Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Symphony Orchestra's "Steppin' Out" A New Year's Eve Hit

Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
Performing "All That Jazz" Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
Raffle and sale of pearl necklaces Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
Board President Mark Fleder and Friends President Lee Corcoran Credits: Marina P. Kennedy
WESTFIELD, NJ--On New Year's Eve, the Westfield Symphony Orchestra  presented  "Steppin' Out" at the Westfield High School to a sold out audience. The WSO, under the direction of Maestro David Wroe, performed a revue of  American musical showstoppers featuring four outstanding guest soloists direct from the Broadway stage.
In his opening welcome, Maestro Wroe said the concert was "the place to be" on New Year's Eve. WSO's  annual New Year's Eve concert  has been an event for the entire family because it is a friendly cabaret–style concert. The early 7 p.m. start gave audience members time to enjoy later New Year's celebrations.
The concert was an  hit for the captivated audience, who enjoyed a variety of show tunes flawlessly performed by the symphony and soloists.
Lester Shoemaker, who grew up in Westfield and currently resides in Arizona and attended the concert with his 9-year-old daughter Sophia said he thought the concert was wonderful.
Jim Buonincontri of Scotch Plains attended with Margaret O'Brien of Emerson.  Like many patrons, they come to the concert every year.  Buonincontri said, "We love it."  
The concert's vocalists included soprano Sandra Joseph, who sang "Till There Was You" and "In the Still of The Night." Joseph has performed for millions during her decade-long run as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and she holds the record as the longest-running leading lady in the Broadway show.
The New Year’s Eve celebration also featured tenor Ron Bohmer, who is currently starring on Broadway as El Gallo in the world’s longest running musical, The Fanasticks. Bohmer delighted the audience with "This is the Moment" and "Pink Fish."

Bohmer and Joseph are married and also performed several romantic duets, including "Tonight."
WSO was also joined by the dynamic and versatile mezzo-soprano Angela Birchett. Originally from Detroit, Birchett has graced stages nationally and internationally in HairsprayGreaseRentShowboat and Smokey Joe’s Café and recently starred  in Ain’t Misbehaving at the Triad Theater in Greensboro, NC.  Birchett performed  "From This Moment On" and led the lively version of "Chatanooga Choo Choo."
Featured performer and baritone Kevin Grace sings regularly with renowned opera companies throughout the United States, including the New York City Opera. Grace recently starred in New York City Center Encores production of Jerome Kerns Music in the Air. Grace sang "Gigi" and "Some Enchanted Evening."
The four talented soloists closed the show with an ensemble version of "With a Song in My Heart"and an encore sing-a-long with the audience of "Auld Lang Syne."
Maestro David Wroe, The Westfield Symphony Orchestra, Sandra Joseph, Ron Bohmer, Angela Birchett, and Kevin Grace received a rousing rounds of applause for their flawless performances and a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.
Future WSO concerts include "The Perfect Valentine-A Night at the Movies" on Sunday, February 17 at 4 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield and the WSO Thirtieth Anniversary Concert "New Beginnings" on Saturday, June 1, at 7 p.m. at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. Their 2013 Fundraising Gala will be held on Saturday, April 20, at the Plainfield Country Club at 6:30 p.m.
For further information on performances or the gala,  visit their web site at or  call 908-232-9400. You may also support the symphony with the purchase of their beautifully designed faux pearl necklace that commemorates the WSO's 30th Anniversary Season. Information on this commemorative jewelry can also be found on their website.

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