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Erie Canal bicentennial celebration features "Water Music NY"

Photo courtesy of Albany Symphony

Tuesday will mark the 200th anniversary of the start of construction of the Erie Canal.

The Albany Symphony is celebrating the bicentennial with "Water Music NY," a series of concerts along the canal that each night will feature a world premier by a young composer. On the Capitol Pressroom heard on WBFO, Symphony Director David Alan Miller said the last stop will be Saturday in Lockport.

"We'll actually be on a giant barge in a lock," Miller said. "We're performing with the audience surrounding us, looking down into the lock at the orchestra."

Miller said the Erie Canal concert series was inspired by Handel's "Water Music," which was first performed 300 years ago. Concerts will be staged each night this week, starting Sunday night in Albany. Also hosting concerts are Schenectady, Amsterdam, Little Falls, Baldwinsville and Brockport.

Miller said the concerts will begin with excerpts from the Handel work, followed by the world premier of the composition written specifically for the host community. The finale will feature patriotic music accompanied by fireworks.

The Rome Historical Society is opening an Erie Canal bicentennial exhibit on Tuesday. Rome was where ground was broken for the canal on July 4th, 1817. It would open eight years later.