The Albany Symphony continued its American Music Festival, Sing Out! New York Concert Tour last Friday, June 7 at Jennings Landing in Albany’s Corning Preserve. David Alan Miller and guest composer, Andre Meyers were welcomed by over 1500 eager listeners looking forward to hearing Meyer’s hip-hop tinged commission that was inspired by the words and wisdom of Frederick Douglass.
Located along the Hudson River, in the shadows of the State Capitol, Jennings Landing and the Corning Preserve has a history all to itself as the gateway to the Erie Canal and a “grand junction of eastern and western travel” (Frederick Douglass). In 1823, Jennings Landing was a 32-acre harbor that held 1,000 canal boats and connected the Hudson River to the Erie Canal. These canal boats carried more than goods, they carried people and ideas. The canal system would become a “network of freedom” that helped to fuel the suffrage and abolitionist movements.
New friends and old friends alike got out of work early, grabbed their blankets and lawn chairs, and made their way to Jennings Landing for yet another performance with near perfect weather. By 7:30PM, the entire amphitheater was full and patrons found comfortable seats on the nearby hillsides.
David Alan Miller, students from Albany High School, musicians of the Albany Symphony and composer Andre Meyers spent a couple hours rehearsing, while audio engineers from LIVE Sound! and Classical Recording Service worked hard to make sure that the sound was balanced and performance ready. Rehearsal ended just in time for everyone to enjoy the Sing Out! New York Craft Beer & Food Trail. Albany Symphony musicians seemed to love Wagon Train BBQ’s famous pulled pork sliders and some classic Kettle corn from Adirondack Kettle Korn. Did you try the Sing Out! New York signature beer from Back Barn Brewing Company? If not, the 19th Amendment brew is still available at their taproom on Route 20 in Duanesburg, NY.
Assembly member Patricia Fahy (109) took time out of her busy legislative schedule to attend the performance. Sing Out! New York would not be possible without New York State funding through Market NY/Empire State Development, New York State Council on the Arts and the Regional Economic Development Councils.
Before the concert, GRAMMY Award-winning conductor, David Alan Miller stood backstage looking out at the growing audience, while members of the Albany High School Chamber Choir sat in the audience welcoming their friends, family, and classmates to the concert.
Frederick Douglass: Studies in Hope by Andre Meyers bridged together two divergent music styles and traditions that aren’t always seen as compatible. On one hand you have an orchestra playing brilliantly translated 70’s funk rhythm’s and harmonies and on the other you have an accomplished composer and two young emcee’s rhythmically speaking Douglass’s prose with a flow and style reminiscent of The Last Poet’s and similar to the Broadway Musical sensation, Hamilton.