“Summer Afternoon” may have earned Henry James’ vote for the two most beautiful words in the English language, but I cast my ballot for “Summer Concert” as the two most beautiful synonyms for this delightful season.
I came to that conclusion after attending two concerts to which the Westerville Symphony Orchestra treated the community this month.
On Independence Day, the orchestra gave its “Sounds of Freedom” concert at the Westerville Sports Complex. “Liberty Fanfare,” “Yankee Doodle” and recently released music from Lincoln were on the program, as well as popular patriotic standbys like “Stars and Stripes Forever” and the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Renditions of stirring summertime music are always great to hear, but the orchestra’s appearance at last Saturday’s Westerville Music and Arts Festival was an extra-special treat. Besides art exhibits, a silent auction and musical entertainment, the festival tempted shoppers with an array of handcrafted items like furniture, brooms, pottery, tinware, and hand-rolled pure beeswax candles and suncatchers with home-grown pressed flowers. Sand art purveyed by local artisans reminded me of one of my favorite scenes in Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books — when Betsy and Tacy dyed sand the color of Easter eggs and put it in fancy glass bottles to sell.
The concert’s lineup of selections struck a resonant chord with the crowd.
Besides performing selections from Oklahoma, Can-Can, and West Side Story, the musicians accompanied the evening’s guest artist, Cassie Rea, as she sang “Poor Wandering One,” from Pirates of Penzance; “Glitter and Be Gay,” from Candide; “The Light in the Piazza”; and “Think of Me,” from Phantom of the Opera.
Cassie’s father, Cabot Rea, joined her in an entertaining rendition of “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun. Cabot may be best known in the community as NBC4’s evening co-anchor, but he proved that he’s also a talented vocalist.
The musicians performed in the shade provided by the Everal Barn and Homestead, a notable example of 19th-century farm architecture that is the centerpiece of Westerville’s 52-acre Heritage Park.
The farm belonged to John W. Everal, an early Westerville-area settler who owned a company that produced tiles and bricks. In the early 1870s, Everal built the farm’s homestead, carriage house and other outbuildings from bricks and tiles that were fired in the Everal kiln. During the 1880s, Everal constructed a Carpenter Gothic-style barn with a three-story octagonal tower for his farm. It is topped by a windmill, which drove the pump that drew water from a well below so it could be stored for livestock to drink. The farm was named Rosedale, after the homestead’s rose garden, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There’s one more opportunity to enjoy an alfresco concert by the Westerville Symphony Orchestra. Bring your lawn chair to the Alum Creek Park Ampitheater on Sunday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. for its “Sounds of Summer” concert.