A whimsical celebration of the summer solstice
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“Already long associated with music, with the enthusiastic response to our Midsummer Night programs, Old Westbury Gardens is also establishing a reputation as an ideal venue for dance,” Kish notes. “It’s a nice night for families to get in the spirit of a midsummer celebration.”
Dancers perform throughout the gardens, including the Boxwood Gardens near the Colonnade, the Rose Garden, along the Primrose Path, and at the Thatched Cottage Garden.
“It’s a very relaxed evening,” Kish says. “Families can wander along with the dancers or simply relax and enjoy the gardens, which have a much different look at this time of day.”
And, in the longstanding Old Westbury Gardens tradition, visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket and picnic meal, to add to the relaxed, summery experience.
It all concludes on Sunday, when Rose and the Nightingale, a New York City-based ensemble of multi-instrumentalists and improvisers visit Old Westbury Gardens, for a unique concert, “The Spirit of the Garden,” at 3 p.m. The band — consisting of Jody Redhage (voice, cello, compositions), Leala Cyr (voice, trumpet), Sara Caswell (violin, mandolin), and Laila Biali (voice, piano), will introduce the audience to their current project, which features music inspired by botanic gardens that blurs the boundaries of jazz, folk, world, and chamber music. Their performance integrates poetry about gardens and nature as the lyrics to the songs, as inspiration for improvised interludes, and as thematic threads through the concert.
The estate, the former home of Peggie Phipps Boegner (whose father John S. Phipps, was heir to a U.S. Steel fortune) has become a cherished regional cultural institution. Midsummer Weekend is one of the landmark estate’s many offerings throughout its season, which has flourished under the stewardship of Boegner’s cousin Mary Stone Phipps.