For the love of music

Chamber groups bring classical repertoire to Bend

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: March 19. 2007 5:00AM PST

While Drake Park was full of people enjoying the sunshine Sunday afternoon, the Central Oregon Symphony drew music lovers indoors with the final installment in its Music in Public Places series.

The concert, which was held at the Bend Public Library and featured two chamber groups, attracted about 50 listeners. The two groups – the Aspen String Quartet and the Beethoven Septet – performed a total of three pieces.

Hilda Beltran Wagner, the executive director of the Central Oregon Symphony Association, said that the goal of the concert series is to make classical music accessible to a wider audience.

“I think the community is enriched by music, and our patrons know where to find us, and we’d like also to bring our music out to people who haven’t heard of us yet,” Wagner said.

She added that the members of the two smaller groups performing Sunday also play in the Central Oregon Symphony. The performers in the Aspen String Quartet are local high school students.

The concert was intended to be interactive, with speakers asking questions of the audience while introducing the different works.

“What’s the difference between a chamber concert and attending a symphony concert?” asked Bob Armer, the coach for the Aspen String Quartet. After fielding several responses, he offered his own answer: “Really, chamber music is the art of communication, and you’ll see that today, we hope, in many, many ways.”

Janet Gesme, a cellist with the Central Oregon Symphony who was in the audience Saturday, said she turned out to support her friends.

“I’m usually playing in the events, so it’s nice for me to be on the other side,” she said.

Urszula Fawcett brought her two sons, 4-year-old Stevie and 6-year-old Jamie, to hear the concert.

“We try to take advantage of any concerts, especially to expose the kids to music,” Fawcett said.

During parts of the music, Stevie held his hands out in front of him, “conducting” the performers.

“I like the fast part when they play,” Stevie said. Jamie, who is learning to play the violin and piano, said he liked the glissando – a move where the violinist quickly slid from one note to another.

Wagner said that holding the concert in the library allowed the group to reach out to more people. She added that the Music in Public Places will return with more concerts in the fall.

“It’s a relaxed opportunity to enjoy it without all the trappings of a formal concert hall,” she said. “We really want to encourage a spirit of discovery and informality.”

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