Picnics, music, and fireworks at the former Three Stallion Inn make for a perfect summer evening. Those of you who have attended this concert know that it’s a truly special one, and we thank you for joining us over the years. We hope that you enjoy this tribute to our Summer Festival Tour, and have a safe and fun celebration planned for this holiday week.
Rebecca Eldredge, Second Bassoon: Many years ago (back when I was married to Bill Hanley, VSO timpanist) his former student, Harry Teahan—a total nut—was playing in the percussion section. That summer we were playing the Typewriter by Leroy Anderson, with Tom Toner out front “playing” the typewriter, and another percussionist in the back dinging the bell that indicated carriage returns. What the audience saw on each of the bell cues was Harry hoisting a large watermelon over his head and tapping it with a hammer. What the audience didn’t see: orchestra members backstage post-concert, enjoying a libation. (Harry had cut a large plug out of the watermelon and filled it with vodka.)
Grace Spain, Box Office Manager: Obviously everybody loves an outdoor concert, that’s the magic and beauty of our Summer Festival Tour, but this is Vermont, and sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate. One year, in Randolph, we were rained out, and instead of our usual rain location of a local school, we were indoors at the Chandler Music Hall. It was tricky because the stage is smaller than our large summer touring orchestra is used to, especially with all of their July 4th costumes packed in with them. However, I just remember the crowd being SO enthusiastic, SO excited to see the show no matter what venue we were in, hooting and hollering and giving standing ovations after almost every piece. The sound in the hall was beautiful, acoustics like you can’t always get when performing outside, and I think the orchestra outdid themselves. When Vermont gives you thunderstorms, make lemonade! (Am I mixing metaphors?)
Sasha Vaut, Director of Philanthropy: My memories of Randolph Summer Festival Tour performances always have a tie to weather. My first Summer Festival Tour concert in Randolph (2017) we were hedging our bets with a rain call—deciding, while thunder rolled in the distance, to stay outside. Luckily, as our trusty “Weather Guys” predicted, the rain skipped us and it turned into a beautiful evening. The next year (2018) was the hottest stretch of weather at the beginning of the tour with temps in the mid/high 90s. But, by the time we got to Randolph the temperatures had subsided and we were selling blankets for a cool 60 degree evening. (Oh, Vermont.) Last year in Randolph was my first rain performance in my time with the VSO. Although we were forced indoors, the crowd was enthusiastic and the orchestra felt magical… and not only because there were dinosaurs! The skies cleared by the time the crowd left and the audience was treated to the fireworks performance from the parking lot. Oh, what I would give to be contending with weather calls again this year… a statement I never thought I would say.
With our tour taking place during baseball season, there’s a strong tradition of baseball talk among some of our musicians. Here’s the story of a bet between Principal Trombone Matthew Wright and Bass Trombone Gabe Langfur.
Many of our musicians have their own tour traditions and favorite places to visit while traveling the state. Click 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.
Sponsor Spotlight: TD Bank
TD Bank has been a longtime sponsor of the VSO’s Summer Festival Tour, donating almost $600,000 to support the symphony’s efforts to travel the state. Starting in 2018, TD Bank and the VSO created the TD Ambassador scholarship for students and college-bound volunteers of the Summer Festival Tour. We are grateful that TD Bank was able to provide two $1,000 scholarships since the beginning of the program and we are excited to continue the program next year.
TD Ambassador Scholarship Recipients
2018 – Erik Kindestin, Castleton College
2019 – Phineas Tillman, University of Vermont
Kat Kindestin, volunteer: When I was growing up in Central Vermont my folks took us to the VSO summer concert at the Three Stallion Inn every year. These shows instilled a lifelong love of music. My husband and I continued the tradition with our son. We enjoyed the shows so much as a family that we added the Holiday Pops to our annual concert schedule. My son and I have volunteered together and he was awarded the very first VSO volunteer scholarship. The VSO has gifted my family a lifetime of inspiration, beautiful music and wonderful memories. We thank you and can’t wait until we can all be together again!
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).