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South Jersey

Monday, April 16, 2001

Musical piece to honor battleship


By CAROL COMEGNO
Courier-Post Staff
CAMDEN

The Haddonfield Symphony will commission a composition with the sea life of the battleship New Jersey as its central theme.

The ship's arrival in Camden to become a museum gave orchestra Director Dorothy Rivers the idea to commission a piece, said Eileen Myers, orchestra development director.

The symphony has applied to the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts for a $10,000 grant to help cover the cost of the work, Myers said.

"We're hoping to get the full grant, but even if we don' t, we'll find other private donors," she said.

The piece will be written by composer Carter Pann of Ann Arbor, Mich., Myers said. Pann won the symphony's Young Composers' Competition award in 2000 for his composition titled "Slalom," about the thrill of skiing, which was unveiled at the symphony's children's concert last spring.

Myers said the symphony plans to premiere the new piece at an "Anchors Away" children's concert in the spring of 2002.

The USS New Jersey, veteran of three major wars, is one of the most decorated battleships in U.S naval history, with 16 battle stars, and at 887 feet belongs to the largest class of U.S. battleships ever built.

It has fired its 16-inch guns, largest on any naval ship, in three major wars - World War II, Korea and Vietnam - as well as off the shores of Beirut, Lebanon.

He predicted that one day Pann will be "one of the great Hollywood composers" like John Williams.

Pann, contacted at his Michigan home, said he is extremely excited at the prospect of writing music for the ship. He said he had included some conceptual suggestions for the seafaring piece in the Haddonfield Symphony's application to the National Endowment application, including using sea chanties and evoking the ship's marine life.

"I am all the more thrilled that this will be coming about, to get an opportunity to write about such an heroic ship," said Pann, 29, who is waiting to see if his "Slalom" piece wins the coveted Master Prize competition in London this year. Out of 1,150 submissions, his is one of 12 chosen as semifinalists for the 50,000 pounds (about $72, 000) in prize money.

He hopes to visit New Jersey this year to "get a better feel for" the ship.

The warship is now undergoing $7 million in restoration and is scheduled to open Sept. 2 on the Camden Waterfront south of the New Jersey State Aquarium.



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