Giralda Festival dodges raindrops for splendid symphonic evening

Sarah Dischner, 6, is ready for any weather at the 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Sarah Dischner, 6, is ready for any weather at the 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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TAKING LESSONS: Future conductor studies technique of Gemma New at the 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
TAKING LESSONS: Future conductor studies technique of Gemma New at the 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Tom Werder spent most of the weekend toggling through five weather apps on his smartphone.  A light drizzle still was falling on Sunday at 11:30 am — the cutoff time for moving the Giralda Music and Arts Festival indoors.

But the  executive director of Morris Arts listened to his apps, and they paid off with a comfortable and fairly dry afternoon and evening at Giralda Farms in Madison.

“It was a good call, I think,” Werder said, surveying the scene.

Ignoring dark clouds, hundreds of friends and families picnicked on the rolling lawn as the New Jersey Symphony got through its program of classical- and Broadway favorites with only a brief pause, to retreat from a few sprinkles.

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The festival, which marked its 32nd year, is a fund-raiser for Morris Arts. Events included a communal children’s poem, art sales, a picnic contest and raffle, hula hooping and additional music by the Lakeland Youth Symphony.

Kadie Dempsey, who coordinated the festival for Morris Arts, said the nonprofit had set up its indoor venue, at the College of Saint Elizabeth, just in case. She was glad everything stayed outdoors.

WHIRLED REVOLUTION: Olivia Sylvester, 15, enjoys the view atop Jessica Krause. Photo by Leslie Raff
WHIRLED REVOLUTION: Olivia Sylvester, 15, enjoys the view atop Jessica Krause. Photo by Leslie Raff

“People prepared food for days in advance. If it’s not outside, that component is missing. You don’t have that celebratory feeling,” Dempsey said.

“When you see everyone out here enjoying themselves, that’s what it’s all about. It’s easy to get caught up in contracts and logistics and details. But in the end, it’s about people enjoying their friends and listening to fantastic music.”

The Festival capped a busy week for Morris Arts that started last Tuesday with a lunchtime concert on the Green, and continued with the Meet Me in Morristown sidewalk festival on Thursday.

“We accomplished what we wanted to do, bringing the community together around great art events,” Werder said, after the symphony’s last note had sounded.

FIRST FEST: Holden Hamill, age 9 months, with parents Caitlin and Ryan Hamill of Morristown, at the 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
FIRST FEST: Holden Hamill, age 9 months, with parents Caitlin and Ryan Hamill of Morristown, at the 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festival. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
WHAT CLOUDS? Crowd settles in for 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festivsal. Photo by Kevin Coughlin for MorristownGreen.com
WHAT CLOUDS? Crowd settles in for 2015 Giralda Music and Arts Festivsal. Photo by Kevin Coughlin for MorristownGreen.com
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