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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A perfect summer evening: Under the stars at SPAC with the Philadelphia Orchestra

Here's my idea of a perfect summer night in Saratoga Springs: Sitting back in a lawn chair on the grass at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, watching the stars appear while the Philadelphia Orchestra performs Gershwin.
That was Wednesday night.
The weather was beautiful -- a comfortable evening, not too humid. I was glad to see a big crowd, inside and on the lawn. Don't know how many were lured by the post-show fireworks donated by SPAC board member Ed Lewi and his wife, Maureen. That was icing on the cake for fireworks fans.
My husband and I are "sustaining" SPAC members -- a fairly basic membership that helps support SPAC and provides perks like early sign-ups for shows. One perk this year was two free amphitheater tickets to a specific performance of the New York City Ballet or the Philadelphia Orchestra. I picked the Gershwin night, and was glad. And even though the free seats were good ones (in the back of the lower level, right in the center), my husband and I opted for the more informal night on the lawn.
I try to make it to a couple of ballets and a couple or orchestra performances each season. Usually I like the lawn. This year I sat inside twice for the ballet, and I must admit, it's a different experience -- sitting closer to the stage and inside, I was more engaged. But the lawn is still good, especially with the benefit of the screens.
Well, as of this writing, there are six more opportunities to see the orchestra at SPAC. Next Saturday, the final night, is the famous 1812 overture followed by fireworks; that evening used to be an annual tradition for ours and another family, until the kids got too old to corral. But I hope it instilled in them an appreciation for the music and for SPAC.
Remind me sometime to tell you about meeting members of the Philadelphia Orchestra in a hot tub in Ohio, in the spring of 1977.


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