TERRE HAUTE —
’The Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra will perform “The Emerald Necklace” at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Cecilian Auditorium at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Inspiration for the concert was a presentation with this title by author and musician Tom Roznowski about the grand design developed in the 1920s by landscape architect George E. Kessler for the city of Terre Haute. The design included lush parks and wide boulevards to be incorporated into Terre Haute’s landscape.
Roznowski is well known in the Wabash Valley as the author of “An American Hometown: Terre Haute, Indiana, 1927” and the Hometown Series he created for public broadcasting, which can be heard locally on WFIU. In addition, WTIU also produced the public television special: “Hometown: A Journey Through Terre Haute, Indiana,” which was subsequently nominated for a regional Emmy.
Roznowski is currently working to have the original plans designed by Kessler restored and displayed. To fund the restoration, copies of a set of original World War I Liberty Bond posters, also discovered locally, will be sold. These posters will be displayed and available for sale at the concert.
Translating the theme of an urban design for parks and boulevards into a musical program is a challenge. Sinfonietta Musical Director James Chesterson reviewed his musical library to see how individual pieces could relate to the concept of urban design as expressed in Kessler’s plans. Kessler was known for his belief that mankind needed the physical beauty of nature to balance the stresses of urban life. Chosen to begin the concert is “An Outdoor Overture” by Aaron Copland.
Following along the theme, The Wedding March from “Rustic Wedding Symphony, op.26” by Karl Goldmark will reflect the use of parks as wedding and formal venues. Deming Park and Ohio Boulevard were parts of Kessler’s design. Today many couples take advantage of the gazebo in Deming Park for their weddings.
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” fits into the concert in relation to Memorial Stadium, currently used by Indiana State University as a football stadium. It was built as a baseball stadium in 1925. The old baseball stadium seated 16,000 and was considered the finest minor league stadium in the country.
Another piece by Coplan, “Our Town” was written for a movie adaptation of the play by Thornton Wilder. It seemed a perfect fit and is also the theme song for the “Hometown Series” of WFIU. The “12th Street Rag” and music from the musical “Ragtime” add a different genre and reflect music heard in the many live music venues in Terre Haute in the 1920s. The happy melody of Ray Stevens’ pop song “Everything is Beautiful” seemed a good way to sum up the day’s theme.
Tickets may be purchased at the door. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and children under 10 are free. The Sinfonietta is supported by grants from Arts Illiana, a regional partner of the Indiana Arts Commission, the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, the City of Terre Haute, and a media sponsorship with WFIU. For more information contact the Sinfonietta Pops Orchestra at 812-535-6440 or visit www.terrehautecommunityband.org.