Variety is the spice of music festival | SierraSun.com

Variety is the spice of music festival

Alisha Wyman

Jamie Bonetto said she identifies with the main character in the movie “Chariots of Fire.” When asked why he runs, he answered, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

“I feel that way when I sing,” Bonetto said. “It just bubbles out of you.”

Local residents will have a chance to witness her passion at The Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival’s Saturday concert at the Sierra Nevada College. The coloratura soprano is the featured soloist during the Festival Orchestra’s performance, “A Night in Old Vienna.”

Jeff Leep from Leep Entertainment handpicked the orchestra for the festival from orchestras including The Reno Chamber Orchestra, The Nevada Opera Orchestra and the Nevada Festival Ballet Orchestra. For the evening’s concert, they will play pieces like The Emperor’s Waltz, the Pizzicato Polka and Czardas.

The last is from the opera, Die Gledermaus by Johann Strauss, and contains an aria in which a woman tries to seduce her husband in a disguise. It’s an aria Bonetto is excited to sing, she said.

Artistic director and conductor, Timm Rolek has developed programming, made musical selections, and will conduct four orchestral concerts as part of the series during this year’s Music Festival. Rolek made his first appearance at the festival last year, conducting at the opening Gala, To Italy with Love.

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Also featured are ballet dancers from the Nevada Performing Arts. Artistic Director Lesley Anne Bandy has choreographed three dance pieces to accompany the orchestra’s performances.

The concert is one of many The Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival is holding this summer. The non-profit organization spends the year planning the four-week festival. It brings jazz, pop and orchestra performers as part of the “eclectic music season,” executive director Marcelyn Cohune said.

“Our emphasis is on classical (music),” she said. “We want to keep classical music alive.”

Teams of volunteers and employees bring in the stage, electricity, bathrooms and lights to the unique venues they have chosen, Cohune said. All but one concert is outside, in settings like Northstar-at-Tahoe and the beach at Donner Lake. They are a rare opportunity to experience music of this caliber, she said.

“Local residents do not have access to this level of music without traveling to San Francisco,” she said.

Upcoming for this week is the Manhattan Transfer, a 6-member band and 10-time Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble. They will perform Aug. 7 at Northstar. Also at the ski resort Aug. 9 are The Kingston Trio, who have played ’60s-style music for the last 45 years.

For the finale of the festival, guests will witness the performance of a 13-year-old prodigy playing music from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and the 1812 Overture accented by 50 MM Howitzer cannons.

“That’s not something you can even see in a concert hall,” Cohune said.