The spaces between pews, ears and the ceiling of the Soldotna Christ Lutheran Church normally filled with prayers and preaching were instead packed with a slightly different tune Wednesday.
In a circle, three musicians from the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra’s Redoubt Chamber Orchestra played Johannes Bhrams’s Trio for violin, horn and piano.
“We should have just recorded that and played it on Friday,” said violinist Emily Grossman, drawing laughs from her fellow musicians.
The Chamber Orchestra, starting at 7 p.m. tonight at the church located at 128 N. Soldotna Ave., will take to the stage to perform a variety of classical pieces, some as solo performances, others in trios or larger ensembles for the “Evening of Classics.” Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth at the door and Marc Berezin will be master of ceremonies.
The concert is a fundraiser for the orchestra and will feature a healthy mix of entertainment — one song is a spoof, another uses no instruments — and serious classical music, said conductor Tammy Vollom-Matturro.
“There will be plenty of laughter throughout the evening,” Vollom-Matturro said. “That’s why we enjoy this concert so much because of the classical music, serious music, with all of the fun stuff that happens between.”
The concert is a more relaxed setting than usual orchestra performances, which along with its variety can help those listeners who haven’t been exposed to a lot of classical music ease into the genre, Vollom-Matturro said.
“It is not hard to sit through a concert like this because there is so much different music happening throughout,” she said.
Jeanne Duhan, who was rehearsing at the church with her French horn, agreed.
“It is this world of music,” she said speaking of the genre. “It is huge and it is so wonderful and it takes time to learn and explore it, but I think a lot of people think it is not for everybody. And maybe it is not for everybody, but if you take little bits and pieces, I think you start to see the value in it; in how beautiful and striking and interesting it can become.”
The concert will be special for Duhan, she said. For years she peformed with the orchestra during the summer, but would have to leave the area for her job teaching music in Dutch Harbor, she said. But now that she has a local teaching job, she’ll be able to play the “Evening of Classics” again.
“It feels like a homecoming for sure, the last time I played this concert was like nine years ago, so I’m excited,” she said.
Pianist Maria Allison said tonight’s concert gives individual performers a chance to stand out — a chance they might not get during regular orchestra.
“Like Emily, when she is in the orchestra playing violin or viola there are 12 or 14 violins and 5 or 6 violas and you don’t hear an individual voice,” Allison said. “That’s why musicians really like playing chamber music because even if they are playing in like a group of three people ... everybody plays their own individual part and they stand out as an individual.”
Allison said she looks forward to playing music with all of the other locals — people who are the friendly neighborhood pharmacist by day and elegant pianist at night.
“It is incredible when you think about how good they are for that not even being their main way of making a living,” she said. “... It’s just people you see around town and here they are performing.”
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.