Celebrate Shakespeare with Sonnets and Song
September 20, 2016, 7:00 pm
Amherst County Public Library, Amherst Branch
382 South Main Street, Amherst, 24521
Enjoy an evening celebration of Shakespeare’s Sonnets at the Library. Featured in the event will be the Amherst County High School Amherechos, singing the world premiere of two settings of Shakespeare’s sonnets composed by Virginia composer Aaron Garber.
The Belles of Amherst, an all-female chorus, will also sing several songs set to poetry. Poet Laureate Emeritus of the State of Virginia, Ron Smith, will speak about Shakespeare’s sonnets. He will be introduced by LuAnn Keener-Mikenas, a poet from Madison Heights, who was the awarded the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize in 2013. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
Copies of Shakespeare’s sonnets will be available for those attending. There will be short reception after the event with light refreshments and a chance to meet the poets Ron Smith and LuAnn Keener-Mikenas, choral director Melanie Coleman and composer Aaron Garber.
The year 2016 marks the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616. AGAR and ACPL have been celebrating Shakespeare’s life and works during the entire year, with events ranging from presenting lectures and films to planting herbs and exhibiting costumes.
Ron Smith will also speak about Shakespeare’s sonnets at the Amherst County High School on the 20th in English classes. Last year Mr. Smith first came to Amherst to speak about Edgar Allan Poe and Poetry. AGAR is pleased to bring him back to Amherst this school year.
Ms. Keener-Mikenas won the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize for her book of poems, titled “Homeland,” She has previously spoken for AGAR and the Library about Emily Dickinson.
AGAR has commissioned two works previously from Mr. Garber, most recently the 2015 chamber opera “Romania: Revolution 1989.” Three years ago he wrote a song for AGAR’s BIG READ project to a poem by Emily Dickinson, also performed by the Amherechos.
The event is free and open to the public - no reservations are needed. Just show up and enjoy!
Naomi Amos & Noemi Lee
September 18, 4:00 pm
Bethany United Methodist Church
732 High Peak Road, Monroe, VA 24574
Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR) will present a family-friendly four-hand piano program featuring Lynchburg piano duo Naomi Amos and Noemi Szigeti Lee. The audience is invited to remain after the performance for a “Meet the Musicians” reception and light refreshments hosted by the Church.
“One of the more interesting pieces for people, I think will be the jazz-based 'Snazzy Sonata,'” said Lee. (Snazzy Sonata was composed by living composer Judith Lang Zaimont, born in Tennessee.) Lee continued, “I think young people will really enjoy our playing Mother Goose Suite, which Maurice Ravel composed on themes from fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. Mikhail Glinka’s piece Capriccio on Russian Themes has a big Russian sound, sometimes a march motif. And of course everyone loves the Mozart piece we will play, Mozart’s Sonata in D Major K381. It is so light, fast and lively! It will be an exciting program to perform for a new audience in Monroe, in a different venue for us.”
Naomi Amos is taken with Bethany United Methodist Church in Monroe: “I think that the intimacy of this delightful church will enhance will enhance the musical experience for every member of the audience!” She also commented that four-hand piano music, in which two pianists play together at one piano, is a lesser-known and interesting format for playing concerts on piano. Amos’ program notes also stress the influential nature of the composers’ work, both on other composers of their generations, and on their students.
Both women are active locally both as concert musicians and as teachers. Noemi Lee served as music and choir director at St. Thomas More Church in Lynchburg, was instructor and staff accompanist at Sweet Briar, Virginia School of the Arts, and Randolph College, and is now an instructor at Lynchburg College. Naomi Amos is music director for congregation Agudath Sholom’s High Holy Days services, and teaches piano at James River Day School and in her home studio. In spring 2011, she joined the Westover Honors Program faculty at Lynchburg College, where she teaches an honors seminar on the arts in the Depression era and an arts colloquium on the History of Popular Song.
“I am grateful to be able to play again with AGAR” said Romanian-born Noemi Szigeti Lee, who last played for AGAR on Aaron’s Garber’s chamber Opera “Romania: Revolution 1989." “The Romania piece was close to my heart – it was wonderful to know that people here were interested in the events of my own life so far away.”
Tickets for the event may be purchased at LynchburgTickets.com or at the door of the church starting at 3:15 pm. They are $15 for adults, $2 for students K-12. College student rate is $5. AGAR season tickets will be honored.
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