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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bach can still pack ‘em in, but crowd exits quickly


Anna Hadfield, 3, bottom, and her brother Samuel, 8, check out the harpsichord at the end of the Super Bowl Bach free community concert at the Mary Queen Catholic Church in Spokane on Sunday. 
 (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)
Anna Hadfield, 3, bottom, and her brother Samuel, 8, check out the harpsichord at the end of the Super Bowl Bach free community concert at the Mary Queen Catholic Church in Spokane on Sunday. (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)

Harpsichord and Bach?

On Super Bowl Sunday?

In a church in northeast Spokane?

Would anyone show?

To the delight and surprise of some attendees, about 300 people arrived for the free and intimate concert with two renowned artists at the Mary Queen Catholic Church. Not that they stayed long afterward.

That’s how the 27th Annual Northwest Bach Festival concluded Sunday – with Super Bowl Bach, which started 90 minutes before kickoff.

Even guest tenor Rockland Osgood, a graduate of the New England Conservatory, pointed out to organizers how close the afternoon concert was to Sunday’s big game with his beloved New England Patriots playing.

“My wife is Tivoing the whole thing for me,” he said after his performance.

Osgood chatted with patrons as he headed for the door to catch the game scheduled to start 15 minutes after the concert ended.

Even artistic director Gunther Schuller was moving briskly for the exit afterward, said Gertrude Harvey, executive director of Connoisseur Concerts, organizer of the Bach festival.

The whole idea of the concert is to bring the weeklong Bach event into the community, Harvey said. This is the second year a concert has been held in the small church at 3423 E. Carlisle.

“It’s a beautiful way to end the festival,” Harvey said.

In the crowd were new faces to the event alongside longtime regulars, Harvey said.

Richard Russell, who’s from Olympia, comes to Spokane each winter to ski. Each year, he makes a point to attend as many concerts as possible.

Russell was impressed with Mark Kroll, one of the world’s leading harpsichordists. Kroll and Osgood made for an intimate performance, which was perfect for the cozy church, Russell said.

“They were very impressive,” Russell said.

An earlier show at the larger St. John’s Cathedral was hindered by bad acoustics, Russell said. Mary Queen provided much better sound, he said.

Dr. Coy Fullen, a family doctor for the Indian Health Service on the Colville Indian Reservation, drove in from Colbert to catch the show. Fullen had a little trouble finding the church.

Angela Snyder, a student at Eastern Washington University, said she came to the event as part of a class. Snyder is a vocal performer working on her master’s degree in music.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Snyder said. But when she came, the church pews were nearly filled and she sat near the back. Even on Super Bowl Sunday, Spokane loves Bach.

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