Orchestra hits high note with festival

Posted: Thursday, August 08, 2002

At no time during the year is the music of the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra more audible than during the orchestra's Summer String Festival.

The festival features a variety of events, some free and some fund-raisers, aimed at bringing classical music to the communities of Homer and Soldotna. At the same time, guest performers from the DeVere Quartet, as well as other musicians, work with area instrumentalists through workshops and rehearsals.

"It's about appreciating the talents in our community," said Mark Robinson, orchestra director. "It's a celebration of summer in Alaska."

The orchestra performed a series of free lunchtime concerts at several venues last week in Homer. In addition to the noon concerts, the orchestra's annual fund-raiser, "Champagne, Chocolate and Chopin la Tutka," cruised out of Homer on Sunday at 6 p.m. on the Rainbow Connection to Tutka Bay Lodge.

Members of the DeVere String Quartet performed while Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery goodies were served.

On Saturday, the annual Gala Concert, featuring Lindsay Groves, cello soloist of the DeVere Quartet, will be performed at the Mariner Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m. The concert includes Dvorak's "Cello Concerto," a piece described by Robinson as "very Czech" in nature.

The orchestra will also perform Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," a work written shortly after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

"It uses Lincoln's words from the Civil War, which seem appropriate to the times now," Robinson said. "It's a very powerful piece."

Peter Norton will narrate the piece.

Tickets for the Gala Concert are $15 with discounts.

On Sunday, members of the DeVere Quartet will perform in concert with pianist JulieAnn Smith at the Bunnell Street Gallery. Music will include the works of Beethoven, Schumann and Mozart. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12 with discounts, which include discounts for members of Pier One Theatre, the parent organization of the orchestra.

While in town, members of the DeVere Quartet will be available for individual or group lessons to string players. In addition to the Homer concerts, several central peninsula events are scheduled as well. For more information, call 235-6318. For reservations, call 235-7579.

Carey James is a reporter for the Homer News.

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