens of bills that ...

Read the Full Story »