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What you need to know for 08/23/2017

Composer’s new musical recounts story of her life

Composer’s new musical recounts story of her life

Maria Riccio Bryce is convinced that her fourth and final musical, “Swan Song,” will be exactly that
Composer’s new musical recounts story of her life
Maria Riccio Bryce's fourth musical, 'Swan Song,' will be performed Friday through Sunday at the Horace J. Inman Center in Amsterdam.

Maria Riccio Bryce is convinced that her fourth and final musical, “Swan Song,” will be exactly that.

“I always felt like I had three major works, but then I started thinking about writing another one about something I know very well — myself,” said Riccio Bryce, an Amsterdam native whose original piece of music, “Swan Song: A Memoir in Song: Life, Loss, Lessons and Love,” will be performed Friday through Sunday at the Horace J. Inman Center in Amsterdam. “So it’s largely my own story, about life as I see it and what I’ve learned on the journey I’ve been on as a woman, musician and actress.”

While “Swan Song” may be her final production, it will be the first time she’s actually performed herself on stage as part of the cast. In her three prior works, “Hearts of Fire,” “Here I Am” and “The Amsterdam Oratorio,” her credits were limited to the role of composer and pianist.

‘Swan Song’

WHERE: The Horace J. Inman Center, 53 Guy Park Ave., Amsterdam

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $12-$10, tickets will be available at the door

MORE INFO: 222-3241

“It’s the musical memoir of my life, so because it’s largely my own story I am also going to perform,” she said. “I’ll be up there singing and dancing and acting. But I also have a great cast, a wonderful ensemble of 30 local performers.”

Included in that cast are plenty of names familiar to Capital Region residents, including vocalists John Allen, Mary Pohl, Gail Garrison and Ward Dales. Providing musical accompaniment along with Riccio Bryce will be Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz on the violin, Petia Kassarova on the cello and Kevin Kozak on the horn.

“It’s been very affirming to me to see my cast responding to the work in rehearsals,” said Riccio Bryce. “I guess I have something of a gift as a songwriter. If I can turn something as gruesome as the Schenectady Massacre into something people want to see and make it all seem worthwhile, I guess I’m doing something right. I feel very good about this work. I couldn’t be prouder.”

“Hearts of Fire” was Riccio Bryce’s 1990 musical about the Schenectady Massacre of 1690. It was performed at Proctors in 1990 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the actual French and Indian attack on Feb. 9, 1690. Her work “Mother, I’m Here” was commissioned by the YWCA in 1992 to recognize that group’s centennial.

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or bbuell@dailygazette.com.

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