SEPTEMBER 5, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SOUTH HADLEY (MA) – All Saints’ Episcopal Church has announced a new chamber music series to take place in South Hadley this fall. Norwottuck Chamber Concerts (NCC) will present a series of concerts spanning October 2019 through June 2020 that feature many of the area’s fine artists as well as young and rising musicians from all over the valley. NCC will open its inaugural 2019-2020 season with a gala concert of music for trumpet, organ, voice, violin, and viola on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm. Featured performers will include Brooks Holmes (trumpet), Ernest May (organ), Amanda Stenroos (violin), Lesley Hogg (viola), as well as supporting artists Olivia Heinrich (soprano), Natalie Lewis (mezzo), Kyle Ransom (tenor), Colin Mann (baritone), Amanda Provost (cello), and Kristen Flanagan (piano). The program will include works by Purcell, Handel, Krebs, Mendelssohn, Mouret, and Martinu. A reception will follow and proceeds of the concert (admission by donation) will benefit the inaugural NCC season.

“There are so many supremely accomplished—as well as up-and-coming musicians in the Norwottuck region—from the Great Falls of South Hadley to Mount Sugarloaf!” says Dr. Ernest May, Professor Emeritus of Musicology and Organ at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Norwottuck Chamber Concerts Artistic Director. “While there are numerous concert series in the area, most take place in relatively large, formal concert halls.” The series of approximately nine concerts will take place at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley, which provides a “warm, intimate architectural venue for chamber music, with generous acoustics and excellent musical instruments.”

“All Saints’ Episcopal Church has long been a community that values music and hospitality,” says All Saints’ Rector Tanya Wallace, who is also one of the producers of the series, “and our building has for 22 years been known for its intimate setting, stunning acoustics, and welcoming feel. We are so excited to bring together these commitments and charisms to offer the Norwottuck Chamber Concerts.”

Among its many natural, academic and cultural riches, the Pioneer Valley is home to many active musicians. “Since graduating from UMass four years ago, I have been performing and organizing in the Valley. I am pleased to have created a great network of musicians and friends with whom I look forward to including on this new series.” says Amanda Stenroos, violinist, co-Artistic Director and General Manager of NCC. Amanda is also co-founder and producer of UMass Amherst’s biennial Bach Festival and Symposium. “There is a great community of fine artists in the area and we are always looking for beautiful spaces in which we can perform - All Saints’ is the perfect venue!”

On the first of December, NCC will present Handel’s Messiah in a “singalong” format conducted by Wayne Abercrombie, Professor of Music Emeritus and former Director of Choral Activities at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; it will feature soloists Olivia Heinrich, Natalie Lewis, Kyle Ransom and Cailin Marcel Manson, as well as a chamber orchestra of local professionals. In this holiday favorite, the audience will be invited to sing along on the choruses of the Christmas portion of Handel’s familiar masterwork. A reception will be held afterwards in the church's Kidder Hall. Tickets will be available for $20 general admission, $17 students and seniors; proceeds will benefit the homeless.

On Sunday, January 19, 2020 accomplished baritone Cailin Marcel Manson, accompanied by pianist Hugh Keelan, will honor the legacy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a concert highlighting the African-American voice in concert music. The repertoire will include concert arrangements of Spirituals, sacred songs, and art songs by Moses Hogan, Harry Thacker Burleigh, William Grant Still, John Daniels Carter, Florence Price, Margaret Bonds and James Rosamund Johnson.

Continuing its mission to serve as a venue for up and coming artists and projects, the 2019-2020 NCC season will welcome a new chamber music series to the Valley, Cultivate, directed by pianist Kristen Flanagan, who recently began her masters degree with pianist Gilles Vonsattel at UMass Amherst.

“Cultivate is a chamber music series which presents creative concert programming and supports local artists and businesses in Western Massachusetts,” says Flanagan. “Our inaugural season consists of three unique concert experiences: on November 9, Nacht und Trӓume juxtaposes the introspective lieder of Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann with Felix Mendelssohn’s dazzling Piano Trio in C Minor. Celebrating folk, jazz, and classical among other American styles, Americana on February 1, premieres a chamber work based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, by Longmeadow native, composer Anthony Ferreira. Vocalists and instrumentalists will come together for various chamber settings by American composers in pieces such as Dover Beach by Samuel Barber and Songs America Loves To Sing by John Harbison. Our final concert, Mozart & Opera, May 9, is for opera and chamber music lovers alike. This exciting finale to our season highlights Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and will include his Piano Trio in B-flat Major, K502, and arias from his beloved operas.”

Cultivate concerts will start at 7:30 PM, with a pre-concert social hour at 6:45 PM, where guests can interact with the artists and enjoy local wine and refreshments. Suggested donation for Cultivate concerts is $20: cultivatechambermusic.com

While many of the initial NCC programs are classical, “Norwottuck Chamber Concerts will be dedicated to presenting a variety of repertoire—ranging from popular classics and virtuoso “show-stoppers” to more challenging “cutting edge” repertoire in a variety of styles and genres” continues Dr. May.

NCC’s missions is also to provide an opportunity for in-person interaction among performers and listeners. “With so much fine music available over the internet, in the media, and in large concert hall settings,” explains Dr. May, “what is unique about this concert series will be the “high-touch,” in-person experience that it will offer in a beautiful venue for music.” NCC will also hold a post-concert reception after each program for the socialization and enjoyment of all!

The first set of 2019-2020 concerts will take place from October through January, with spring concerts being added this fall. For more information, including ticket prices, reservations and program listings, please visit https://www.allsaintsallwelcome.org/norwottuckchamber

Norwottuck Chamber Concerts
Musical ENRICHMENT for the All Saints’ congregation and Western Massachusetts
an intimate VENUE for artists and ensembles in the region
OPPORTUNITY for in-person interaction among performers and listeners