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Schuylkill River To Host Unique Musical Event

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A hidden facet of a Philadelphia landmark will host a unique musical event on Saturday, December 14th.

Tributaries: A Modern Cantata tells the story of the Schuylkill River and the waterways that feed it.

It will be performed Saturday afternoon in a drained and dry former pool inside the Fairmount Water Works, with the river just outside windows that will back light the singers.

Craig Hendrix is the founder of the Agave Opera Company.

“It’s a site-specific work, one night engagement. It’s basically a four movement cantata. We’ll have three singers and each singer will have their own solo movement and then the fourth movement they’ll all come together and sing as one, representative of the tributaries that come together to form the Schuylkill which flows behind the stage area,” Hendrix says.

The orchestra will be in what used to be one lane of the pool and the audience of about 130 will be in the other two.

Musician Will Blair is one of the creative forces behind the piece.

“This first section of the pool is the orchestra pit. These next two sections are the seating. The ledge of the pool itself, with the windows that overlook the Schuylkill River, adding the drama to sort of the backdrop, are acting as three separate stages for the singers,” Blair says.

Although this project went from notion to reality in a couple of months, Blair says he’s worked in this pool before, “as we presented a piece of music, we all noticed the acoustics which are generous and unique.”

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