Harpist Maxine Eilander and guitarist Stephen Stubbs will be performing songs by Franz Schubert at this year’s Whidbey Island Music Festival. (Photo by Gary Payne)

Harpist Maxine Eilander and guitarist Stephen Stubbs will be performing songs by Franz Schubert at this year’s Whidbey Island Music Festival. (Photo by Gary Payne)

Music Festival tunes up to celebrate 16th season

Tickets are now available for the annual Whidbey Island Music Festival.

Tickets are now on sale for a baroque and classical musical experience that is taking place mostly outdoors this summer.

The Whidbey Island Music Festival, which has traditionally held concerts at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods Episcopal Church in Freeland, will be hosting performances at several different outdoor venues this year.

The alfresco concerts are a departure from last year’s music festival, which took on a virtual format because of the pandemic.

Violinist Tekla Cunningham, who plays in the festival and is also its director, said last year presented an interesting challenge. The performances had to be pre-recorded, but this did allow for a wider audience to view them.

“For many musicians, they lost their whole year of income,” Cunningham said. “It was a way to present a concert.”

This month, she and pianist Sheila Weidendorf will be performing violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms, a German composer, during two performances that will mark the opening of this year’s music festival.

The pair have been meeting every week for a year and consider their practices for these performances to be their “pandemic projects.”

“When the pandemic started, we decided to become a music bubble,” Cunningham said. “We’ve just found that diving into this music has been incredibly rewarding musically.”

During two shows in July, Cunningham will be playing alongside soprano Danielle Reutter-Harrah, harpist Maxine Eilander and guitarist Stephen Stubbs. The musicians will be performing songs by Franz Schubert, an Austrian composer. The sound of the harp, Cunningham said, lends a “spacious feeling” to the pieces.

The last shows of the festival, which are slated for August, will feature performances of arias written by well-known German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Cunningham, Reutter-Harrah and organist Henry Lebedinsky will be joining forces for the two programs.

For a few of the shows, the Whidbey Island Music Festival will be partnering with the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts as part of its Summer Nights Series. The performances will be held on the outdoor patio at WICA.

Others will be held at Cultus Bay Gardens in Clinton and at the houses of Whidbey residents.

Some of the concerts, especially those in smaller settings, ask for proof of vaccination from attendees.

Cunningham recommended buying tickets soon. The smaller venues, such as the house concerts, have limited capacity and are bound to fill up faster.

Tickets can be purchased online by visiting whidbeyislandmusicfestival.org.

Maxine Eilander, a musician of the Whidbey Island Music Festival, practices on the harp. (Photo by Gary Payne)

Maxine Eilander, a musician of the Whidbey Island Music Festival, practices on the harp. (Photo by Gary Payne)

Violinist Tekla Cunningham, right, and pianist Sheila Weidendorf will be performing violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms at this year’s Whidbey Island Music Festival. (Photo by Erika Pierson)

Violinist Tekla Cunningham, right, and pianist Sheila Weidendorf will be performing violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms at this year’s Whidbey Island Music Festival. (Photo by Erika Pierson)

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