The Boston Landmarks Orchestra is gearing up for their 2018 season of free concerts at the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade.
On July 11, the the first ever “Season Tune-Up” will be held at the Hatch Shell one week before the concerts begin. Landmarks Orchestra conductor and music director Christopher Wilkins described the event as “a little bit of a circus atmosphere.” Attendees can try out orchestral instruments at the “Musical Playground” or try their hand at conducting in the “Maestro Zone,” which will be manned by Wilkins himself. Dozens of arts organizations and other community groups will be there, as well as face painting and exhibits from such places as the Boston Children’s Museum and the New England Aquarium, which is bringing a touch tank.
The full concerts will begin on July 18, at 7 p.m., and will be held every Wednesday until August 29.
“Every program is built to be memorable and ambitious and hopefully a one of a kind experience,” Wilkins said. He said that the orchestra reaches a lot of people who have never attended a rehearsal or been up close to an orchestra, and that watching the faces of kids light up as they experience the music is one of his favorite parts of being a conductor.
Wilkins said that the Landmarks Orchestra aims to perform the best orchestral music out there, and he appreciates “the closeness to the music and a chance to go through it every step of the way to get it as magnificent as it can be.”
The theme for the concert on July 18 is Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” and will feature young musicians from ZUMIX and the St. Paul’s Girls’ School Choir from London. The St. Paul’s Girls’ School Choir will be performing Holst’s The Planets for its 100th anniversary. Holst taught at the school, and the finale of the piece was originally composed for the choir. On July 25, the concert highlights teenagers from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. The Young Artists Orchestra will perform Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and the Young Artists Wind Ensemble will be performing music of Leonard Bernstein, who was a student at Tanglewood in 1940.
The August 1 concert features the Boston Landmarks Orchestra in collaboration with One City Choir, the Back Bay Chorale, and four soloists who will perform Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.
Wilkins said in a press release from the orchestra, “A spirit of joy and openness lies at the heart of all Boston Landmarks Orchestra programs. Families, children, newcomers, and first-time concertgoers all have a welcome place at our concerts. The 2018 season celebrates great orchestral literature, innovation and creativity in our city, and the diverse talents of our many collaborators.”
The Boston Landmarks Orchestra, which was founded by conductor and community advocate Charles Ansbacher, “is comprised of many of the area’s finest professional musicians,” the release states. The orchestra has performed at such places as Franklin Park, Jamaica Pond, and the USS Constitution, but has called the Hatch Shell home since 2007.
The orchestra’s 2018 sponsors include the Free for All Concert Fund, The Boston Foundation, 99.5 WCRB, WCVB-TV Channel 5, and The Boston Globe. The programs are supported in part by grants from Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Boston Cultural Council.
For the full concert lineup, visit landmarksorchestra.org.