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NM Phil presents Mother’s Day concert at zoo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Roger Melone has led a Mother’s Day concert at the ABQ BioPark Zoo for most of his 35 years in Albuquerque.

The latest version takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 13.

Roger Melone

Melone first landed the assignment during the days of the New Mexico Symphony, which folded in 2011. Melone worked as the orchestra’s assistant conductor.

“I remember thinking, ‘Mother’s Day? Who would plan a concert on Mother’s Day?’ ” he said.

Today that concert has become a tradition luring up to 8,000 listeners across the lawn with folding chairs, picnics and blankets.

“I think it is great in a million ways,” Melone said. “I literally started conducting it on a grassy knoll at the zoo. The reason the bandstand was built was for that concert.

Violinist Ezra Shcolnik

“I love it because people from all walks of life – people who don’t usually attend a symphony orchestra – enjoy it,” he added.

Concertgoers will hear some Sousa marches, music from the “Peer Gynt Suite” by Edvard Grieg, “Andalucía” by Ernesto Lecuona and Edward Elgar’s “Salutations of Love.”

The event will showcase the violin playing of Jackie McGehee Young Artists’ Competition winner Ezra Shcolnik. The musician will perform the final movement of French composer Camille Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor. Shcolnik is a home-schooled senior from Santa Fe. He has been a member of the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra for the past four holiday seasons. In 2017, he attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a New Horizons Fellow. He just completed his first year in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program.

The program will end with selections from “My Fair Lady.”

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