“I was dreaming to come to America. Yes, I was dreaming and my dream came true. It was so peaceful. It was so wonderful here. It was quiet. You were not afraid. The doors were open.” Polish immigrant Helen Cohen, emigrated in 1920, age 20.
These words, gleaned from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, combine with contemporary composer Peter Boyer’s original orchestral score in Ellis Island: The Dream of America. The Texas Medical Center Orchestra will perform the popular and relevant work at 7:00 p.m. on November 9, 2019 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Ellis Island celebrates the historic American immigrant experience by highlighting seven immigrants’ stories, dramatically interpreted here by young actors from Houston’s Emery/Weiner School.
The Orchestra will open with “The Sea Hawk Overture” by Joseph Korngold, an Austrian-born Jewish composer who fled persecution in Europe to come to the United States. In addition, internationally renowned artists from the Mitsi Dancing School will join TMCO as the dancers interpret Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Mitsi Dancing School is owned and directed by Chinese immigrants Jia Ma and Teng Fei. The school was voted one of the Rising 10 small businesses by Houston’s Asian Chamber of Commerce in 2019.
The Program: Erich Korngold Overture to the Sea Hawk; Igor Stravinsky The Firebird Suite (L’Oiseau de feu; 1919 version; Concert Suite for Orchestra No. 2); Peter Boyer Ellis Island: The Dream of America. All performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are free!
The award-winning Texas Medical Center Orchestra, one of the few community orchestras in the nation with origins in the health professions, includes many immigrant members dedicated to performing affordable concerts for Houston’s diverse audiences and bringing programmatic support for medically related charities.
This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 AM-1:00 PM. If tickets remain at 1:00 PM, the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.
The show goes on rain or shine.
Produced by the Texas Medical Center Orchestra
The orchestra will be accepting donations at the concert with funds distributed to the TMCO and to various charities that help immigrants. [Organizer's description]