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Annual Mozart concerts at Manito Park celebrates 20 years

 (Molly Quinn)
(Molly Quinn)

‘Summer’s Eve’ series runs Tuesday and Wednesday

Summer music in Spokane would not seem so delightfully summery or so easygoing musical without Connoisseur Concerts’ “Mozart on a Summer’s Eve” at Manito Park.

The series celebrates its 20th anniversary with “The Romantic Tenor – From Amadeus to Andrea (Bocelli)” on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings on the lawn east of the fountain in the park’s Duncan Gardens.

Rockland Osgood, a performer in Connoisseur Concerts’ winter series, the Northwest Bach Festival, will be the featured soloist in his first appearance with the Manito series.

The concerts are directed by Verne Windham, a well-known figure in Spokane’s musical life as a performer on French horn, conductor of the Spokane Youth Orchestra and host, commentator and director of arts programming for KPBX-FM.

He will lead the eight-member Connoisseur Concerts Wind Ensemble, made up of oboists Keri McCarthy and Bethany Schoeff, clarinetists James Schoepflin and Daniel Cotter, French hornists Windham and Roger Logan, and bassoonists Ryan Hare and John Reid.

The ensemble will perform works by Vivaldi, Grieg and, of course, Mozart. Osgood will sing music by Handel and Mozart at the earlier end of the program’s chronology, along with Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein on the modern side.

He also will acknowledge the wide popularity of a contemporary romantic tenor, Andrea Bocelli, by singing a Bocelli favorite, “Con te partito (Time to Say Goodbye).”

Spokane audiences know Osgood, a graduate of Huntington College and the New England Conservatory, as as soloist in baroque music from his appearances at the Bach Festival since 1996. Many will remember his performances in the high tenor role, Evangelist, in Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions.

But his repertoire embraces 19th and 20th century composers as well. Osgood sang the 2008 premiere of Lior Navok’s “Slavery Documents 3 – And the Trains Kept Coming,” and has made notable appearances in Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” and other modern programs.

Osgood has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Symphony, the National Chorale, the Oratorio Society of New York and at the Newport Music Festival, Spoleto USA and numerous other festivals. He also performs with opera companies and on orchestral series throughout the United States.

He and his wife, Deanna Dalrymple, administrator of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, live near Boston with their children, Olivia and Tristan.

Audience members for the Manito concerts can enjoy the performances either seated at white linen-covered tables for eight or by bringing their own blankets and chairs and sitting on the lawn, says Gertrude Harvey, Connoisseur Concerts executive director.

The $25 ticket price for table seating includes coffee and a gourmet dessert catered by Luna restaurant. Concertgoers can reserve a table for eight for $200 and arrange for friends and family to join them; they are invited to arrive as early as 5:30 p.m. to picnic or have a potluck at their table.

Limited table seating is available so early ticket purchase is advised, Harvey says.

The rain venue for the concerts is St. John’s Cathedral, at Grand Boulevard and 12th Avenue. Food service would be in the Great Hall of Jewett House and the concert in the Cathedral.