Cadwalader Park was filled with patriotic and hummable music over the weekend as the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey (CCNJ) and Music Director, Maestro Daniel Spalding launched the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series.
People walked through town, set up lawn chairs and blankets, and listened to an hour of symphonic music. Gloria Teti, chair of the board of the CCNY, explained that they were delighted to launch this year’s concert series.
“It hasn’t been done for two years because of the pandemic. And we’re the launch concert tonight. This is the only concert that will be performed here at Cadwalader Park under the pavilion,” Teti said.
Most knew what they were getting into, but Jerome David Mason, born in Trenton and living in Ewing, was walking his dog when he came across the free event.
“I come to Cadwalader Park often, and so I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t aware of this event, so I had no prior knowledge of it,” Mason said. Still, he set up his hammock in the back between two trees, tied his dog to the tree, and stayed for the concert.
“I came out and saw what was going on, so I sat back and enjoyed it,” Manson said. “The music was awesome. I really enjoyed the historical aspect that (Maestro Spalding) incorporated into it. It was very cool.
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Conductors often give history and fun facts between pieces. The music selected ranged from The Cowboys Overture by John Philip Sousa to the theme from Mission: Impossible by Lalo Schifrin, arranged by Calvin Custer. The theme was Americana, with marches, western homages and marching bands crowning Liberty Weekend. The CPNJ even included a lesser known piece by James Hewitt and arranged by Gunther Schuller, the Battle of Trenton.
Teti explained that in addition to bringing Trenton residents to Cadwalader Park, they hope to bring them to more CCNJ performances.
“There is no charge for this, and we hope to wet their whistles…To get people excited about CPNJ, get excited about our season…Hearing that orchestra, watching Dan conduct, it will titillate their spirits to want to come when we kick off stop our season in October and come to the War Memorial,” Teti said.
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It certainly worked for some, Eloise Anderson is a resident of Trenton, but more importantly, she is the grandmother of her four-year-old granddaughter, Skylar Anderson. The pair sat in the back; Skylar was dancing and directing all the tunes that came out of the NCCJ.
“We came to enjoy the concert and my granddaughter wanted to come with me because she loves to sing,” Ms Anderson said. “You are used to hearing the same thing all the time. It’s something different, and you know, it’s not just for old people, but it’s also for young people because she’s only four years old and she loved it… I I feel good!
“I feel good!” Skylar added.
Her grandmother laughed, “I really enjoyed that.”
The Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series is a free 10-concert series presented by the Trenton Downtown Association and the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County. It features a lineup of local, regional and national artists representing various musical styles.
Anne LaBate, board member of the Trenton Downtown Association and owner of Segal Labate Commercial Real Estate, explained that their goal is to introduce Trenton residents to a wide variety of music.
“We were able to have a range of music. And in some cases, we introduce people to classical music. And so we love to see a lot of kids here tonight,” LaBate said.
“People come for their favourites. Those who love jazz will show up for jazz, but they’ll have fun, and they’ll show up for R&B, or they’ll show up for CCNJ, they’ll show up for house music. However, this year is a bit different; as previously explained, two concerts will take place in two other parks. “This year (Levitt AMP) specifically said, if you need and want, you can change a few pitches. We were open to that,” said LaBate, who explained that the CCNJ instruments needed to be under a pavilion and protected from the weather for this gig. “There’s a very practical side…they have to be undercover.”
“Our instruments are much more sensitive than some other performers, and we get the strings out and the harp out, and they just can’t be in the open,” Teti said.
The other concert will be at Unity Square Park on Saturday, July 16 at 5 p.m. “We saw this as an opportunity for one of our parks to enter a heavily Latino community,” LaBate said. I want to use this as a way to invite you to be downtown.
This will be used to publicize the final concert of the Levitt AMP Music Series. Grammy-nominated Ariacne Trujillo Duran, singer and pianist of the group Pedrito Martínez for more than five years, has performed at some of the most influential jazz festivals in the world. She will perform in Trenton on September 17 at Mill Hill Park.
“We’re going to have it downtown and hope to pack the place. We hope to spread the word at the first Latin concert,” LaBate said.