Friends of Music at Guilford's annual Labor Day weekend concerts


GUILFORD >> As it has done for a half-century, Friends of Music at Guilford opens its annual music season with a concert in a rural barn on Saturday this Labor Day Weekend. The Organ Barn is at Tree Frog Farm in an idyllic setting near the state line where Guilford meets Leyden, Mass. The intimate Organ Barn seats about a hundred concertgoers, and on Sunday afternoon, two hundred or more people flock to the site for picnicking and an orchestra concert outside the Barn.

At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, what is usually billed simply as "an organ concert in the barn" will be performed on both the resident c. 1897 tracker organ and a "visiting" harpsichord with transverse flute and vocal soloist. Featured performers are the duo Les Inégales – Christine Gevert, organ and harpsichord, and Rodrigo Tarraza, traverso –with colleague Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor. Their "Music in the Age of Enlightenment" program includes works by J. S. Bach, Telemann, Corelli, Handel, and their somewhat less-famous contemporaries Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Jean-Henri d'Anglebert, and Johann Christoph Pepusch. The repertoire includes pieces for solo organ or harpsichord, as well as a variety of duets and trios.

Countertenor Nicholas Tamagna, an active concert soloist around the U.S. and overseas, specializes in Baroque and modern repertoire and was winner of the inaugural Nico Castel Mastersinger Competition. Recent and upcoming performances in Europe, Australia, and the U.S. include featured operatic roles in works by Dove, Glass, Glück, Hasse, and Handel. The ensemble Les Inégales, founded in 1995, specializes in French Baroque music from the 17th and 18th centuries, and performs other Baroque repertoire as well as contemporary music on acoustic and digital instruments. The duo has performed and recorded in Europe and South America, frequently with guest musicians of note. Tarraza and Gevert are also renowned solo instrumentalists, chamber musicians, and Baroque music educators here and abroad. Gevert is the founding artistic director of Crescendo, an award-winning music organization based in Lakeville, Conn., and this spring was a featured performer at the 11th International American Early Music Festival in Bolivia.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, the nearly 50-piece Guilford Festival Orchestra, hailing from Vermont, New Hampshire, and several Pioneer Valley towns in Massachusetts, performs a Lawn Concert under the baton of conductor Ken Olsson. Leading off with Mozart's Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro," the program also includes Mendelssohn's Symphony for Strings #2 in D and Reinecke's Octet for Winds in B-flat. Soprano Julie Johnson Olsson is featured in arias from Puccini's "La Bohème" and "Tosca," then Haydn's Symphony #99 leads to the afternoon's traditional finale, a sing-in of Randall Thompson's Alleluia. Grounds open at 12 noon on Sunday for picnicking and lunch sales. A hearty vegetarian meal of assorted salads, eggs, Grafton cheddar cheese, Walker Farm tomatoes, Vermont-made artisan bread, a drink, and Scott Farm apples, is offered for $10 per person; lemonade and warm chocolate chip cookies are also available before the concert and at intermission.

Both Labor Day Weekend concerts are admission-free, with generous donations encouraged to defray the considerable cost of this musical weekend in the country. Follow signs for nine miles from the Guilford Country Store, on Rte. 5 just south of Exit 1, to the Organ Barn off Packer Corners Road. The Saturday concert in the Barn is rain or shine. In case of threatening weather on Sunday, the lunch and lawn concert are moved to Broad Brook Grange, 3940 Guilford Center Road, four miles from the Guilford Store. For further information and a full 2016-17 season calendar, contact the FOMAG office at 802-254-3600 or; visit online at Friends of Music at Guilford's 51st Season enjoys partial media sponsorship by Vermont Public Radio and the Vermont Arts Council.


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