Musical Saw Festival 2011 in the News

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Assemblymember Aravella Simotas Presents Citation of Honor to NYC Musical Saw Festival
Queens Times

Assembly Member Aravella Simotas presented the Queens based NYC Musical Saw Festival with a citation of honor for “9 years of artistic excellence in Astoria ”.. In her speech at the festival, which took place on July 16th, Simotas said she has a love and appreciation of music since she used to play the clarinet, and she finds it so wonderful that the NYC Musical Saw Festival takes place at the Hellenic Cultural
Center in Astoria and she hopes it will continue to do so for many
years to come.
The festival presented 37 musical saw players who came from
as far away as India , Japan , Germany and Sweden , and as
nearby as Astoria and Sunnyside. Amongst the many performances
in this concert which lasted 4 hours was a world premier of a
composition commissioned by the festival from composer Eyal Bat.
The composition, titled ‘Courts of Heaven’, was written for four
musical saws and piano. This is a historical first for the art form
of playing music on a carpenter’s handsaw, since it is the first time
a composer set out to write for this particular instrumentation. The
piece resembled a fuge form and showcased both harmony passages
as well as individual solo lines. Pianist Judy Dimino provided gentle accompaniment to the otherworldly choir of saws.
Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz, founder and organizer of the annual festival, presented a few pieces from her new album ‘I Saw the Future’: ‘ Bend ’ and ‘Ars Longa Vita Brevis’ – two piece for string quartet and musical saw by Scott Munson as well as ‘Air on the G String’ by J.S. Bach. ‘I Saw the Future’ is available f rom
The Trinity Handbell Choir, directed by Richard Walker, accompanied Paruz on two classical pieces – Gymnopedie/Satie and Pavane/Faure.
Poet Willa France recited two of her poems about the musical
saw and 12 visual artists presented their paintings inspired
by the musical saw. A little girl named Lillian Carver, daughter
of the “Singer & Saw” duo who presented a comical skit revolving around the musical saw, was so inspired by the art exhibit that
she asked for a piece of paper and during the concert she drew her
own impression from the concert, depicting the music as heavenly
through a visual of the ‘Saw Lady’ playing on a cloud.
Many musical saw solos and duos followed as well as the ‘Roe
Family Singers’ – a band featuring the musical saw. Music ranged
from Liszt & Beethoven to pop classics such as ‘Mona Lisa’ & ‘Bessame Mucho’, to religious tunes such as ‘How Great Thou Art’ to movie music such as ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka.
The concert ended with the ‘Chorus of the Saws’ – all saw players playing ‘Over the Rainbow’ together. Eerily mesmerizing, 37 saws playing together is certainly an unearthly sound unlike any other.
After the concert saw players were treated to four workshops that
ranged in difficulty from beginner to advanced. To celebrate the success of the festival, ‘Opa’ Greek restaurant received an influx of
diners carrying musical instruments that evening. The festival,
which is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Queens Council on the Arts, was also supported by local merchants such as Maria’s Hair Salon and Imagination Hairdesigners, who displayed the festival’s poster in their storefront windows.