When Camelot Met Casals

By Bill O’Neill | Pictured above: Cape Symphony conductor Jung-Ho Pak

The Cape Symphony will pay tribute to President John F. Kennedy with a commemorative concert on the eve of his 100th birthday.

In a White House where culture was important, one of the highlights of the Kennedy years was a performance by Pablo Casals. In November 1961, the famed cellist played before a formally attired audience that included the first couple and Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

“We’re going to recreate it a little bit because we’ll have the actual cello that belonged to Pablo Casals performed by an incredibly talented young man, Amit Peled,” says Cape Symphony conductor Jung-Ho Pak. Peled will perform some of Casals’ best-known work.

The program will include “Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy,” by Leonard Bernstein, the theme song from “Camelot,” by Frederick Lowe and a musical tribute to Jackie Kennedy. “Her interest in the arts and literature were unsurpassed,” says Pak. The finale of the show will be a performance of composer Peter Boyer’s 15-minute work “The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers.”

“It has gorgeous music, very moving, and incorporates inspiring speeches given by JFK, Bobby and Teddy,” says Pak. “We’re going to take the actual footage of them speaking and then pair it with the orchestra, which has never been done before. It’s going to be a perfect finale to an eclectic evening.”

The John F. Kennedy Centennial Commemoration Concert will be performed at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis. More info

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