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Summer update – 7/11-7/17/16


So the Emerging Artists have all arrived.  Which means our normally quiet grounds are full of life and laughter.  It’s been wonderful; instead of shutting off the lights at the end of the day, I pull out in the evenings to the sounds of practicing and conversation.  And we’ve been joined this week by the amazing guest artists Aisslinn Nosky, Tony Manzo, Francis Yun, and Rachel Young, who provided masterclasses, coachings, as well as led them through a great debut concert on Saturday.  (We only have amazing guest artists.  It’s kinda remarkable, really.  Before I joined Garth Newel, I had no idea that musicians could be awesome at their instruments AND still be down-to-earth with excellent conversational skills).

funnyThe fellows arrived on Monday in time for dinner, thanks to the cheerful work of our volunteer drivers, who drove them in from Charlottesville and Roanoke airports.  (Shout out to Lew Freeman and Linda Vinson!)  A big NON-thank you to American Airlines, who managed to lose our piano fellow’s luggage, and to the person who had misfiled his luggage claim and caused him to be without his stuff for five days.  FIVE DAYS.  Poor Joe.  Thank God for Isaac for lending him clothes, and to Teresa’s friend, who was able to get the luggage from Charlottesville airport before coming to Saturday’s concert.

The fellows were put to work immediately, rehearsing in the mornings from Tuesday to Saturday to prepare a baroque ensemble concert on Saturday, as well as working in the afternoons on the chamber works that they will be performing later on in the season.  It’s not like they had evenings off either.  On Wednesday Rachel Young gave them a masterclass on how to take orchestra auditions:


On Thursday they met and bonded with their PEAPS (Patrons of the Emerging Artists Program) in a special dinner.  Every year, wonderful members of Garth Newel’s community pitch in to help sponsor our Emerging Artists, to support and encourage their professional development in music. The new PEAPS program was created by Isaac Melamed in order to foster relationships between these patrons and the Fellows, by pairing each patron with a student and setting up the opportunity for personal and meaningful interactions. We had a lot of fun thinking of pairings that would get a kick out of each other, which have already resulted in a mirthful outing to the Homestead.


from left to right: Sarah Thomas, Sarah Hill, Ben Osterhouse, Louise Firth, Sammy Andonian
from left to right: Sarah Thomas, Sarah Hill, Ben Osterhouse, Louise Firth, Sammy Andonian

Thank you so much to the PEAPs who have shown such enthusiasm and support for this program!


Friday night the Fellows had a masterclass with violinist Aisslinn Nosky, who enlightened us all on historical performance practice, and then proceeded to thrill us with an impromptu performance of Biber’s Sonata 1681.

Of course, then the fellows performed on Saturday to a packed house with a concert of Vivaldi, Biber, and Telemann.  Led by Aisslinn and joined by harpsichordist Francis Yun and bassist Tony Manzo, the concert was electric, full of life, imagination, and commitment.

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awesome appetizer of soft shell crab

There were still rehearsals on Sunday, because, this is an intensive chamber music festival after all.  Thankfully, we took over and performed the afternoon concert, giving the fellows a well-deserved break.

Tony Manzo, however, did not get a break.  He performed with us on the first half on the Vaughan Williams piano quintet, an epic work full of surging emotions and beauty.  You know, playing with such a magnificent bassist as Tony makes me feel like I’m playing in surround sound.  It definitely felt like we were performing in a movie theater.

We answered the stentorian Vaughan Williams with a different type of lushness, in Faure’s noble, soaring, and shimmering c minor piano quartet.

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And of course, we had another delicious picnic by Chef Josh and crew!  Oh, there’s Kermit from Greenbrier Valley Theatre with an awesome hat.

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After the picnic, the natural thing to do was of course, see goats.

BABY GOATS.  enough said

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The ones who did not go with Teresa to hold blissful baby goats decided to have a sight reading session in the Kendall House.  These students definitely have their heads and hearts in the right place!