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New York Philharmonic Takes The Show On The Road. Literally

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. Sometimes you're watching a parade and you see, you know, like, a band on a float. Well, this is the story of an orchestra on a pickup truck. Over the weekend, some New Yorkers got a chance to see one.

(SOUNDBITE OF NY PHIL BANDWAGON'S PERFORMANCE OF ERNO DOHNANYI'S "SCHERZO (VIVACE)")

ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO: I had this idea - a crazy idea - to put members of the orchestra on a pickup truck and reach different communities and different audiences throughout New York City.

INSKEEP: Opera singer Anthony Roth Costanzo wanted to find a way for the New York Philharmonic to perform safely after a five-month break. So the Philharmonic Bandwagon was born.

COSTANZO: The Bandwagon is a 22-foot pickup truck, a Ford F-250, and we tricked it out. We got it wrapped in vinyl. I got some neon tube lighting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I GOT RHYTHM")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) I got daisies in green pastures. I got my man. Who could ask for anything more? Old man trouble...

INSKEEP: Since March, the orchestra has been streaming old performances and even releasing some new ones via Zoom. But violinist Yulia Ziskel says that lacked an important element.

YULIA ZISKEL: It's possible to make music this way, but it's not real music making because part of the music making is connecting.

INSKEEP: Ziskel says delivering an orchestra by pickup truck energized her and showed her that music is more than entertainment, especially now.

ZISKEL: As the New York Philharmonic being New York's orchestra, we need to bring this music. We need to bring art. We need to bring hope to people of New York, and if they can't come to us, we have to come to them.

(SOUNDBITE OF NY PHIL BANDWAGON'S PERFORMANCE OF GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL SONG, "LASCIA CH'IO PIANGA")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in Italian).

INSKEEP: A rotating roster of musicians from the Philharmonic will be performing on the bandwagon for the next seven weeks.

(SOUNDBITE OF NY PHIL BANDWAGON'S PERFORMANCE OF GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL SONG, "LASCIA CH'IO PIANGA")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in Italian). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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