We’ve performed in a variety of venues in Rutland County over the years, and this year we were excited to kick off our Summer Festival Tour at Pittsford Village Farm. If you’ve attended our Rutland-area summer concerts before, you know that they bring a wonderful crowd—many of our Paramount Theatre series season ticketholders, our hard-working Southwest Friends of the VSO, and hundreds of locals and visitors alike who have made the concert an annual tradition. We aspire to capture a little bit of this concert’s magic online today, and can’t wait to see you all again soon.
Grace Spain, Box Office Manager: For my first few years at the VSO, there always seemed to be a shower on Chittenden concert days. The rain never lasted, and the concerts were always beautiful, but you could usually count on a drizzle while we were setting up. One year, I think it was my second summer, it rained while we were selling tickets and people had to crowd together under the EZ-Up that acts as our box office. Within fifteen minutes the rain vanished, and it left a beautiful double rainbow arching across the Chittenden reservoir, right behind our tent. It couldn’t have been a more picturesque scene, and it was one of those summer moments that I’ll never forget.
Eleanor Long, Orchestra Manager: We’ve played at many summer locations in the Rutland area over the years, and here are the ones I can recall from my long tenure with the VSO: Giorgetti Park, Hathaway Farms, Pico, the Southern Vermont Regional Airport (really!), and most recently the Mountain Top Inn & Resort. Back when we performed at Giorgetti Park, I was still playing with the orchestra (so this would have been pre-1991). The location goes down in my memory books because I had to drive to Boston right after the concert, and when I arrived in Boston, I realized I had left my double case (oboe and English horn) in the parking lot. (The Rutland Police Department rose to the occasion and all was well.)
Sasha Vaut, Director of Philanthropy: 2019 was the summer of the dinosaurs. During a John Williams medley, the staff dressed up in inflatable dinosaur costumes and roamed the field during the theme song to Jurassic Park. Chittenden was the first concert on the tour and our first time in the costumes. I was notorious for getting the staff in costume about 20 minutes too early, and on this occasion we were dressed and discussing how we would casually meander through a field off to the side of the stage – we didn’t want to interfere too much with the music. We waited for our cue and then started to process, peacefully embarking out to the side of the stage. The one piece of the equation we didn’t figure in? How much kids love dinosaurs. Quickly the team was surrounded by a swarm of children laughing and tugging and having a blast! The team had to turn around fast to make it back in time before the piece was over, dodging kids in the dark and trying not to fall over in the process. After that, we quickly learned to stay in a well-lit roped-off spot in front of the stage in our dinosaur costumes.
Brooke Quiggins, Assistant Principal Second Violin: My first summer tour was in 2016, about a month after moving to Vermont. I loved the idea of touring the state in the summer, and I was excited for the first performance. We rehearsed all of the pieces except for Stars and Stripes Forever, since everyone has played it a million times. At the concert, to my surprise, when the opening notes of the march started, orchestra members stood up, twirled around, sat down, spun their instruments, etc. Nobody told me there was choreography! I did my best to keep up, but I was a patriotic deer in the headlights.
Many of our musicians have their own tour traditions and favorite places to visit while traveling the state. Click here for an interactive map of Second Trumpet Greg Smith’s favorite cycling routes, and here for a map of Principal Horn Shelagh Abate’s go-to tour stops.
Sponsors, Vendors, and Community Partners
Tour Sponsors and Partners
We are so grateful for our tour sponsors and partners who help make our tour possible year after year.
Thank you also to the individuals who help to make our concerts possible.
Concert Sponsors and Partners
Sponsor Spotlight: Heritage Family Credit Union
When we introduced the Musical Petting Zoo to the Summer Festival Tour, Heritage Family Credit Union jumped at the idea to support provide the opportunity for families. The Musical Petting Zoo travels the state visiting schools throughout the year, giving school children a hands-on experience, holding and playing a variety of instruments. We are grateful to Heritage Family Credit Union and other Musical Petting Zoo sponsors who help bring this experience to life on our summer tour.
Betsy and Baird Morgan have been instrumental in making a concert by the VSO possible at what we hope can become our new permanent summer venue in the Rutland area, the Pittsford Village Farm. Here is some background from Baird:
A group of citizens purchased a historic farm in the center of Pittsford in 2018 in order to preserve the property from development and to create a community center for the town. The Pittsford Village Farm’s mission is to create a social, economic and educational hub where people can meet, socialize, and enjoy entertainment. The property affords a lovely view overlooking the Otter Creek and the northern section of the Taconic mountains. There is a natural amphitheater which provides an ideal location for concerts, so close to town and yet so quiet and peaceful.
Music and more
We always open our Summer Festival Tour concerts with The Star Spangled Banner, so three of our musicians recorded a creative tribute on oboe and English horn. Here’s Graham Powning’s “Variations on The Star Spangled Banner.”
No fireworks show would be complete without Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. When the pandemic upended this year’s tour, VSO musicians decided to record each of their parts in their own homes, so that they could still perform together—and share a musical moment with all of our extended VSO family. Please enjoy the intro courtesy of our cello section, and the finale with the full orchestra.
As the fireworks continue, it’s our tradition to play a variety of Sousa marches. Here’s The Stars and Stripes Forever, from five VSO violas.
And, in lieu of a visit to Vermont this summer, our trombone section has donned their concert attire to take care of business at home.
Looking for more music? We’ve made a playlist with some favorite pieces from past Summer Festival Tour programs (on Spotify below and YouTube here).
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday week. Feel free to join us virtually on each stop of our tour—tomorrow we’re showcasing South Pomfret!