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Electro-Acoustic Violin Helps Didier Lockwood Make Vibrant Melodies By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
An uncommon fusion of jazz and classical music captured a packed and mesmerized audience November 14 at the Westfield Symphony Orchestra’s (WSO) “The Power of Music” concert, featuring French violinist Didier Lockwood, at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield.
Maestro David Wroe, Music Director and Conductor, welcomed the audience to the WSO’s 123rd concert with a spirited and patriotic version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” raising audience members from their seats.
“Overture to Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss 2nd, a composition with a fast, furious tempo and a playful rhythm, was the first piece presented by Mr. Wroe. The Orchestra’s performance gave one the sense of a rushing swarm of bees, putting the audience in an ideal mood for Mr. Lockwood’s performance.
Generous applause and anticipation greeted Mr. Lockwood as he took his place before the Orchestra and the audience. Dressed entirely in black, Mr. Lockwood bowed deeply to the crowd as he was presented by Mr. Wroe.
“I asked him (Mr. Lockwood) to move to the side because in rehearsal, I gave him a great whack with my baton,” quipped Maestro Wroe as Mr. Lockwood took his place before the Orchestra.
“Concerto les Mouettes,” a piece inspired by one of the greatest of muses — nature — was presented by Mr. Lockwood in three movements. The first movement was fast, the second was slow, and the third was fast again.
In the first movement, the audience was perched in suspense, listening to the Orchestra’s introduction and awaiting the first note of Mr. Lockwood’s electro-acoustic violin, which amplified over the orchestra.
With his eyes closed, Mr. Lockwood’s intense and serious expression followed every note as he felt the power of the music.
This first movement encompassed horns, cellos and violins which cried out to the crowd that leaned forward throughout the performance.
Mr. Lockwood’s violin pleaded with the crowd, instilling a sense of falling, of dire emergency, and suddenly, a Latin tempo which emerged midway. Playful, cartoon-like, and animated notes interrupted the urgent tones and brought smiles to members of the audience.
The slow movement provided the crowd with a new mood — solemn, gray, somber, romantic tones. The audience became entranced and sympathetic to the sobering sounds which
emanated from the violin. Suddenly, as if soaring over the audience, the violin offered the sounds of a flock of screeching seagulls, approaching and then fading into the distance.
The third movement returned the crowd to a quicker, immediate pace with climactic, suspenseful notes that one would only find in a suspense thriller. This movement gripped the crowd with short, piercing notes from Mr. Lockwood’s violin, with a conclusion that signaled the end of a murder mystery.
Mr. Lockwood’s performance was received with multiple standing ovations and a hearty embrace by Maestro Wroe, who had conducted Mr. Lockwood’s “Concerto les Mouettes” in Paris with L’Orchestra Lamoureux in 1997.
The crowd demanded an encore. As a special treat, Mr. Lockwood and the Orchestra accompanied Soprano Caroline Casadesus, Mr. Lockwood’s wife, as she sang “La Psaume.”
Ms. Casadesus, who began voice studies after obtaining a degree in history from the Sorbonne University in Paris, delivered an unforgettable performance, with an angelic voice that hovered over the grateful audience.
During Intermission, Mr. Lockwood told The Westfield Leader
that he uses his electronic violin as a vehicle and not as a simple tool in his performances.
In mixed French and English, and assisted in translation by his wife, Ms. Casadesus, he explained that “Concerto les Mouettes” was inspired by his youth.
He revealed that he was raised in Calais, France near the North Sea and found the “bird sounds” to be of great inspiration to him. The piece is dedicated to his father.
Collaborating with the WSO, he stated, is a “big honor.” He observed that the Orchestra is “absolutely wonderful and precise, rhythmical with great intonation, and easy to work with.”
Mr. Lockwood told The Leader
that he had canceled his Indian tour to perform with the WSO that evening.
Ms. Casadesus stated that her husband “jumped to the plane” to be a part of the Symphony’s concert.
According to the Orchestra, Mr. Lockwood’s electro-acoustic violin includes an amplifier, and allows filtration of the sound to affect the frequencies while providing an echo effect.
Mr. Lockwood, who played his unique instrument while leaning back in full tilt, manipulated his violin with the same uncontrollable passion of a rock musician with his bass
guitar. “Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125” by Ludwig van Beethoven, was performed after Intermission.
The breathtaking performance included Soprano Diana M. Vidu, Mezzo Soprano Daria Dragan, Tenor Drew Alan Slatton, Bass Craig Hart and the Masterwork Chorus under the instruction of David Briskin, Music Director.
The WSO and Mr. Lockwood entertained the audience with unique melodies, culture and professionalism, allowing the crowd to depart satisfied and fulfilled, taking with them a piece of musical history in Westfield.
