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Manito plays host to a talent-stacked Mozart on a Summer’s Eve

Next week’s Mozart on a Summer’s Eve concert, “Ciao, Belle Donne! (Hello, Beautiful Women!)” is filled with famous operatic gems that promise to delight.

Verne Windham, founder and music director, has invited three talented vocalists who have a personal connection to Spokane and Whitworth University.

Colleen Bryant Palmer, Heather Steckler Parker and Heather Peterson “all attended Whitworth during the 1990s” Windham said. They studied with renowned vocal instructor Marjory Halvorson, and each has gone on to develop their individual professional careers.

Organizers are pleased to welcome back international cello sensation Zuill Bailey to perform two solo selections and as cellist in a chamber work. His sold-out performance for the final concert of the Northwest Bach Festival in March provided great impetus to bring him back to Spokane.

Bailey said that “the Bach concert in the beautiful setting of the St. John’s cathedral, with a capacity audience, was a true gift” for him.

When asked about selecting music for Mozart on a Summer’s Eve, he said, “Verne Windham and I sat down and discussed selections that would exhibit variety, fun, beauty and entertainment for an outdoor audience.”

Bailey has just finished his first year as director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival in Alaska.

Some of the vocal selections to be performed include arias, duets and trios from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operas: “Don Giovanni,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “The Clemency of Titus” and “The Magic Flute.”

Other opera vocal excerpts are from: Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel;” Jacques Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffman;” Leo Delibes’ “Lakme;” Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado;” Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide;” and “The Boys from Syracuse,” a witty musical by Rodgers and Hart.

Bailey will perform the well-known “Meditation” from the opera “Thais” by Jules Massenet and “Melodie (Dance of the Blessed Spirits)” from “Orfeo ed Euridice” by Christoph Gluck.

He will then join forces with bassist Kim Plewniak and the Connoisseur Concerts Wind Ensemble for Antonin Dvorak’s “Serenade for Wind Instruments, Cello and Double Bass in D Minor, Op. 44.”

The two other instrumental works on the program are: “Overture” and “Echo March” from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The wind ensemble includes: Keri McCarthy and Bethany Schoeff, oboe; Daniel Cotter and James Schoepflin, clarinet; Roger Logan, Verne Windham and Margaret Wilds, horn; Susan Hess and Ryan Hare, bassoon; and Kim Plewniak, bass.

For vocalist Palmer, the opportunity to work with Windham is a treat. “I met Verne Windham and his wife Susan when I was a kid in the Spokane Falls Children’s Choir. As a young adult at Whitworth I became a soloist at Westminster Church where Verne was director of music,” she said. “Verne has a unique ability in his music making to combine high level professionalism with a ‘breeze in, breeze out’ ease. He is a joy to work with.”

For Windham, this 22nd annual Summer’s Eve concert promises “absolute magic listening during the performances even though this is an outdoor casual concert.”

He also mentioned that there will be “the traditional secret encore.”



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