Notes From Lyric Fest

In This Issue
UNPLUG! Family Concert This Weekend!
Program Highlights
Our Performers Speak
Young actor Karim Council will unplug with Lyric Fest by the weekend, guaranteed!
Photo: Lisa Schaffer
Young actor Karim Council
For a Song and Sound Journey
through Philadelphia

Saturday, May 22 at 3 PM
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, May 23 at 3 PM
The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia
201 S. 21st Street (@ Walnut St.), Philadelphia, PA

Our Season closes with a grand Family event you won’t want to miss!

UNPLUG! is a theatrical interactive journey that tells a story of a typical boy who is plugged into all things electronic… Until one day, his frustrated dad decides its time for some culture and fresh air.  He packs him off on a Philadelphia City tour, with stops at historical sites, the Avenue of the Arts, the zoo and more.  A couple of detours ensures a fun-filled program that integrates Jazz, Opera, Broadway, Classical songs, acting and dance.

We gathered a fabulous cast of professional performers all passionate about sharing great music with kids:

The cast of UNPLUG!

Actors Karim Council (photo above); photo L to R: actor Jake Miller; Vocal artists: Emily BullockSuzanne DuPlantisJeffrey HaliliRandi MarrazzoJohn PackardElizabeth Racheva; Dancer Crystal Fraser (Bryn Mawr College ’11), Pianist Laura Ward.

PLUS inter-generational jazz combo with students from Girard Academic Music Program, Temple University, Emilio Gravango, a retired bassist from The Philadelphia Orchestra, and jazz pianist Joseph Fitzmartin.

Special Guest: The Graduates of Keystone State Boychoir, 35 young men in grades 8-12, conducted by Joseph Fitzmartin.

Tickets: Adult $16, Students and children $5. To pre-order and for group rates call us at 215.438.1702.  Tickets will be sold at the door. Find more information at


Come to unplug with us and discover the wealth of musical diversity in our City with help from:

Samuel Barber, Giuseppe Verdi, Johannes Brahms, Jerome Kern, Aaron Copland, Jake Heggie, Charles Ives, Johnny Mercer, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Gilbert & Sullivan, favorites like Take me out to the Ball Game, Accentuate the Positive and more!

Staged scenes from the hilarious mini-opera Music Shop composed by Pennsylvanian Richard Wargo.


The program’s grand finale is a true musical homage to life, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s famous Waters of March, especially arranged for Lyric Fest by composer/arranger Brian Gaber.

There will be a Question-and-Answer session during the concert.

Four hands - warm hearts

 The Grads of Keystone State Boychoir in concert

Elizabeth Racheva, sopranoELIZABETH RACHEVA, Soprano: “I simply adore art song – case closed.  I had a liberal arts education, majoring in music at a four year college, where we didn’t have any opera productions. Instead, we focused on recital programming. This was my first exposure to art song, and I was hooked right away.  I was very fortunate to have teacher-mentors who were very passionate about this repertoire (Teresa Hopkin in Atlanta and Ruth Drucker in Baltimore).  At Peabody, I stayed an extra year beyond my masters just so I could do more recitals!

I love figuring out how and why a composer sets a text in a certain way – the word painting, the linguistic rhythms (I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself to try and sing in any language I can – no limits!), and the different musical styles and eras.  The collaborative aspect of art song performances – that a singer and pianist are equal partners in realizing a score – is also extremely rewarding, and I enjoy the vocal chamber music that many recital programs offer.  Plus – all this in an incredibly intimate and connecting environment with your audience. It’s just so special!”

Actors Jake Miller and Karim Council.JAKE MILLER, Actor: “Having studied both theatre and dance at Eastern University, I have worked throughout the region as an actor, dancer, choreographer and director.  As co-founder of Yes! And…, a Philadelphia-based arts education non-profit organization, I am passionate about the transformation of young people through play and imagination – and I try to bring a hope-filled playfulness and a faith in the power of creativity to all of my work.”  (Photo on the right: Lisa Schaffer).

The Grads of Keystone Boy ChoirSTEVEN FISHER, Associate Music Director, Keystone State Boychoir: “Most boy choirs kick the boys out once their voices begin changing.  We at KSB give them a safe place to sing and to explore their new voices.

Recently [The Graduates] sang with Denyce Graves at the Kimmel Center.  Also, we just came back from a concert tour of Chile and Antarctica.  We are the first choir to sing on the Seventh continent, and also the first choir to sing on all seven continents!

Choral music not only enhances quality of life, it allows children to fulfill a crucial need as human beings to feel connected to our fellow humans. For boys especially participation in the arts is vital.  Boys need to know that they can be emotionally-expressive and masculine.  Also, like a sport, choral music teaches kids to work together.”