Flushing Town Hall partners with NY Philharmonic for series of weekend festivals across the city

Flushing Town Hall
Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. (QNS file photo)

Flushing Town Hall is partnering with the New York Philharmonic Bandwagon for a series of four weekend-long festivals across the five boroughs from May 7 until the end of the month.

In Queens, the performances will take place from a mobile, 20-foot shipping container at St. Albans Park.

Queens’ art institutions such as Flushing Town Hall and A Better Jamaica, are among six institutions partnering with the NY Phil Bandwagon for the musical event. Over four weeks, the Philharmonic and its partners will present a total of 39 performances by more than 100 artists, which span artistic disciplines from reggae, jazz and opera, to dance, poetry, theater, film and visual art.

“Flushing Town Hall is thrilled to be a community partner with the NY Phil Bandwagon. This incredible project will bring amazing arts programs to all five boroughs in a unique way and give our city a much-needed boost of fun and the arts,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive and artistic director of Flushing Town Hall. “Some of the artists audiences can look forward to enjoying in Queens include jazz vocalist Antoinette Montague, DJ Rekha and the Colombian music ensemble Grupo Rebolu.”

Deborah Borda, Linda and Mitch Hart president and CEO of New York Philharmonic, said last summer’s 81 Bandwagon concerts were a beacon for them — the beginning of a dialogue.

“Emerging from this difficult period, we have to consider deeply what we have learned and what we want to change. We want to take that crucial work of partnership, in all its forms, even further. Bandwagon 2 allows use to center the voices of our partners, and utilize the Philharmonic’s resources to amplify the work of our collaborators,” Borda said. “Fundamentally, it’s an opportunity to make joy with our community.

The mobile venue for Bandwagon 2 is a customized 20-foot shipping container, which features a foldout stage and LED video wall designed and created by Chad Owens; a state-of-the-art Meyer Sound Spacemap Go system; integrated lighting; and a video control system designed and created by Mark Grey. Groundswell, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has created a new mural to adorn the sides of the container. Artist Julia Cocuzza designed the mural in collaboration with the Philharmonic and all partner organizations, incorporating visual elements important to the identities of each group. 

Anthony Roth Castanzo, creator and executive producer, said he thought a lot about how the words community and communication have the same root. 

“What does a true dialogue look like? How can partnerships inform the identity of the New York Philharmonic? In building Bandwagon 2 to delve deeper into engagement and collaboration, we have discovered new harmonies and found different approaches not only to making music, but to listening,” Castanzo said. 

Programming for each weekend’s festival centers around artists from the communities in which they take place. Artists and repertoire for each festival will be announced on a weekly basis. The lineup for Queens includes the following: 

  • James Lovell and The Afri-Garifuna Music Ambassadors (JLAMA), in partnership with Bronx Music Heritage Center, share their musical tradition and perform alongside musicians from the Orchestra.
  • Soprano Laquita Mitchell will perform with the Harlem Chamber Players (Manhattan) and with a Philharmonic string quartet.

For a complete list of the performances, click here.

New works by participants in the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program are being featured each week. All programming is subject to change. For more information visit nyphil.org/bandwagon or follow the New York Philharmonic’s social media channels.

NY Phil Bandwagon 2 is being planned in adherence to the New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 protocols. Masks, social distancing, and self-screening will be required at all performances.

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