BY WES CIPOLLA
KEMPTON — The Berks Sinfonietta will hold an outdoor concert, its first in-person performance since March 2020, at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
The orchestra will perform works based on nature.
“We selected music that matches the venue’s natural beauty and inspires a fond reminiscence of the great outdoors,” said James Gilmer, sinfonietta vice president and assistant artistic director. “In part, the music also celebrates spring and summer, and what we all hope is a return to normalcy.”
The highlight of the concert will be the premiere of a new arrangement of Jill Haley’s “National Park Soundscapes” for solo horns and orchestra.
Haley is a musician and composer who lives in Reading and has served as artist in residence at several National Parks.
Having visited 20 National Parks in 20 years, Haley composed “Soundscapes” in 2016 to mark the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. She will also be playing oboe and English horn at Saturday’s concert. The arrangement was done by Reading musician Tom Shade, a friend of Haley’s.
“Each park gives me a gift and I never know until I am there what it will be and how it will unfold into creating music,” Haley said. “Badlands National Park gave me wind. Glacier National Park, water. Alaska, the folks who live there. Mesa Verde, the history. Petrified Forest, the stillness.”
The idea to perform at Hawk Mountain came from sinfonietta board member Dr. Barton Smith, whose twin loves of music and birdwatching date to his childhood. The sinfonietta also chose Hawk Mountain because of its new open-air amphitheater. Refreshments and “a surprise live raptor guest” will be featured.
Along with the “Soundscapes,” the sinfonietta will perform George Butterworth’s tone poem “The Banks of Green Willow”; Ottorino Respighi’s “The Birds”; Mendelssohn’s incidental music of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; and Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring Suite.” Tickets are $15 for Hawk Mountain members and $25 for non-members, and can be purchased at hawkmountain.org/events/music-on-the-mountain-berks-sinfonietta.
Seating is limited and concertgoers may bring folding chairs. Rain date for the concert is Sunday.