Sept. 13, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A concert that features a group of local musicians playing Broadway hits is coming to Sunnyside this Saturday.
The concert, called Bravissimo Broadway, will take place on Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Sunnyside Reformed Church, located at 48-03 Skillman Ave.
The musicians will perform a number of iconic Broadway showtunes including music from the Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Hamilton and Les Misérables. The concert will last around an hour and entry is free.
“We will play around 15 songs from some of the most famous shows on Broadway,” said David Shenton, a local musician and composer who is organizing the event. “It won’t be a classical concert, we will engage with the audience and talk to them about some of the facts about the music as well.”
Shenton said he is using a $5,000 grant he received last month from the City Artist Corps to cover the cost of the event. The city-wide initiative provides funding to artists who suffered economic hardship during the pandemic.
Shenton said he wants to host the concert in Sunnyside in order to give back to the community and generate donations for local causes. He has lived in Sunnyside since 2002 and hails from England.
Attendees will be asked to make a financial or food donation on the day. The donations will be split between the Sunnyside Reformed Church and the Sunnyside Mosaic Food Pantry on 43rd Avenue.
Shenton said that a portion of the funds raised will help the Sunnyside Reformed Church purchase a new boiler. Shenton and his wife Erin Shields, who is a soprano, have already raised more than $10,000 during the pandemic for the Mosaic Food Pantry by hosting virtual musical sessions. They also volunteer at the pantry twice a week, he said.
The Broadway hits will be performed by the three-person group called Empire Trio along with other musicians. Empire Trio is comprised of Shenton on piano, Shields and tenor Adam von Almen, who will guest appear in place of regular performer Adam Cannedy.
Empire Trio has played at well known venues across the U.S. including at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, as well as the Redlands Bowl in California. The trio has also performed in Canada and the U.K.
The group was previously known as O Sole Trio and has played a number of concerts in the Woodside/Sunnyside area in recent years, Shenton said.
The group will perform at the concert Saturday alongside violinist Maria Im, who is from Woodside, cello player Laura Metcalf from Manhattan; and upright bass player Matt Scharfglass from Sunnyside.
The concert will be a non-ticketed event and the audience will be capped at around 100, Shenton said. No registration is required.
Attendees will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the event.