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For five Fridays every summer, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra puts on the acclaimed Talcott Mountain Music Festival. Located at the Ironhorse Meadows in downtown Simsbury, the Orchestra performs a different set each week, usually comprising various genres and generations of popular music. On July 25, I was fortunate enough to attend the final festival of the summer, featuring the music of jazz legends Louis Armstrong (performed by Byron Stripling) and Ella Fitzgerald (performed by Marva Hicks). Although it is impossible to ever replicate their unique sound and showstopping talent, these two definitely did the singers justice! Stripling sang, trumpeted, and acted as host for the night, while Hicks accompanied him with her bold and beautiful voice—with a range (almost) as wide as Ella’s!
As host, Stripling kept the enormous crowd ever-pleased, telling engaging jokes (including, for whatever reason, a running dig on the city of New Haven) and “scatting” some musical parodies of Louis Armstrong’s songs whose lyrics, he pointed out, are many times lost on listeners through all the “oh-wops” and “be-deat-deats!” Needless to say, he had the audience in stitches all night long as they picnicked in their lawn chairs or beach blankets and enjoyed refreshments among friends (wine & cheese was particularly prevalent!).
All in all, it was a wonderfully enjoyable show—great music, great venue, for all ages! There are even local vendors there selling ice cream, kettle corn, and other summertime favorites! I recommend that every one who can make the drive up to Simsbury next summer take their friends and family alike to experience this festival and support the very talented Hartford Symphony Orchestra! Concerts start Friday, June 26, 2015 and will run through the last weekend in July.