The Minuetto Music Festival’s Young Artists Showcase concert has a very local Summit connection, our own former mayor, Janet Whitman, great niece of Milton Cross. The Milton Cross Young Artist Showcase honors the famed radio announcer for the Metropolitan Opera, Milton Cross, the original “voice” of the Met for 43 years until his passing in 1975. He debuted as narrator for the Metropolitan Opera on its first radio broadcast, "Hansel and Gretel," on Christmas Day in 1931. He was a graduate of Julliard, looking for a job as a singer when he interviewed for a job at the New Jersey station WJZ in 1921. While there was no job for a singer, his smooth narration earned him an announcer’s job right away in the very earliest days of radio.
“Mr. Cross was dedicated to promoting the careers of young performers, and The Continuo Arts Foundation is pleased to honor Mr. Cross by naming the young artist program, The Milton Cross Young Artist Showcase, “said Candace Wicke, Artistic Director.
The Young Artists Showcase aims to identify young vocalists with a bright future. Approximately 20 young artists will compete for three awards: The Milton Cross Award, Rising Artist Winner, and Emerging Artist Winner. All competitors will have the opportunity to perform in the Minuetto Symphonic chorus at the Finale Concert, and in addition the top winners will be awarded with solo and duet opportunities in the opera selections from The Tales of Hoffman and La Traviata. Conductors, choir directors, artists’ representatives and others who employ and promote young artists will be invited to the concert.
Judy Kang, Canada’s international superstar, chose the Minuetto Festival for her new CD release concert. Judy Kang has established herself as one of the most talented and prestigious violinists of this generation. She began her solo career at the tender age of 4 in her native Edmonton, Canada and since toured all across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Carribean Islands. She has performed with all the major orchestras and ensembles of Canada and those of the US, Europe, and Asia. Ms. Kang performed on the “Christmas Time in the City” Series with the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2009, along with Rosemary Siemens, another Canadian sensation.
The third and final event of the Festival is the Finale Concert featuring chorus, orchestra and soloists performing opera scenes and choruses from Les Contes D’Hoffman, La Traviata and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. One editorial review states that Chichester Psalms was… “Commissioned in 1965 by the Dean of Chichester. Bernstein’s colorful Chichester Psalms is one of the composer’s most successful and accessible works on religious texts, contrasting spiritual austerity with impulsive rhythms in a contemplation of peace. The composer fashioned his Oscar nominated score to the 1954 movie On the Waterfront into a symphonic suite, skillfully capturing the oppression of the New York dockyards in the ’50s. The Three Dance Episodes were extracted from the popular On The Town, Bernstein's first successful foray into musical theatre.”
According to conductor Candace Wicke, the Continuo Arts Foundation is undergirded by the principal that exposure to the arts is essential to understanding our culture and heritage. The Minuetto Music Festival offers the opportunity for musicians and the community to come together for a stimulating experience which encourages the view that Northern New Jersey, and Summit in particular is an interesting and culturally rewarding musical destination.
Judy Kang is featured in concert on June 28 and the festival Finale Concert will take place June 30th at 7:30 pm. Title sponsor of the Minuetto Music Festival is The Grand Summit Hotel, with sponsorship from Investors Bank, and support from Overlook Medical Center, Hilltop Bank and Peapack Gladstone Bank.
The Minuetto Music Festival Concerts take place at Central Presbyterian Church, 70 Maple St, Summit, NJ. Details are available by calling 908-264-5324 or by visiting the websitewww.continuoarts.com. Tickets are $25 for all 3 concerts.