Symphony puts music to dance in latest ‘Uplink’

The Sun-Gazette

Sequoia Symphony Orchestra presents Visalia native and Broadway performer Angelo Soriano in dance film to Leonard Bernstein’s “Fancy Free”

VISALIA – The Sequoia Symphony again displayed its artistic array and creative clout with its latest online video, a local adaptation of famed Broadway composer Leonard Bernstein.

Last week, the Sequoia Symphony Orchestra released its ninth installment of Musical Uplink, a musical dance film of Bernstein’s “Fancy Free”. Originally composed as a ballet choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the symphony’s version is choreographed by Tulare County native son Angelo Soriano and his wife Angelica Stiskin. Soriano is a performer in Broadway’s Aladdin and Stiskin is an artistic director at the famed Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Co-starring in the feature is Carly Caviglia of Visalia, a Broadway-bound rising star and a recent graduate of Syracuse University’s Musical Theater program. The number also stars some familiar scenes, including the bar at Vintage Press, the front of The Darling hotel and the Visalia Fox Theatre.

“As someone who loves musical stories, I knew the films presented a unique opportunity for a more narrative approach,” said Bruce Kiesling, music director of the Sequoia Symphony. “A dance film could be the perfect way to combine music and story, and to showcase some of our community’s treasures–not only brick and mortar treasures: restaurants, theaters, hotels, but also community members whose talent and achievements inspire us all.”

The latest Musical Uplink is based on a condensed version of Fancy Free. The plot follows three sailors set loose in New York City for 24 hours. The ballet’s success inspired Bernstein to adapt it into a Broadway musical called On The Town. It was again adapted into MGM’s 1949 cinematic musical starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Tulare County’s version features a bar tender and a patron who change things up by dancing the night away.

“It was an honor to return to Visalia, where I gathered most of my artistic training, to bring home a piece of Broadway magic,” Soriano said. “The combination of working with old friends and amazing local talent, diving into the beautiful score of Bernstein’s Fancy Free and shooting in the most magnificent locations Visalia offers made for a spectacular creative experience with my new friends at Sequoia Symphony and Go Creative Group!”

Kiesling, the symphony’s executive director Joshua Banda and Go Creative Group developed a bold and unprecedented program of short concert films for the digital season, “Musical Uplink”. Six months and nine films later the Sequoia Symphony Orchestra has tens of thousands of views, reached new audiences, and secured the highest single charitable contribution in the orchestra’s 61-year history.

“With the wonderful success of the first view videos, I knew we had the opportunity to do something really special for the final episodes,” Kiesling said. “Angelo and Carly were an ideal fit. Their skill, combined with the genius of our filmmakers and our wonderful orchestra resulted in a unique presentation that will stand as one of the most special of our digital offerings this season. It was thrilling to be a part of the process and the result speaks for itself.”

“Fancy Free” can be viewed at www.sequoiasymphonyorchestra.com, the Symphony’s YouTube channel, as well as Instagram and Facebook. The web series is part of a digital season planned to replace the symphony’s in-person concerts at the Visalia Fox Theatre, which have been canceled for the rest of the season and will resume this fall. The final installment of Musical Uplink is set to release next month.

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