A stillness settled over the community hall at West Central Episcopal Mission Wednesday night as rich notes drifted from the strings of a 1693 Matteo Gofriller Cello and settled on the ears of Dinner Table guests and volunteers.
Zuill Bailey, artistic director of the Northwest Bach Festival and world-renowned cellist, strummed some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most famous compositions as Dinner Table guests – members of Spokane’s low-income and homeless community – strolled into the mission center for their weekly, free meal.
Music, Bailey said, should be like a warm hug and so captivating that it stops people in their tracks.
“I just wanted to say thank you and bring you a little of that today,” he said to the guests.
Bailey is currently performing as part of the Northwest Bach Festival, which concludes this weekend in a sold-out performance at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
He donated his time on Ash Wednesday to play at Dinner Table because, he said, “Music isn’t just for the concert hall.”
He said music is a source of friendship, life and peace and all people should have the opportunity to enjoy it. He said it quiets people and helps them reflect and feel their inner emotions, which is why he wanted to give a solo concert to the guests.
Darrel Douglas, a regular Dinner Table guest, said listening to Bailey reminded him of when he was a young boy, studying music.
“It brought back good memories,” he said. “It was a very nice treat.”