Giralda concert turns 30 with some meteorological magic

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OVER THE RAINBOW...which is what the New Jersey Symphony played when this one appeared over Giralda Farms. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
OVER THE RAINBOW...which is what the New Jersey Symphony played when this one appeared over Giralda Farms. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Hollywood could not have scripted it any better.

As the New Jersey Symphony prepared to launch into “Over the Rainbow” on Sunday… Conductor Gemma New alerted the audience to an honest-to-goodness rainbow glistening over Giralda Farms in Madison.

Talk about spectacular birthdays! The Giralda Music & Arts Festival turned 30 in style.

“I have a theatrical background,” quipped Tom Werder, executive director of Morris Arts, which staged the festival as a fundraiser for the nonprofit arts organization.

Gemma New, assistant director of the NJ Symphony, spied a rainbow over Giralda Farms. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Gemma New, assistant director of the NJ Symphony, spied a rainbow over Giralda Farms. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Or perhaps the rainbow was one final detail arranged by volunteer David Clair, a retired Exxon executive who has overseen Giralda festival planning for years.

David is stepping down from that role. Kadie Dempsey of Morris Arts presented him with a painting of Giralda Farms by Anthony Galati of Stanhope. If Anthony had painted a rainbow, nobody would have believed him.

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Rain showers skirted the concert, making for a breezy, comfortable afternoon with just enough cloud cover to keep the broiling sun at bay.

The picnic crowd gave every appearance of enjoying the first Sunday of summer.

“It’s great being outside with the kids, with great music,” said Chatham resident Peter Flynn, towing his three young kids in a red wagon.

Kari LaMancusa said friends had been telling her about the Giralda concert almost since the day her family arrived in Chatham from Columbus, Ohio, a few months ago.

“People told us we’ve got to come, it’s so much fun,” she said, noting that she still is adjusting to New Jersey’s fast-paced lifestyle.

“It’s a different world, a different culture. Things are really dialed up here,” Kari said,as her 4-year-old daughter Clara sat with two new playmates, Riley and Piper Yates, ages 4 and 5.

THAT'S THE TICKET: The Simons won $1,800 in the 50-50 raffle. Janet and Richard Simon are with their kids, Caleb, 11, and Abigail, 6. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
THAT'S THE TICKET: The Simons won $1,800 in the 50-50 raffle. Janet and Richard Simon are with their kids, Caleb, 11, and Abigail, 6. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

This year’s festival proved that charity really does begin at home. The 50-50 raffle, a fundraiser for art scholarships, produced an $1,800 winning ticket for Richard Simon,whose Dodge Foundation office in Morristown occupies the same floor as Morris Arts.

Coincidentally, Giralda Farms was once the estate of the late Geraldine R. Dodge, for whom the foundation is named.

The crowd settles in for the 30th Giralda Music & Art Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
The crowd settles in for the 30th Giralda Music & Art Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Young fans listen to the NJ Symphony at the 30th annual Girald Music & Art Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Young fans listen to the NJ Symphony at the 30th annual Girald Music & Art Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder and Communications Director Lynn Siebert at the 30th annual Giralda Music and Art Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder and Communications Director Lynn Siebert at the 30th annual Giralda Music and Art Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kadie Dempsey of Morris Arts presents a painting to volunteer David Clair, who is stepping down after organizing the Giralda Music & Art Festival for years. Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder looks on. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kadie Dempsey of Morris Arts presents a painting to volunteer David Clair, who is stepping down after organizing the Giralda Music & Art Festival for years. Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder looks on. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
PEACE, I SAY:  Michelle Mumoli of Morris Arts in a mellow moment at the Giralda Music & Art Festival in Madison. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
PEACE, I SAY: Michelle Mumoli of Morris Arts in a mellow moment at the Giralda Music & Art Festival in Madison. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Raffle tickets benefited student art scholarships. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Raffle tickets benefited student art scholarships. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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