Small City with a Big City Feel
Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast
Handel: Coronation Anthems
June 17-24, 2018
Concert: June 23, Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College
Conductor: Joe Miller
Nestled in beautiful upstate New York, Saratoga Springs is a world-renowned destination with an award-winning downtown, performing and fine arts treasures, multicultural feel, and, of course, horse racing.
The indigenous Mohawks introduced white men to the beneficial mineral waters that give Saratoga Springs its name. Many 18th-century luminaries, from Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law to George Washington came to High Rock Spring for the waters. It is doubtful, though, that they would recognize the city of Saratoga Springs today,
It was one of those people who came for the healing waters who founded what became Skidmore College, a leading liberal arts institution. Lucy Skidmore Scribner was the widow of publishing scion J. Blair Scribner. Since she eschewed the main entertainments of the early 1900s in Saratoga Springs, horse racing and gambling, she invested her inheritance in a school where young women could learn skills that would make them self-supporting. The Young Women’s Industrial Club, which included practical courses as well as music and dance, was a great success. Renamed the Skidmore School of Arts, the institution received a provisional charter from the New York State Regents in 1911. In response to the success of the Young Women's Industrial Club, and at the urging of Mrs. Scribner, the Regents of the State of New York granted the school, newly renamed the Skidmore School of Arts, a provisional charter on August 31, 1911.
The Battles of Saratoga in 1777 were considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War. After the defeat of British General Burgoyne by the home team, other countries recognized the talents of the Colonial rebels and began to take sides. This had economic benefits for the survival of the fledgling country.
You can visit the battlefields with a self-guided tour, see the house that American General Philip Schuyler built, climb to the top of the Saratoga Monument, and stroll along Victory Walk.
Step back into time at Saratoga Spa State Park with its classical architecture and Peerless Pool Complex (swimming allowed). Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the park is home to Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, and the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa.
A future congressman of New York State, John Morrissey organized the first thoroughbred meet in Saratoga Springs in the mid-1800s. More than 5,000 people came to watch and wager on the eight races of the four-day meet. Morrissey expanded his venture by forming the Saratoga Racing Association and purchasing 125 acres of land.
Up the road in Wilton, NY, is the Adirondack Cottage where President US Grant retired to live out the last month of his life and finish the autobiography that Mark Twain published to raise money for the famous general’s family.
The cottage and its furnishings remain essentially the same as during the Grant family's stay. In Grant’s honor, the original clock still shows the time at which he died, and some of the thousands of floral tributes that were sent have been preserved.
There is also a short path to the Eastern Outlook, which offers a commanding view of the Hudson Valley.
Those who auditioned successfully for Newport, RI, in 2016 do not need to audition again. Requirements for auditioning can be found here.