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Adapt and Survive: Two Orchestras Fuse and Innovate

New collaborative concert series begins Sept. 11.

The Westfield Symphony Orchestra and the New Philharmonic of New Jersey have joined forces in a program both organizations hope will cut costs, increase revenue and double audiences with its powerful and unusual performances. This super-orchestra will perform in Westfield and locally at the College of St. Elizabeth.

The inaugural season of “Musica Morristown” will include three, festival-style concerts, starting Sept. 11. All will take place on Sundays at 5 p.m. at the .

"Two orchestras coming together like this to fuse their organizations has not happened for over 35 years," said WSO music director David Wroe. He said that the collaboration could aid both groups in surviving the “economic tsunami that has hit the arts community in the last few years.

In the past, the WSO has worked with choirs, dance companies, poets and other literary artists, Wroe said. It is the mission of both organizations to continue this objective, he said. "It’s in our philosophy to find synergies with other art."

Wroe said the 560-seat, state-of-the-art , is the perfect venue.

"In the spirit of making ourselves more relevant, we want to encourage young people to experience the joys of symphonic music and make it as easily accessible as possible," he said. "Doing it at Dolan Hall is fitting in with that mission."

The concerts scheduled are:

Sunday, Sept. 11: Commemorative concert with music chosen to mirror the emotions of the American people. Symphonic music, Wroe said, is "the perfect vehicle to draw people’s attention to this momentous event in American history.”

Sunday, Oct. 30: In honor of Halloween, Douglas Fairbanks’ 1931 masterpiece The Iron Mask be shown with the symphony supplying the music. "We want people to come in costume," Wroe said. "We’re planning a costume contest and there will be a first prize of $200." This event has been held yearly in Westfield with great success.

The third and final concert in the series, as yet undated, will include a collaboration with the world famous Dance Theater of Harlem. The dancers will bring alive, physically, a number of orchestral favorites and some lesser-known pieces as well, Wroe said.

"We hope that the community will welcome us with open arms," Wroe said. "There’s a lot to look forward to but we are most thrilled about making a very noisy splash in the cultural arena and we believe with these programs, we will do it."

For tickets, which are priced at $25, $40 and $50 and subscription details, call 973-408-3978 or visit The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre box office at Drew University. For further information about the New Philharmonic-Westfield Symphony collaborative, call 908-232-9400.

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