How Broadway met opera in Library Concourse

Jackson Lunch Hour series returned March 29 with powerful performances

Tionna De Freitas, Features Editor


The Harry F. and Mary Ruth Jackson Lunch Hour Series returned for its second series of the spring semester, but this time featured an all Broadway show. On Wednesday March 29, they were eager to welcome two performers both with a wide range of music.

“They are both well-known musicians in the central New York area and beyond” said David Moore, coordinator for the Lunch Hour Series. I’m eager to see the different styles of Broadway music that will be performed.”

The Wednesday series included performers, Danan Tsan and Sar- Stalom Strong, who delivered a great show.

Danan Tsan, a Mezzo-Soprano, is a versatile performer with a background in classical music and a career full of rock and roll, musical theater and opera. She graduated from Eastman School of Music in Rochester with a classical degree and then took the logical next step. She joined the United States Army.

After surviving basic training, Danan was assigned to the U.S. Army Field Band and joined the Soldiers’ Chorus, later becoming lead singer for the same unit’s rock band, The Volunteers.

Danan toured for 5 years with these groups, including memorable trips and features with other versatile groups. She also provided lead vocals for a new age album, by Annapolis based songwriter James Durham, Aeolian May.

Danan is also a frequent performer within the Central New York area. She has paired with Syracuse Opera numerous times, including roles in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with The Society for New Music, Maddalena in Rigoletto at Oswego Opera, Charlotte in A Little Night Music with Syracuse Opera, Fantine in Les Miserable with The Baldwinsville Theater Guild, and Aldonza in Man of LaMancha with Syracuse Opera’s summer series.

She has also released an astonishing four solo albums of rock and roll, jazz, and new age music while touring with various rock bands all around the world. When she’s not performing, Danan teaches voice at LeMoyne College, as the Associate Director of The Syracuse Community Choir.

Sar-Shalom Strong is no newcomer when it comes to the Lunch Hour Series, the well-known soloist and pianist has performed before, and never disappoints.

Strong, is very popular to the east coast audience. He has been involved in the premiere of many new works, and also appears on programs for Civic Morning Musicals, the Skaneateles Festival, A Little Summermusic, The Oasis Center of Syracuse, Hamilton College, and Utica College.

He has had the privilege of collaborating with international artists such as flutists Judith Mendenhall and Gary Shocker, trombonist Joseph Alessi, violinist Sarah Crocker, and singers Helen Boatwright, Peter Vandergraaf, and Sanford Sylvan, as well as multitudes of the fine musicians who live and perform throughout upstate New York.

Strong has also performed orchestral keyboard with nearly all the orchestras in the area, most notably for almost ten years with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and is a founding member of both the Jewell Piano Trio and the Southwick Trio. He is currently Lecturer in Piano and Coordinator of Staff Pianists for Hamilton College and is also active as an adjudicator and vocal coach.

The Lunch Hour Series was founded in 1979. Their goal is to provide a regularly scheduled program, consistent in quality but also in time and location, to gain attendance by the local and college communities.

The Lunch Hour Series also works with particular interest groups to bring to the college special programs. The series offers poetry, fiction, and drama readings by writers of particular promise: New York poets, regional writers, African-American, Asian-American, Italian-American, and Jewish-American writers. In the past twenty years, the Lunch Hour Series has introduced Utica College and the Utica area to widely known and successful writers.

For more information contact David Moore at [email protected]