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Flower City Orchestra coming to Sonnenberg

Lights and music on a midsummer’s eve make for a glorious garden experience, right in your community “backyard,” as Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park’s popular Moonlight Stroll Music Series continues. The series will be held every Friday night in July from 8-10 p.m., through July 29. For the 7th year, Sonnenberg is bringing a variety of musical performers to the grounds, performing a 2-hour concert for guests enjoying the beauty of the gardens at night. With a variety of musical genres, there’s sure to be something for everyone at Sonnenberg!On July 8th, discover The Flower City Society Orchestra of Rochester, which was organized in 1993 and is modeled on the “society orchestras” that entertained guests in upper-class restaurants and resorts at the turn of the last century. From the Elegant ‘Eighties and the Gay ‘Nineties through the Great War, the leading restaurants, hotels and cruise lines had musicians on hand to play light classical and dance music for their patrons’ enjoyment.Some of these establishments gained a reputation for their music as well as their food and service. Shanley’s and Reisenweber’s in New York City had well-known orchestras, and even the dining room at the Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Co. store in Rochester featured the Vienna Trio for many years. Such groups as these added an extra dimension to the enjoyment of the patrons.The Flower City Society Orchestra’s large repertoire includes dance music, such as waltzes, tangos and rag-time, and the very best in light classical music. Members of the orchestra include teachers in local schools, students at the Eastman School of Music, and gifted amateurs from the community.The conductor, Dr. Philip Carli, has a deep interest in the manners and mores of 19th-century society and culture. As a musical scholar he specializes in the performance practices of the bands and orchestras recording in the early days of the phonograph, and his large collection of cylinder and disc recordings allows him to study and enjoy this music at first hand. Many of the pieces played by the Flower City orchestra also exist in recordings made at the turn of the century. Mr. Carli is able to bring their vivacity and grace to his live performances, and over the years the players have developed a feel for the lilting swing of ragtime jazz.As the Moonlight Stroll Series continues, July 15 promises to be a magical evening with the Tullamore Celtic Band accompanied by the Drumcliffe School of Dance. Plus, there will be a Fairy Garden Lighting in the Japanese Garden that evening! Enjoy Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, a 19-piece orchestra performing jazz in the tradition of the Count Basie Orchestra, on July 22. The classical ensemble, Angelicus String Quartet, will wrap up the series on July 29. All performances for the 2011 series have been underwritten in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered locally through the Phelps Arts Center.Granger Homestead will again offer horse & carriage rides to guests ($5 adults, $3 children), while Sonnenberg’s own Finger Lakes Wine Center will offer wine by the glass each evening Light refreshments will also be available from the Friends of Sonnenberg. Sonnenberg Mansion will also be open for tours during each concert. Bring lawnchairs, blankets, family, friends or that special someone for an evening out under the stars as the gardens are lit again. This year’s performance venue will be the newly renovated veranda of the Mansion. Guests will be able to spread out blankets and set up seats on the lawn. As always, all concerts will be held rain or shine.Admission at the door each Friday evening will be $9 adults, $7 for Sonnenberg members, $4 for youth 6-17, while those 5 and under are free. Reservations are not necessary as all admission is at the gate.

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