Richmond County Orchestra Ushers in Holiday Season with Concerto di Natale

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Richmond County Orchestra Ushers in Holiday Season with Concerto di NataleThe Richmond County Orchestra (RCO) adds holiday cheer to the season with its 15th Annual Holiday concert at St. John's University with Concerto di Natale a celebration in song and dance on Sunday, December 2, 3 p.m. at St. John's University Gymnasium, 300 Howard Avenue, Staten Island.

$15 admission. FREE for children and students.

Call 718-990-5892 or visit:

The evening features RCO welcoming back, by popular demand, The New American Youth Ballet's latest "Nutcracker" with the Hellenic dancers from St Nicholas Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and "Let it go" from Disney's Frozen 2 sung by Staten Islander Kristin Michelle Palmeri. Choreography is by Elizabeth Flores with costumes by Bonnie Fernandez of The New American Youth Ballet.

Tenor Gerardo Gaytan performs Nussen Dorma and a duet performance of The Prayer with soprano Elissa Pfaender. Ms. Pfaender also performs O mio babbino Caro. Both Gaytan and Pfaender are winners of Riverside Opera Company's regional auditions.

Also returning, to the sounds of orchestral music, Dragon Kim's Karate USA with Master David, Robert and Ma'am Lisa Kim and Master CJ Eadicicco perform a balletically choreographed martial arts number.

This 15th annual Holiday concert at St John's University includes the Brighton Heights Youth and Staten Island Academy orchestras under the direction of Yvette Washington Wheatley in combination with the Richmond County Orchestra. Performances include Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and a Christmas Sing Along and a visit from Santa!

In time for the season are also festive sounds of Hanukkah.

Santa Claus will be on hand to pose with kids for photos. There will be a 50/50 and prizes and goodies for the children. Thanks to support from St John's University Office of Community Relations and the Italian Cultural Center.

Tenor Gerardo Gaytan was born in Mexico where he obtained a law degree. In 2012 he began studying music professionally. Singing has taken Gaytan to some of the most important stages in Mexico and the United States. He has performed in concerts, recitals and roles such as Rodolfo, Manrico, Edgardo, Cavaradossi, Alfredo and the Duke of Mantuas, with many companies including San Diego Small Opera (CA), Pacific Lyric Association (CA), CentrOpera Jasso (MX), Opera de Tijuana (MX) and New Carpa Theater (AZ). He currently resides in New York and is a student of Bill Schumman.

Soprano Elissa Pfaender is a dynamic artist whose experience allows her to successfully perform a variety of repertoire. Ms.Pfaender received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College, and her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Oberlin Conservatory. While at WCC and Oberlin, Ms. Pfaender sang a variety of roles such as Madame Lidoine, Zweite Dame, Arminda, Female Chorus, among others.

Elizabeth Flores, Co-Founder and Creative Director of the New American Youth Ballet has performed as a soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy where she received training on full scholarship, as well as received classical training from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Ms. Flores additionally was accepted to train with the London Royal Ballet School. She studied Voice and Musical Theater with The Julliard School and choreographed for their musical theater productions during her time there.

Founded in 1998, under the direction of Maestro Alan Aurelia, The Richmond County Orchestra continues its effort to enhance the musical and cultural life of Staten Island and strives to inspire a love of music through a presentation of the classical repertoire and programming that encourages interaction with audience members. The orchestra offers live performances in the three council districts of Staten Island, presenting works of living composers as well as music from the past, providing its listeners with an opportunity to explore a new artistic language. In addition, the RCO offers educational innovations designed to capture the interest of young students who want to pursue a career in music. Musicians from the RCO have gone into high schools and coached students in after-school programs which have culminated in Side-By-Side concerts with the students and the Orchestra.

The popularity of the RCO has grown so much over the years that they have been called upon to perform in various venues throughout the tristate area, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Natural History, Fairfield University, Washington Square Park, Asbury Park and more.

Prices are FREE for Children and Students. $15 per person in advance. $20 at the door.

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