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Reading Pops Orchestra
June 19, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
For the Father’s Day/Juneteenth celebration guest conductor Andrew Cusano will be leading the orchestra. Andy is the son of former Pops conductor, Paul Cusano, and Ann Cusano who plays in the bassoon section. Andy has also performed with the RPO in the percussion section over the years. He is a graduate of Eastman School of Music and is currently enrolled in a wind conducting master’s program at West Chester University. Andy is the band director at Governor Mifflin High School and was one of the founders of Berks Sinfonietta where he shared conducting duties and performed as a member of the ensemble.
The newest US national holiday of Juneteenth commemorates the day the message of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863, finally was verbally delivered in Texas, June 19, 1866, and the last enslaved people were released. Celebrations of the emancipation began that day, and grew over the years in communities across the South, eventually spreading to other parts of the country.
The Reading Pops Orchestra event will feature John Coakley, Minister of Music at West Lawn United Methodist Church, a graduate of West Chester University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, majoring in voice.
Additionally FreshWind vocal ensemble will also be joining us. FreshWind is a group of women who, over the years, have forged a rich relationship of sisterhood and friendship through their music, their faith, and their fierce desire to live out their lives in full bloom. The women of FreshWind, some of whom have been together over multiple decades, are each uniquely talented and gifted in their own right. Still, they recognize the exponential power – and blessing – of their connectedness and have remained unyielding in their desire and commitment to continue to make music together.
As members of the former Doxa Gospel Ensemble, these women have shared their musical talents with local audiences in their hometown of Reading, PA, as well as in Memphis, Nashville, New York, Orlando, and Philadelphia, to name a few. They’ve collaborated and performed with such artists as Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Donnie McClurkin, Bobby Lyle, Yolanda Adams, Oleta Adams, Fred Hammond, and many others. They’ve also performed on the Bobby Jones Presents television show as well as on the iconic stage of New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.
The women of FreshWind have built beautiful lives on a firm foundation of faith. Many of them are now living their best lives as mothers of grown children and grandmothers. This is now their season to harvest the fruits of wisdom and wit that have been cultivated over the years and release them through their music as a powerful expression of life of gratitude, grace, resilience and strength.