RISE Gala Goes All-Virtual with Celebration of Artistry, Education, Innovation & History

Thursday • January 14, 2021

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO)’s invites the community to an evening of music, networking, and recognition at RISE, a virtual Gala celebration on Saturday, February 6, 2021.

RISE will recognize the NHSO’s perseverance in facing unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic while also celebrating the orchestra’s renewed dedication to community representation, artistic collaborations, and inclusive music-making.

Shari Smith, NHSO board director and gala committee co-chair, says, “The New Haven Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 127th season in a time of unparalleled social, health, and economic inequalities within our communities. More than ever, music serves as the balm, a source of reprieve, healing, and inspiration for a hopeful, more equitable tomorrow. Our Symphony is rising yet again to meet our community’s needs, inspiring us to seek a more beautiful and equal future, and recognizing the good works within our community in the past year.”

Smith will serve as emcee for the evening, which will be broadcast live from the WoodWinds in Branford, CT. While gala attendance will be virtual, the NHSO will offer dinner to-go from the WoodWinds.

The evening’s festivities will include:

  • The world premiere of RISE, featuring music written and performed by NHSO Young Composer Program graduate Anton Kot, original choreography by Nikki Claxton, and dance performed by Jah’lil Jeffries
  • Original music written by Wilbur Cross High School students and performed by the NHSO’s Harmony Quartet
  • An exclusive virtual red-carpet cocktail hour hosted by Broadway star Linedy Genao, featuring audience messages and a community music showcase
  • An interactive after-party
  • A special message from Senator Richard Blumenthal
  • Silent auction including a diverse array of art, music, educational opportunities, experiences, and more!

The NHSO Gala will honor NHSO Board Director Burton Alter with the Symphony’s highest honor, the Wattles Award. An admired leader among New Haven’s not-for-profit boards and an influential thought leader at national advocacy organizations, Burton Alter has served as an officer of the League of American Orchestras and the National Guild for Community Arts Education. In New Haven, he is the President of the Board at the Community Soup Kitchen, having previously served as Board President of the NHSO and Neighborhood Music School. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Advocate for the Arts by the Connecticut Commission for the Arts.

Additionally, the Symphony will celebrate its foundational values with the “NHSO Quartet Awards:”

Artistry: Harolyn Blackwell, soprano
Education: Diane Brown & Xia Feng, New Haven Free Public Librarians and Community Leaders
History: Helen Eugenia Hagan (1891-1964), composer and pianist
Innovation: Yale University School of Public Health, represented by Dean Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD

Buy Tickets

The Gala is sponsored by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Yale New Haven Health, Valley Community Foundation, WoodWinds, and Chip-in-a-Bottle.

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