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The Courier Post Reports: Red Bull Flugtag returns to the Camden, Philadelphia waterfronts this summer

Many don’t know what Flugtag means.

Some spectators might not even know what had seen.

But there are at least a couple things that are certain: it’s fun and it’s back.

After a two-year hiatus, the Red Bull Flugtag returns to the Camden and Philadelphia waterfronts this summer, encouraging teams of daring innovators to craft their own human-powered flying machines and freefall 30 feet into the Delaware River to the cheers of thousands.

Participants interested in entering the Sept. 15 event must register through www.redbullglugtagusa.com by June 15 for a chance to go airborne.

Flugtag, which means “Flying Day” in German, challenges contestants to engineer, build and pilot their homemade aircraft off a 30-foot ramp. Judges will consider distance flown before submerging in the Delaware River, showmanship and creativity.

Philadelphia has paraded many gnarly floats into the river, including replicas of the Popemobile, Santa’s sleigh and the time-traveling telephone booth of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

In addition to being human-powered, all vessels must be less than 30 feet wide and 450 pounds, including the pilot.

The Philadelphia Flugtag will be the second of four events in America this summer. More than 100 takeoffs have occurred since the maiden Flugtag in Vienna in 1991. Applications and directions are available on the website. The time for the Philadelphia Flugtag has not been announced.

-- Steve Wood

Full article here!

The Courier Post Reports: Riversharks mark Opening Night

CAMDEN — Celebrating his big 7th birthday, Richard Chandler was living large at the Riversharks home opener on Wednesday, joining the team in pregame introductions on the field and, by the bottom of the first inning, playing in the Fun Zone behind the Camden bullpen with relief pitchers so close by, he could touch them.

Wearing his maroon Berlin Township Little League game shirt and hat, the athletic Chandler smiled while shooting basketballs outside the right field line, only about half the distance between first and second base from the playing field here below the Ben Franklin Bridge.

For the young Chandler, he was enjoying himself so much you might have thought he was across the Delaware River on this overcast night at the Phillies-Mets game at Citizens Bank Park. Not even a light drizzle from the skies above could dampen his happiness.

His mother, though, was smiling just as wide and was just as happy as her son.

“I love it; they encompass everything,” Dawn Chandler of West Berlin said about her first visit to cozy Campbell’s Field. “There is entertainment for the children and my husband (Joel) in the stands watching the game and it’s affordable.”

Indeed, everyone was having a good time.

And, this is precisely the fail-proof formula of fun Chandler described – with her son able to play and fool around, with her husband able to watch quality Atlantic League professional baseball and with everyone able to go home with money still left in their pockets – that the Riversharks have been providing for 12 seasons now on the riverfront in Camden.

“Our baseball is really good, too,” said General manager Adam Lorber. “But people enjoy our Fun Zone, rock climbing wall, the fireworks ...”

The entire entertainment package drew about 4,000 fans a game last season in the award-winning 6,500 seat stadium.

The Riversharks sold 5,865 tickets for the opener against Lancaster, a game in which the Riversharks lost 15-5.

In addition to the regular season games, the Riversharks will also host the 2012 Atlantic League All-Star game on July 11 as well as the Ron Jaworski “Jaws Youth Playbook” celebrity softball game earlier that evening.

In their Delightful Dozen Year home opener against Lancaster, the Riversharks provided plenty of pregame pomp with New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno throwing out the first pitch while the Collingswood and Westmont fire departments presented the colors as the Rosa Middle School of Cherry Hill played the National Anthem.

“It is kind of fun, it is nice to get out and do something new and to show our talent,” said Ian McClellan, a sixth grader at Rosa.

The Riversharks manage to squeeze as much local color and charm as possible into each game.

Before the home opener, the Clearview Middle School concert band played and the First United Methodist Church of Williamstown choir sang America the Beautiful.

“It is a lot of fun here,” said Robbie McMurray, an 8th grader at Clearview Middle. “It is nice small games with a small amount of people and we are all here to have a good time.”

Keeping fans and family in touch with area baseball, the Riversharks boast some former South Jersey standouts on the team - pitcher Billy Rice and catcher Shea Harris, both of Washington Township and pitcher Joe D’Alessandro of Glassboro.

The Riversharks also claim a handful of former Major League players on the current roster, including outfielder Felix Pie, who played for the Orioles last year. Meanwhile, manager Jeff Scott was the scouting director of the Cardinals when St. Louis drafted Albert Pujols and bench coach Ron Karkovice, a first-round pick of the White Sox in 1982, caught Wilson Alvarez’s no hitter for Chicago in 1991 against the Orioles.

And, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver, who threw a no- hitter last week against the Twins, was with the Riversharks in 2005 while negotiating with the Angles. He was scheduled to pitch against these very same Lancaster Barnstormers, on the field for this opener, but a deal was reached with the Angels before his Riversharks’ debut.

But, seeing a former or future major leaguer isn’t why young Richard Chandler came to Campbell’s Field on his birthday.

“I like getting food,” he said, “and being happy.”

Written by
KEVIN CALLAHAN
Courier-Post Staff

Full article available here.

The Philadelphia Inquirer Review: Symphony in C hits all its marks

May 07, 2012|By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic

Though only nine minutes away from Philadelphia by train, Symphony in C’s Rutgers-Camden home is truly in another state, which is why the prospect of hearing Gyorgy Ligeti’s Violin Concerto on Saturday at the Gordon Theater felt vaguely perilous. This post-conservatory orchestra and its soloist Augustin Hadelich could be counted on to meet the music’s considerable demands. But what about the suburban audience?

The outset was not promising: After a new orchestra piece by Roger Zare titled Green Flash (winner of the orchestra’s annual Young Composers Competition), the audience seemed in no mood to be shoved out of its comfort zone. Green Flash (whose title refers to an atmospheric condition at sunset) was not at fault. It’s a thoroughly accomplished piece that begins with references to Wagner’s Das Rheingold and any number of symphonies by Martinu before moving into its own dreamy orchestral world reminiscent of Kaija Saariaho’s orchestral textures. Though contemplative, the piece never feels static and has its own stealthy narrative. I’d love to hear it again.

Ligeti’s 1993 concerto, however, is harder to parse from a coherence standpoint. The violin soloist plays a beautifully melancholic solo in the second movement only to be visited, from a rather alien key, by a consort of ocarinas (which American audiences think of as primitive children’s instruments). That’s only one instance of the piece’s surrealism. Alluring swarms of sound do give the piece a sensual element, but music director Rossen Milanov rightly emphasized the music’s lean clarity of imagery. Some conductors try to sweep its more eccentric elements under the rug of a larger orchestral texture. Not Milanov.

Whether or not that imagery is supposed to converge into a meaningful statement, Hadelich and Milanov masterfully framed the piece with a traditional sense of pacing, light and shade, tension and release, beginning and end, that drew you so much into this idiosyncratic world that you no longer needed to probe it for logic. It effectively seeped into your consciousness. By the end, the music no longer seemed difficult, in what was a fully satisfying if rather alternative musical experience. Hadelich delivered an incredibly smooth and concentrated melodic line with his distinctive, shimmering tone quality. You couldn’t hope for a more inviting performance.

Ligeti’s 1993 concerto, however, is harder to parse from a coherence standpoint. The violin soloist plays a beautifully melancholic solo in the second movement only to be visited, from a rather alien key, by a consort of ocarinas (which American audiences think of as primitive children’s instruments). That’s only one instance of the piece’s surrealism. Alluring swarms of sound do give the piece a sensual element, but music director Rossen Milanov rightly emphasized the music’s lean clarity of imagery. Some conductors try to sweep its more eccentric elements under the rug of a larger orchestral texture. Not Milanov.

Whether or not that imagery is supposed to converge into a meaningful statement, Hadelich and Milanov masterfully framed the piece with a traditional sense of pacing, light and shade, tension and release, beginning and end, that drew you so much into this idiosyncratic world that you no longer needed to probe it for logic. It effectively seeped into your consciousness. By the end, the music no longer seemed difficult, in what was a fully satisfying if rather alternative musical experience. Hadelich delivered an incredibly smooth and concentrated melodic line with his distinctive, shimmering tone quality. You couldn’t hope for a more inviting performance.

The second half, Dvorak’s ultra-popular Symphony No. 9 (“New World”), could have felt like a rerun, yet many passages were so magnetic that past performances of this piece fell completely from my memory. Even knowing every inch of this symphony, I often asked myself how Dvorak was going to find his way out of the many musical outposts it contains. Milanov has become the master of fluid, graceful transitions, not just between sections but when ideas more organically grow out of what came before. And when the connecting material feels so artistically ingenious, one has new appreciation of the events being connected. Rarely has this symphony seemed so loaded with diverse ideas. We all know about the folk music in the piece, but others sections sounded like a consort of antique viols.

Emotionally speaking, the piece is the apotheosis of homesickness, and Milanov clearly showed the composer’s way of conveying this: The warm, safe sound world of the second movement was animated by always finding one more thing to say, as if wanting to stay in that world forever but being unable to do so. Does that explain the symphony’s unceasing popularity?

Contact music critic David Patrick Stearns at dstearns@phillynews.com

Full article here.



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