Letter to the Editor: Keep an eye on the Esopus Chamber Orchestra

Dear Editor,

Keep your eye on the Esopus Chamber Orchestra! They're young, curious, talented and brave. I saw last Saturday's performance at SUNY Ulster: the first half was Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland, the second half a collaboration with Natalie Merchant. Her initial song began: "Margaret, are you grieving/Over Goldengrove unleaving..." -- I immediately recognized Gerard Manley Hopkins. One of Natalie's new projects is turning major poems into orchestral songs. For some reason, I was only dimly aware of 10,000 Maniacs and her subsequent solo career, but I learned that Ms. Merchant has a sensual, subtle voice and dancerly stage gestures. Why doesn't every 48 year old pop star record with an orchestra?