Mountainside BOE Receives Grant To Upgrade Industrial Arts Program By KIMBERLY A. BROADWELL
Specially Written for The Times
On Tuesday evening, The Mountainside Board of Education announced that a $16,860 grant was given this week to the school district as part of the Access 2000 matching grant program given to schools in all 21 municipalities by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Randy Palmer, Deerfield School’s full-time Computer Teacher/Coordinator, announced to audience members that the amount of money awarded was based on how many
students attend the school. He stated that the grant money was awarded to “look at the present technology in the schools” and help them “to push ahead with their technology plan.”
According to Mr. Palmer, this grant money will be used to update Deerfield School’s industrial arts program by helping to provide advances in technology such as robotics and aerodynamics equipment.
Mr. Palmer also stated that the newly renovated program, operated by shop teacher, Tom Predale, will have its new equipment before the summer of 1999.
Mr. Palmer announced Deerfield’s participation in the Union County Internet Consortium, which will help absorb the cost to all the municipalities that participate in the program to put the school districts on and provide high speed connection to the Internet.
According to Mr. Palmer, the county program will pay for each of the municipalities for the first two years. at an estimated cost of $317,484. This cost includes equipment design, hardware, installation and maintenance costs.
Mr. Palmer also stated that the third year of the program costs, which would consist of maintenance costs and possible upgrades, would be the responsibility of the participating municipalities.
According to Mr. Palmer, this third year cost would be approximately $180,189 and would be split by those school districts who are participating.
Mr. Palmer stated that there are presently about a dozen school districts participating in this program including Berkeley Heights and Springfield.
He also stated that “the current agreement made with Comcast to help provide present Internet services, which is very limited, expires this spring.”
The last announcement made concerning technological advances at Deerfield included the $5,000 grant from the New Jersey Education Association’s Fredrick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education.
This grant was recently awarded for “Project Publish,” a project for students in grades 5 through 8.
According to a recent release on the school’s present Internet site, the project will allow students to interact with the community by providing publishing services to the school parents and local businesses.
The article also states that “the program will provide teachers with training and opportunities to create professional newsletters and other documents and will provide a computer station that can serve as a platform for teaching students desktop publishing applications.”
This project was created by Mr. Palmer, Elaine Pass, Deerfield’s Gifted and Talented program teacher, and Lynn Slotking, the school’s art teacher.
In other business, a Special Education report presented by Vicki Jenkins, Deerfield’s Supervisor of Special Services, was given which outlined the changes in the Federal Regulations for Special Education services made within the last year.
According to Ms. Jenkins changes in the Individual Disabilities Education Act have been made as currently as this month.
Ms. Jenkins told board and audience members about the state’s increased focus of giving students in need of special services a chance to learn in “least restrictive environment” and the increased participation in implementing an individual education plan by the child’s parents or guardian and the general education teacher.
Ms. Jenkins also outlined the increased responsibility that will be placed on the regular education teacher who will “be an advocate for all children in his/her class.”
She talked about the state’s shift in focus from a separate education program for students with disabilities to a more inclusive process. Mrs. Jenkins also pointed out that “not all children would benefit from a mainstreamed program and that is why each child has an individualized plan and is placed in the least restrictive environment for that child.”
According to Ms. Jenkins, there will also be higher levels of standards and expectations for students with disabilities and increased participation of children with disabilities in state and district testing.
VETERANS REMEMBERED…Two classes of Jefferson Elementary School students, Westfield, gathered memorabilia to share with the entire school to commemorate Veteran’s Day. Pictured, left to right, are: third grade teacher Wendy Masters and first grade teacher Rachel Bradley who displayed articles brought in by their students. Postcards, photos and clothing of friends and relatives who served in the armed forces were brought in by the children. The two classes cooperate in joint projects once a week and call themselves “Discovery Buddies.”
Senator DiFrancesco Issues Statement on Open Space Editor’s Note: The following is a statement issued by New Jersey Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco regarding the approval by voters of Public Question One concerning open space preservation:
* * * * * “Present and future generations of New Jersey residents won on Tuesday (November 3) when the New Jersey public voiced its support for a comprehensive plan for preserving open space in New Jersey through the approval of Public Question One.
“The public’s overwhelming endorsement of the initiative will enable $98 million in existing revenue to be dedicated toward saving farmlands, historical sites, recreational
areas and other open spaces that might otherwise be lost forever.
“I look forward to working on the legislation that will enable the state to implement this new constitutional amendment and recognize that the public has given us a tremendous responsibility in crafting a plan that will maximize use of these dedicated funds in the most efficient and equitable fashion.”