Lend a hand and you’ll be able to lend your ears (for free!) to the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice. Now in its third year, the Festival celebrates the human voice as an instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression through presenting world-class performances – from opera to Broadway, barbershop to Baroque – in Phoenicia and surrounding areas. This year’s festival, to be held August 2 to 5, seeks volunteers to act as ushers, parking attendants, artist liaisons, carpenters, technical crew, security, photographers and everything in between. In return for at least six hours of work, volunteers will receive two complimentary festival passes, a festival tee-shirt, special parking privileges and admission to a post-event volunteer appreciation party.
“Anybody who cares and can take direction – in that order,” said Carol Urban, marketing director, “even just people who want to carry trays of food around in the VIP section. You name it, we do it, and it’s great fun.”
With 20 events over four days, there’s something for everyone. In “A Tribute to Peter Schickele,” six choirs conducted by Douglas Martin, featuring concert pianist Justin Kolb, will play two never-before-recorded works by the American composer and local resident: The Seasons and Go for Broke. Listeners can catch La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice), a one-woman opera; a performance by Prana, a nine-voice a cappella overtone choir from Woodstock, and a Mongolian throat singer; and many more.
One highlight of the weekend will be a performance of Madama Butterfly by internationally renowned singers including lyric soprano Yunah Lee (Butterfly), tenor Richard Troxell (Pinkerton), and baritone Louis Otey (Sharpless). They will be accompanied by the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Metropolitan Opera maestro Steven White. A Japanese-themed Full Moon Fundraising Dinner, catered by chef Diane Reeder of the Queens Galley in Kingston, will be held the night before the show.
The combination of big-city talent and a small rural town is truly magical, said Urban.
“Here you are, out in the country, a couple thousand people all totally mesmerized by what’s going on in the shell, which focuses the sound,” said Urban. “You just watch and listen to this magical thing that was written hundreds of years ago, and you’re surrounded by dragonflies. It’s electric.”
For more information on this year’s Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice (August 2-5), visit the festival page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/phoeniciavoicefest or call (845) 586-3588. Tickets, which range from $15 to $25 per event, can be purchased online at www.phoeniciavoicefest.org. To volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.