story & photos
by Tony Schillaci and Don Church
For anyone who hasn’t experienced the City Cabaret music series – you’re missing a free and fun treat! Co-sponsored and co-produced by Groton Utilities and the City of Groton Parks and Recreation Department, The O’Brien Strings played for an appreciative crowd at The City of Groton Municipal Auditorium on Sunday, February 22nd.
Frank Winkler, representing Groton Utilities and Mary Hill, Director, Groton Parks and Recreation, were on hand to greet guests as they arrived to listen to an afternoon of eclectic music by Kate O’Brien on the violin, Lydia Leizman on the viola, and Mariusz Skula on the cello.
This talented trio, led by Kate, from Orange, CT, played everything from familiar classics to movie music, many of the arrangements written by Kate herself.
The first half of the program offered such varied items as classical pieces from Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos, to a selection of Beatles tunes, ranging from “When I’m Sixty-Four” to “All You Need is Love.” Although these songs are usually played by up to eight instruments, including keyboard and percussion, Kate wrote these arrangements specifically for the three instruments in her trio. Other familiar classical music was “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot and the “Winter” and “Summer” segments from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”
At intermission coffee and dessert were being offered for sale via donation in the lobby to benefit the Fitch High School Alcohol and Drug-Free Party Committee. We sampled the delicious strong coffee and a few of the chocolate baked squares and gave both our highest rating!
When the O’Brien Strings returned, Kate challenged the audience, with an Irish twinkle in her eyes, to name the music the trio was about to play from TV and the movies.
Even though much of it was familiar, it was still a brain-teaser to come up with themes from Mission Impossible and The Sting, and melodies from Pinocchio (“When You Wish Upon A Star”) and Casablanca (“As Time Goes By”). Of course, everyone got “New York, New York!”
Rounding out the concert was a poignant tune from PBS’s Civil War Series, and a foot-stompin’ hand-clappin’ “Orange Blossom Special.” They were greeted with a standing ovation. Kate sat right back down after her bow and said, “Ok, I guess you twisted our arms!”
An encore of the song “The Rose” a Bette Midler hit, concluded the festive and melodic afternoon.
The final concert of the City Cabaret winter series will be on March 15. Jack Madry, jazz pianist who plays at the Paragon Restaurant at Foxwoods will wrap up the series. And, beginning on June 19th, look for a seven concert Summer Series at Groton’s Washington Park. Concert schedules can be found on the Groton Utilities (www.grotonutilities.com) and the Groton Parks and Recreation (www.town.groton.ct.us/depts/parksrec/) websites, or call the concert info line at 860.446.4128.
Visit these free music events with your friends from Groton and beyond. Listening to familiar pop and classic sounds is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the park! Enjoy!