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Camerata Concerts Begin May 9

Rare piano prompts series

Bethel Congregational Church (UCC) in White Salmon will host the first of what is expected to be a year-round concert series by professional local musicians comprising the "Camerata Columbia."

The first concert is scheduled for Friday, May 9, at 7 p.m.

The inspiration for the concert series is the recent acquisition of a Baldwin artist grand piano by Bethel Church. Music Directors and pianists for the church, Karen Eddleman-Hunley and Dustin Hunley, are thrilled about the instrument.

"This is a truly fine piano and we are absolutely thrilled to have it in White Salmon. We feel the Gorge community desperately needs an instrument of such quality to showcase the talents of its local artists," says Eddleman-Hunley.

Bill Whidden, a member of the church, says that the intention in acquiring this instrument was that the piano not just serve to enrich Sunday worship, but also to be a community resource.

"We have already had some interest in folks using the church and piano for other community concerts and recitals. A real concert grand piano, seating for about 150, and breathtaking views of the river and Mt. Hood makes for an ideal venue for weddings and live music performances in our community," said Whidden.

"Furthermore, we are looking to install a state-of-the-art sound system to boost vocal and instrumental acoustics as well as provide for professional quality recording ability."

The "Camerata Columbia," an eclectic group of professional musicians from White Salmon, Vancouver, and Hood River, will kick off the concert series this Friday with works by Beethoven, Schubert, Cole Porter, and more.

"These artists have all donated a tremendous amount of their time and hard work to make this concert possible," said Eddleman-Hunley. "This kind of commitment, that is, to ask artists who have dedicated their whole lives to their instruments or voice, to give so much of themselves this gift to the community, shows great confidence that there are plenty of folks around who will appreciate and support their efforts for ongoing concerts as well as support to help keep this wonderful instrument, which really is what is making this concert possible in the first place. I find this analogous to a painter's medium: If you give a very talented painter a set of crayons and a piece of newsprint to produce a beautiful landscape on, first, it would not be very inspiring to the artist, and second, the end result would not reflect that artist's true potential. And, thirdly, the public would respond accordingly. If you give that same painter a piece of high quality canvas and fine pastels, the results will be great, of a different level entirely. This is true of a musical instrument as well. Any artist, the musician included, needs the best materials to produce the finest work. It is essential. This piano is a very fine medium for the accomplished musician."

In addition to the pianists, the Camerata includes Janet Lindsley, soprano, Thomas Lindsley, tenor, Melissa Arndt, violin, Tova Cochrane, cello, Charlie Escher, bass, and Omar Sankari on drums.

This concert will be free of charge and open to people of all ages.

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