Arts Entertainment Lifestyle Reader Contributed

West Hartford Symphony Classical Concert Will Include Unique Collaborations

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The West Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Classical Concert will be held at Roberts Theatre on the campus of Kingswood Oxford School.


What a concert we have lined up for you!

The WHSO is collaborating with the Eastern Connecticut State University Chorale, under the direction of David Belles, performing Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams’ “Antiphon,” Verdi’s “Va Pensiero,” Korsakov’s “Procession of the Nobles” from Mlada, and Faure’s “Pavane.”

The first half ends with the famous “Polovtsian Dances” by Alexander Borodin.

Narrator Mike Dunne. Submitted photo

The second “opera half” focuses on famous arias, duets and overtures performed by sopranos Kate Callahan-Hardman, Emily Riggs, tenor David Baker, and bass baritone Raymond Hardman. Background stories and scenes to the opera pieces will be cleverly delivered by our favorite narrator, Michael Dunne.

The concert will be held at Roberts Theatre, Kingswood Oxford School, 170 Kingswood Rd., West Hartford, CT, on Sunday, April 9, 2017, beginning at 3 p.m.

This is a great opportunity to hear the WHSO performing opera and other familiar classical music for symphony. For tickets, please call: 860-521-4362 or order online from the website: General Seating is $20, Senior/Students is $15. Tickets will also be sold at the door, which opens at 2:15 p.m.

Founded in 2002, the WHSO is composed entirely of volunteer musicians providing Classical, Holiday and Pops throughout the year. Conductor Richard Chiarappa is a co-founder of the orchestra. Additional information is available by contacting the Conductor, the Public Relations Director, or by visiting

About Michael Dunne – Narrator

Professionally trained in public speaking, Mike Dunne has narrated television and radio broadcasts in Hollywood, and has conducted numerous management training and public-speaking seminars. He has performed a number of engagements with the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, including the orchestra’s opera programs and, recently, a narration of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures At An Exhibition.”

Along with his career in clinical social work and public speaking, Mike is also a choral singer. He has performed with the Berkshire Choral Festival and, in Connecticut, with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, the New Haven Oratorio Choir, the Yale Russian Chorus and the Hartford Chorale. He and his wife, Nuala, residents of West Hartford, are enthusiastic opera fans.

About Dr. David Belles – Professor of Music, Eastern Connecticut State University

David Belles joined the faculty at Eastern Connecticut State University in August 2002. In addition to conducting the Eastern Concert Chorale, Chamber Singers, and University Singers, he teaches voice, conducting and choral literature at ECSU.  

Choirs singing under Dr. Belles’ baton have performed at notable concert venues across the country and abroad, including multiple solo appreaces with Eastern Concert Chorale at Carnegie Hall. He remains active as clinician and adjudicator, as well as guest conductor for statewide choral festivals in the Northeast and Northwest United States. Prior to his appointment at Eastern, Dr. Belles taught at College of Idaho, and Earlham College in Richmond, IN.

Conductors with whom Dr. Belles has studied include Elmer Thomas, Earl Rivers, John Leman, William Hatcher, and Timothy Stalter. He received the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the State University of New York at Oswego, a Master¹s degree in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the DMA in choral conducting and pedagogy from the University of Iowa.

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