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Community concert and sing-along to feature songs of Oscar Hammerstein II and Stephen Sondheim

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The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) will present the first Hammerstein Music Festival on Sunday, Oct. 22.

Taking place from 1 to 4 p.m. at Lenape Middle School in Doylestown, the inaugural festival is set to celebrate the nonprofit’s recent purchase of Highland Farm, Hammerstein’s home and workplace in Bucks County.

The event will kick off with lunch options from local restaurants from 1 to 2 p.m. in the middle school’s parking lot, followed by an interactive community sing-along of both Oscar Hammerstein II’s and his mentee Stephen Sondheim’s most popular songs. Leading the sing-along will be local musicians, theater groups, and school ensembles, as well as finalists and winners of the 2023 Hammerstein International Youth Solo Contest.

Groups and individuals slated to perform include the No Name Pops (former Philly Pops Chorus), the Patriot Players of Central Bucks High School East, Lenape Players, students from the voice studios of Anne Odland and Joan Myerov, Richard Gaylord, and others. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets for a tour of Highland Farm and OHMTEC memorabilia.

The festival marks OHMTEC’s purchase of Highland Farm, the home in Doylestown Township where Oscar Hammerstein II lived with his family for the last 20 years of his life. This is the place where he forged his legendary partnership with Richard Rodgers and that inspired many of their greatest musical works, including “The Sound of Music,” “Carousel,” “The King and I,” “Oklahoma!” and “South Pacific,” and where he mentored a young Stephen Sondheim. Over 75 Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes can be directly traced back to Highland Farm.

OHMTEC’s mission is to honor the Broadway legend’s groundbreaking work as a lyricist, librettist, mentor, and humanitarian and to educate and inspire the next generation of theater afficionados, with special opportunities for diverse and underserved communities. The nonprofit’s vision is to restore the historic property and create a multifaceted and dynamic museum experience with a strong theater education component.

Now that the nonprofit has secured the Highland Farm property, fundraising will begin in earnest in order to commence the next phase of the project: preparing physical infrastructure for public use, restoring the historic home, and curating the museum. The fundraising target for this third phase is estimated to be at least $1.5 million. The fourth and final phase of the project will be to create a theater education center on the property currently occupied by the historic barn.

Hammerstein’s role as a mentor and humanitarian will play a large role in the forthcoming theater education center. Plans include a youth theater company; classes in theater, dance, and music production; mentorship programs for young adults and emerging professionals; school programming; writer’s retreats; and outreach programs for all ages, both in-person and virtual. Consistent with the nonprofit’s goal to provide learning opportunities for all, programming fees will be on a sliding scale, and no one will be turned away.

Tickets to the Hammerstein Music Festival are on sale at https://www.hammersteinmuseum.org/hammerstein-music-festival-tickets.

To contribute to this legacy project, visit OHMTEC’s donation page at HammersteinMuseum.org. Naming opportunities are available for rooms and spaces in the house and barn. For information, email hammersteinmuseum@gmail.com.


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