WILLIAMS—If you missed the second in the series of Advent concerts at St. John’s Episcopal church, you missed out on a real treat. The schedule was apparently changed to allow the stage to the NAU students of the undergraduate program in chamber music directed by Dr. Maryann Ramos. This type of music is usually scheduled for the concerts, but was not this year. This was a pleasant surprise.
The concert began with Sarah Gallaher on the piano and Therese Cudmore on the cello playing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise. Rachmaninoff was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor and is considered one of the finest pianists of his day. He died in Beverley Hills in March of 1943.
Kasey Calebaugh played a selection of Paul Hindemith music on the viola. An article at The Telegraph on the fiftieth anniversary of his death calls the composer the most neglected of the 20th Century. Indeed I had never heard of the composer until this presentation by Kasey who played it with such enthusiasm that it was impossible to not enjoy it. The selections Calebaugh chose was the Sonata for Solo Viola, Op. 25, No. 1, Breit Viertel and Sehr Frisch un Straff.
Sarah Gallaher followed up on the piano beginning with a Partita No. 1 in B flat Major and Praeludium by J.S. Bach. After she presented Reverie and Homage a Raneau by Claude Debussy. This was the best part of the concert, in my opinion, because if featured two of my favorite composers. In addition to the fact that she played them so well. She finished with the only Christmas selection of the concert, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and her interpretation was excellent.
Brett Lindsay, Brittany Parker and Therese Cudmore presented Tchaikovsky’s Chason Triste and were later joined by George Teague to present Jesu, Meine Freude by Johann Sebastian Bach and Yesterday by the Beatles.
Justine DeMarco and Josh Lynch on the violin joined George Teague on the cello and Kasey Calebaugh on the viola to form the quartet which played String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor commonly known as Death and the Maiden. The piece by Franz Schubert was originally played in homes and was only published three-years after the death of the composer. Although Schubert is another favorite composer of mine and this piece has apparently become quite well-used, I was introduced to it with the performance by these students this evening.
Brett Lindsay returned on the cello to present Julie-O by Mark Summer. I checked his performance against a Youtube video by Mark Summer so I can say that Brett performed it well. I personally was not impressed with the piece.
There are two more concerts at St. John’s Episcopal-Lutheran Church (Facebook) next Sunday featuring bluegrass music. The final concert on the 22nd will feature local artists Susan “Squared” with Susan Kerley and Susan Hendricks on the piano accompanied by Andrew Hambey. The concerts are free to the public and begin at 4 p.m. with a reception following.