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Jessica Gondwe Joins Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra in Concert

(Sept, 2010) Soprano Jessica Gondwe will join the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra (GCO) for its opening concert on September 12, at 4:00 pm in the Gettysburg Seminary Chapel. This concert, opening Music, Gettysburg’s 30th anniversary season, will include Mozart and Brahms. Gondwe will perform a range of music including operatic arias and popular songs by Gershwin and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

With this concert, the GCO is enters its 14th year of operation and is directed by Norman and Carolyn Nunamaker, Norman handling the musical aspects of the group and Carolyn as the Chief Financial Officer.

Jessica Gondwe was born in Manitoba, Canada, when her late father was teaching at the University of Manitoba. When Derrick Gondwe joined the faculty at Gettysburg College as Professor of Economics the family moved to the community where Jessica received her early schooling. Jessica graduated from Gettysburg Area High School in 1994 and had spent many hours during these early years pursuing her first love of dancing. She continued dancing locally and regionally and received formal training at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. It was while employed as a dancer in Broadway productions in the area that she discovered her extraordinary singing talent. She studied with members of the vocal faculty at Peabody Conservatory as well as with Dr. Nathan Carter, the former Director of the Morgan State University Choir, a group well known to Gettysburg audiences. Dr. Carter had provided a scholarship to Jessica in order to pursue her vocal studies and she was a member of this famed choir for a number of years. She has been a soloist with the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster as well as having a leading role in the production of "Battle Cry," which had its performances in Gettysburg during the summer of 2008. This Broadway musical was directed by the New York based team of Gabriel Berry and composer Paul Bogave. Those of you who heard Jessica sing at the 2008 Gettysburg Heritage Festival will remember the tremendous response to her performance.

Gondwe will sing a number of operatic arias as well as some more popular songs by Gershwin and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Arias by Puccini, Verdi, Catalani, and Bizet will be joined by the songs "Summertime" and "My Mans Gone Now," from Porgy and Bess, and "Think of me," and "All I ask of you," from Phantom of the Opera.

The GCO will present the ever-popular overtures to Mozart’s "Magic Flute," and "Egmont," as well as the famous Brahms Hungarian Dances No. 1, 5, and 6, and the gigantic "Pines of Rome," written by Ottorini Respighi. This last work will be one of the most imposing works ever performed by the local orchestra, requiring large wind, brass and percussion sections as well as harp and piano. According to the conductor, Norman Nunamaker, the entire stage of the Chapel will be filled with musicians and that during the last movement of the Pines, the roof of the Chapel may be moved a few inches one way or another!

The Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra is a local professional ensemble, with members coming from Baltimore, Washington, Harrisburg, York, and many places between. But the majority of musicians come from the Gettysburg community, with many players from the Gettysburg Public School System and from the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College. One of the missions of the GCO is to include as many local musicians as possible either as members or as soloists. Many graduates of the local schools have gone on to New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, but have been brought back to Gettysburg to solo with the local orchestra. Jessica Gondwe will join a full roster of local musicians who have been soloists with the group.

This Sunday, September 12th is free and open to the public. This concert opens the 2010-11 season of Music, Gettysburg!, a premier free concert series featuring the finest regional, national and international musicians hosted by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettyburg. The seminary chapel is located at 147 Seminary Ridge on the west edge of Gettysburg. For more information about this and other concerts remaining in the Music, Gettysburg! schedule, please call 717-334-6286 ext 2197 or email or visit the web site at .

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