The Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra will present its annual Chamber Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the First United Methodist Church, 225 E. Arrow St., in Marshall.
Several years ago, members of the Philharmonic and its supporters expressed an interest in adding another performance to its season, one that showcased the individual talents of its members, young and "seasoned" alike, in a more intimate setting such as that of a church sanctuary. It might also be noted that this smaller-scale type of concert or recital is actually how the Marshall Philharmonic began over a half-century ago with a handful of musicians gathering together at one another's homes to make music just for pure fellowship and enjoyment. With a little planning, a lot of practice and much appreciated cooperation from local churches, MPO Conductor Emeritus, Charles Ferguson, began a new tradition.
It was decided early on that March would be the best time of year for the new concert, because it would fall between the orchestra's winter and spring concerts and would also give the Philharmonic's student members an opportunity to perform contest selections for an audience before heading off to district competitions later in the month.
As is tradition, this year's recital will feature all families of the full orchestra including string, woodwind, brass, percussion and keyboard. The MPO brass quintet will kick the evening off with "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral" followed up by a lively marimba solo performed by Pete Zambito. Conductor Kevin Lines is always amazed at Zambito's talent, but is also impressed with the fact that a huge marimba can fit into such a small car. Zambito commutes all the way from the Jefferson City area to help out the orchestra in the percussion section each year.
"We are grateful for Pete's loyalty to our small town musical organization," Lines said.
Local soloists on this concert include Philip Bell on string bass, Christine Centeno on bass clarinet, Sarah Love on violin, Dave Meyer on alto trombone and Mary Lou Porter on flute.
Keyboard selections for the evening will be performed on pipe organ by Jane Huff and piano by Virginia Schilb.
Student performers this year include Sarah Bentley and Charlotte Lines, members of both the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall High School Orchestra. Bentley will perform a violin solo by J.H. Fiocco and Charlotte Lines will perform a Beethoven piano sonata. Together, the musicians will perform "Sonata No. 3 in A Major" by Arcangelo Corelli as a violin duet.
Accompanists for the evening will be Derek Wittman and Jane Huff. An accompanist puts in just as much, if not more time, in preparation for musical events such as these--including practice time on their own as well as practice time with the soloists. The MPO board wishes to express their sincere gratitude to these fine musicians who work tirelessly behind the scenes to elevate the level of musical excellence in live performance.
As always, Saturday's recital is free and open to the public. A reception will be held immediately following. The MPO board hopes many will come and enjoy yet another evening of music-making to warm the heart and lift the soul.
The guest artist for the MPO winter concert is trombonist Roger Oyster, principal trombonist for the Kansas City Symphony. He has performed with 14 other orchestras worldwide, including the St. Louis Symphony; the National Symphony in Washington, D.C.; the Atlanta Symphony; the Baltimore Symphony; the Detroit Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony; and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He can be heard on more than 50 commercially released recordings, including many Grammy Award nominees and two Grammy winners.
Editor's note: At the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra's first concert of the season, Sunday, Oct. 27, MPO President Mary Lou Porter honored her long-time colleague and friend, Charles Farmer, for his contributions to the orchestra.
At this time, I would like to say a few words about one of our retirees who is hiding in the balcony and did not want any recognition. In 1976, when I arrived for the first rehearsal of that season, I met a new flute player, a distinguished gentleman with quite a list of credentials, outstanding pedigree.
I found these facts out much later, but this gentleman, Charles Farmer, and I began a friendship which has lasted for over 37 years. This is the first season since that time that Charles has not been in our flute section, and the comfort zone is not quite the same.
Video by Chris Nelson
Marshall is music and holiday music in Marshall brings beauty and joy. That will be the theme for Sunday's combined Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and Marshall Community Chorus Christmas concert to be held at 2:30 p.m. December 1 in the Harold L. Lickey Auditorium of Bueker Middle School. Non-perishable food items will be collected at the door for the Marshall Food Pantry for this free holiday concert.
Conductors Kevin Lines and James Woodland have selected favorite holiday standards for this year's concert that will raise spirits and add some jingle to your Christmas celebrations.