Sometimes Mother Nature is kind—life-giving and nurturing. Such was the case on the evening of Saturday, June 23, when weather forecasters predicted rain and thunder. But it didn’t rain on our parade, that is, the first Musica Viva Kentlands concert held on the rolling, tree-lined lawn of the Kentlands Mansion. Instead, the weather was temperate, the setting lovely, the crowd—estimated at 350 to 400 in number—enthusiastic and appreciative, and the music, of course, beautiful.
After a year of planning and fundraising, members of the PACOdc Orchestra, along with Kentlands residents violinist Alessandra Cuffaro and Maestro Simeone Tartaglione, presented a varied program that included works of the masters — Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Strauss Jr. as well as lesser-known composers Franco Mannino and Leroy Anderson. To celebrate the season, Cuffaro performed “Summer” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”
“It was a magical evening,” said Tartaglione. “The massive participation is testimony to how Kentlands is the perfect location for this kind of concert that blends classical music of diverse styles. Indeed, it was overwhelming to see so many people—even with risk of rain!”
He acknowledged “all the volunteers and staff that helped organize the event in such a professional way,” especially “the two great visionaries,” organizers Pompilu (Pili) Verzariu and Reynoldo Rojas, whose “friendship was one of the best collateral (results) of this great adventure.”
Verzariu noted that the group had an inside-the-mansion Plan B that would be implemented if the weather forecast had been accurate—yet, he pointed out, it probably would have been a disaster because attendance exceeded everyone’s expectations. Mother Nature, he said, was the main actor in the without-a-glitch community event.
“My vision is to have a series of these concerts during the summer to give the community even more opportunity to socialize and bring more visitors to Kentlands in a broader effort to support our businesses with more presence,” Tartaglione explained. “Hopefully we will be able to have a full orchestra next year and maybe two of these concerts.”
Both Tartaglione and Verzariu expressed readiness to initiate planning for next year. The inaugural concert’s success is likely to make that process a good deal easier. Speaking at the event, Brent Bayes, director of sales of the concert’s principal sponsor, Asbury Methodist Village, was positive about continuing support and Gaithersburg City Councilman Michael Sesma committed to lobbying for the city to contribute as well.