Arts and Entertainment

Festival brings sound of classical music to Whidbey

Violinist Patricia Laurence practices for her upcoming solo recital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28 at the Langley United Methodist Church. This is Laurence’s first year performing at the Whidbey Island Music Festival, though she has attended for the last eight festivals.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Violinist Patricia Laurence practices for her upcoming solo recital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28 at the Langley United Methodist Church. This is Laurence’s first year performing at the Whidbey Island Music Festival, though she has attended for the last eight festivals.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

The music of Handel and Bach will fill the air at St. Augustine’s and Greenbank farm next weekend during the annual Whidbey Island Music Festival.

The festival will showcase music from the composers in two different programs over three concerts Aug. 2-4, 2013. Handel’s Heroines, the first program, will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 at St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods and again at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4 at Greenbank Farm. The second program, Bach Cantatas, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 at St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods.

Tekla Cunningham, director of the festival, said people in the audience will be able to enjoy a festive atmosphere with the exploration of new music some haven’t heard.

“We have a nice mixture of the old and new, familiar and unfamiliar,” she said.

Artists include Cunningham, baroque violin; Yulia Van Doren, soprano; Kris Kwapis, baroque trumpet; Adam LaMotte, baroque violin; Patricia Laurence, violin; Katherine Kyme, baroque viola; William Skeen, baroque cello; Corey Jamason, harpsichord.

Cunningham said the talent is amazing this year with baroque trumpet virtuosa Kris Kwapis and soprano Yulia Van Doren.

“Everyone gets a change to shine,” she said.

Violinist Patricia Laurence will be performing at the festival for the first time this year. She has attended the event as long as she’s lived on the Island, eight years.

Laurence has been playing the violin for about 50 years as a way to express herself, she said. She has played several recitals on the island over the years. Laurence will also be performing in a solo recital at 7:30 p.m. Sunday Aug. 4 at the Langley United Methodist Church

“I was a very shy child, this was my outlet for expression when I was young,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to express myself. The music is so gorgeous and it motivates me.”

Laurence said she is excited to meet new musicians and get to know their style during rehearsals. Laurence wants the audience to take away an appreciation for the music. She wants audiences to leave with a good feeling that they’ve heard something professional and done as accurately as possible - the way Bach or Handel intended.

Cunningham began the festival eight years ago after visiting her aunt, who lives in Greenbank. At the time, she didn’t know of any classical music festival in the summer on the Island and saw an opportunity. The festival grew from its first year with three musicians to eight this year, she said.

Cunningham hopes the event will be close to selling out the tickets, about 150 people. Last year, the program for St. Augustine’s completely sold out, she said.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to bring in new artists,” she said.

Cunningham said she enjoys the relationships she’s developed from the festival.

“Getting to know people on the island has been special to me over the years,” she said. I enjoy the feeling that I’m putting something beautiful out into the world.”

 

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