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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 9:34 am | Fair 56º


Gerald Carpenter: Strings Concert to Tell New Stories With New Music

For their annual Spring Concert — 7 p.m. Sunday, May 13, at Hahn Hall, 1070 Fairway Road — Santa Barbara Strings (Mary Beth Woodruff, artistic director/founder) will take the unusual step of devoting the majority of the program to the premiere of a new work of music, poetry and art.

The string players themselves will be arranged into their traditional ensembles: the Sinfonietta and Vivace String orchestras, conducted by Woodruff, and the Toccata ensemble, led by Andrea Larez.
Rather than put my foot in my mouth trying to explain music I have never heard, I will turn the story over to the Santa Barbara Strings:

"The Spring Concert program features an original multi-disciplinary work, 'Storytelling with Strings Attached,' inspired by Holst’s 'The Planets.' Santa Barbara Strings students and an alumna are creating new music, poetry, and art to form a contemporary work.

"Poems and works of art inspired by the movements of the suite, 'Mars,' 'Mercury,' 'Jupiter,' 'Saturn,' 'Uranus,' and 'Neptune,' will be read and displayed during the performance of the piece.

"Past poet laureate of Santa Barbara, Chryss Yost, helped determine the selection of poems that will be read aloud by the authors. Renowned local artist Priscilla Fossek is selecting works of art to match each planet that will be displayed on a giant screen behind the string orchestra.

"Strings alumna, Grace Fisher, a former cellist with the Vivace ensemble, has composed the music for a new movement in the suite, 'Earth.'

"(Ms. Fisher was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis during her senior year of high school in 2014, leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. She was introduced to music therapy and adaptive art that not only helped strengthen her neck, but also helped heal her mind and soul.

"She is the founder and creative director of the Grace Fisher Foundation, a nonprofit that brings arts to children of all abilities.)"
Founder/director Woodruff said, "This multi-media composition engages the students’ talents and minds, and gets everyone involved in the process of premiering new music. We’re thrilled to have Grace Fisher return to inspire us with her ongoing passion for how the arts can improve people’s lives."
The program also includes "Vida la Vida" by Coldplay, and the “Love Theme” from the film Cinema Paradiso, arranged for string orchestra.
A complimentary reception for musicians and audience will follow the Spring Concert.
Tickets to this concert are $10 for adults; free for young people 18 and under, and are available at the door. To learn more about Santa Barbara Strings and/or to support this excellent classical music education program, please visit the website santabarbarastrings.org.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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