Playing music by Wallin, Shapiro, Brahms, Busler, Bach, and More
A newspaper article shortly thereafter:
Classical Music Performance in Locke
By Stuart Walthall
Passersby slowed their steps, lingered, then listened as the beautiful theme from Camille Saint-Saens’ The Swan drifted from the Moon Cafe Gallery’s entrance and floated down Main Street Locke.
Glancing through the gallery’s windowed front, the by-standers viewed a cellist and pianist performing to a room filled with well-dressed guests; all watching and listening intently. And after The Swan’s closing refrain hushed to contemplative silence, the grateful crowd erupted into raucous and sustained applause.
This was the scene on a bright Saturday afternoon in Locke, CA. The presentation was unique in that it was the first time in living memory a live classical music ensemble performance was offered to the public in this tiny historic community.
Before the event could be staged a baby grand piano had to be procured. A local piano teacher donated the use of one of his pianos. The instrument was then dismantled and muscled into the gallery space by seven local volunteers – after a great deal of physical and nervous energy.
Event organizer and Moon Cafe Gallery member D.R. Wagner recruited a group of seasoned professional musicians for the presentation, all of whom had worked together throughout their careers with various orchestras, symphonies, and ensembles. The performers included pianists Virginia Sajac and Jill Hanna Ferreter, trumpeter Paul Simmons, and cellist Joanne Wright.
The quartet selected a dozen classical works for the performance and began an intense month long series of rehearsals. Included in the program were works by such familiar composers as Bach, Scarlatti, and Brahms. The program was further enriched by the addition of contemporary works by four living composers: Alex Shapiro (b. 1962), Libby Larsen (b. 1950), Rolf Wallin (b. 1957), and Lydia Lowery Bosler (b. 1971).
Composers were contacted and expressed keen interest regarding the audience’s reception and reaction to their respective works. They would not be disappointed.
Wagner not only served as the Master of Ceremonies, welcoming guests and introducing performers, but also augmented the afternoon’s program with a series of brief informative lectures regarding each performance piece and its composer.
The 80-minute concert was delivered with passion and sensitivity. Works selected for the program gave ample opportunity for each musician to showcase mastery of their instrument, while offering the audience a glimpse into the personality of each performer. The conclusion of the final performance piece was followed by a standing ovation from an appreciative audience.
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