‘Ellis Island’ to be First-Ever National Television Broadcast from Concert Hall for PBS’ ‘Great Performances’
Plus, Symphony Supporter S. Paul Musco Recipient of NECO’s Ellis Island Medal of Honor
Exciting news! Pacific Symphony’s performance of Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” in April will be recorded by PBS for broadcast on the acclaimed “Great Performances” series—the first-ever national broadcast from the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall! This national platform on public television ensures that people in Southern California and around the nation will be able to enjoy this profound musical experience during the 2017-18 season of “Great Performances.” Now in its 44th year, “Great Performances” has presented programs from nearly every discipline of performing arts, featuring some of the best-known orchestras in the world, including the New York Philharmonic, LA Phil, Vienna Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and many more. (See subsequent stories for more on the concert.)
Boyer reflects on this accomplishment, “Since I composed ‘Ellis Island’ 15 years ago, it has been my dream to see the work produced for PBS’ ‘Great Performances,’ America’s preeminent performing arts television series, and it is thrilling to see that dream coming true with these performances by Pacific Symphony.”
“Great Performances,” a series devoted to the performing arts since 1972, brings the best in the performing arts from across America and around the world to the U.S. television audience through its diverse programming portfolio of classical music, opera, popular song, musical theater, dance, drama and performance documentaries. The longest-running performing arts anthology on television, the series has received numerous honors, garnering 67 Emmy Awards and six George Foster Peabody awards.
The Symphony’s performance will be recorded at the April 7-8 concerts, with prominent actors (Lesley Fera, Michael Nouri, Samantha Sloyan, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Kira Sternbach, Barry Bostwick and Camryn Manheim) reading the words of the immigrants portrayed in “Ellis Island.” Serving as executive producer is David Horn; as series producer, Bill O’Donnell; and as producer, John Walker, who has received 14 Emmy nominations and two Emmy wins for his distinguished body of work. Directing the broadcast is Matthew Diamond, whose credits range from “The Metropolitan Opera HD Live” to “The Wiz Live,” and the recording engineer is Shawn Murphy, renowned for his work with composers such as John Williams and James Newton Howard. The PBS broadcast of “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” is made possible through a sponsorship from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations - NECO.
Another big moment takes place on Saturday, April 8, at the Westin South Coast Plaza, concurrent with the Symphony’s ACF concerts and PBS Broadcast, when NECO—whose mission is to honor and preserve the diversity of America, and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups—will confer the Ellis Island Medal of Honor on business leader, philanthropist and Symphony supporter S. Paul Musco. The Medal is presented each year to 100 natural-born and naturalized citizens who share with those less fortunate than themselves and maintain traditions of their ethnic heritage while upholding the ideals and spirit of America. NECO Chairman Nasser Kazeminy will attend the event to confer the Medal and will be joined by 200 guests, including former Medalists from California and several who will receive the Medal on Ellis Island in May at NECO’s annual Ellis Island Medal of Honor ceremony.
Profiled in The Orange County Register in 2015 as one of OC’s most influential people, Musco was asked about the biggest influence in his life. He responded: “My parents were poor immigrants, and they worked hard and always shared with others."
Emceed by Gaddi Vasquez (2014 Medalist), the festivities include a Marine Corps Color Guard, tenor Orson Van Gay singing the national anthem, and recognition of Orange County philanthropists (in memoriam): Herb Nootbaar and Henry Segerstrom. The audience will also enjoy the Southern California Children’s Chorus singing “America the Beautiful,” and together with Van Gay, will lead everyone in singing “God Bless America.” This induction dinner for new Medalists will mark only the sixth time that this ceremony has been held outside of Ellis Island. Past Medalists include six U.S. presidents, one foreign president, Nobel Prize winners and leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government, along with everyday Americans who have made freedom, liberty and compassion a part of their life’s work. Former United States Treasurer and 2016 Medalist Rosario Marin will lead the pledge of allegiance and Symphony Board member and 2014 Medalist Charlie Zhang will offer a toast to the United States of America.