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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Endless Mountain Music Festival Concert is This Friday, July 28, 2017

Stephen Ulrich
Will audience members witness an art event on the two big screens in Steadman Theater on the Mansfield University campus this Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. or watch a series of film clips from famous 1950s to 1990s cowboy movies?

“I do video production for a living and have a company that converts people’s private films to digital in Lancaster County,” said Stephen Ulrich. “I consider what I am doing for the Endless Mountain Music Festival to be art,” he said. “Doing this type of work is a hobby for me, a labor of love,” he added.

During a phone interview just a week before the concert, Ulrich explains he is in the process of creating a series of three to 10-minute videos to accompany the musical selections the Festival Symphony Orchestra will be playing for the Wild West concert. They include: "Overture" from “The Cowboys Suite,” “The Ecstasy of Gold” from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “High Noon,” “Suite from The Big Country,” “The Quick and the Dead,” and “The Great Westerns” Suite that includes excerpts from “The Magnificent Seven”, “How the West was Won,” “Silverado” and ”Dances with Wolves.”

“Right now, I’m looking for inspiration by going through the library of images I’ve collected during the past 20 plus years and have permission to use. I have hundreds of hours of moving images.” Some clips in his library are Super 8 home movies; others he has created himself or are from motion picture films.

“Next, I will be looking for unique, film quality images. Some will be from the original Westerns and others won’t depending on copyright laws,” he noted.

This Friday, Ulrich will be at Mansfield University running the videos he has created as the orchestra performs the music for that night’s concert. “We do one complete run through so I am certain about the length of the songs and how fast the orchestra is playing them. That is the only rehearsal I will have to get the timing correct. My goal is to make sure I am not caught without enough footage and that I’m keeping pace with the orchestra’s tempo.”

He doesn’t pre-edit. “When I first start, I know about how long the concert will be and basically have a feeling as to how much footage I will need for each piece. My footage is not pre-packaged. I can’t just hit play and walk away."

His college degrees in film studies and business administration and his experience in post production work for over 10 years on documentaries for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, The Learning Channel, NBC and PBS led Ulrich to become a small business owner and a freelance videographer and editor. Recently, he worked on a documentary with Philippe Cousteau to show how, what people do on land, impacts the Chesapeake Bay.

Friday night, Ulrich will be backstage reacting in real time to his art projected on the screens in full view of the audience. “I have software that allows me to cue the video clips to match the tempo of the orchestra and actually change images on screen in response to the audience's reaction," he said.

“My goal is to make sure each video magnifies the audience's experience by representing the feeling of the Western musical score. I am not trying to outdo the orchestra but compliment and elevate the whole performance."

The July 28 concert at Mansfield University is for all ages. Youngsters will receive a cowboy or cowgirl hat or a sheriff’s badge as a free gift. For this concert only adults accompanying children will be admitted for half price. Youth 20 and under are admitted free to all festival concerts, including this one.

Tickets for adults are $39. For a pass or tickets, visit or call 570-787-7800.

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