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Monday, May 27, 2024

New Baroque Music Ensemble to Debut in Williamsburg in April

Bruton Baroque is gearing up for its inaugural concert. (Bruton Baroque)

WILLIAMSBURG — The members of Bruton Baroque are busy practicing for their inaugural concert on April 4 at Bruton Parish Church with hopes of introducing a new crowd to baroque-era music.

Beckie Davy and Sophie Lowe, two of the founders of the ensemble, recently discussed the formation of the group and the upcoming show between rehearsals.

“I used to live in D.C. and twice a year, I’d come down and do a recital with Becky. We were playing together semi-regularly and then I moved here. During those shows, people were always very excited about early music. I think we both had this ‘aha’ moment where we had all the things we needed here to create something very special,” Lowe said.

The repertoire for the show will include Johann Sebastian Bach cantatas “Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut” and “Himmelskonig, sei willkommen.” The series is a continuation effort of the original concert series at Bruton Parish Church that was started by musician and composer Peter Pelham in 1750.

The concert on April 4 will be a candlelit show, something that Davy is looking forward to. Davy said she has a special place in her heart for the candlelit shows.

Members of Bruton Baroque. (Bruton Baroque)

“I get notes sometimes from people who have come to other candlelit concerts at Bruton. Those notes are really about how it changed them and how it changed their perspective. One person had never heard classical music ever in her life and she came to a show at Bruton and wanted to know where she could find more of what we were playing. It’s such an experience because Bruton brings the community but it also brings visitors because it’s in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg,” Davy says.

Lowe and Davy are hoping that the concert provides the public with an opportunity to unplug and enjoy some early music from a very popular composer.

“We live in a world that is becoming increasingly isolated and built upon technology. Though there can be benefits in that, this concert is a rare chance for the community to come together to experience art together. We’re at this breaking point where we have to decide if we’re going to let the arts and culture die. Bach cantatas have been seen as the pinnacle of art that has gone through humanity within several different centuries. This concert for us is a way of taking a stand and saying ‘this matters,'” Lowe said.

While the April 4 show is the kickoff for the group, Davy has dreamt up many other goals for the ensemble.

“Ultimately, we’d really like to find funding to be able to hire people to come from elsewhere to join in the ensemble so that the shows can be different. We really don’t want it to always be the three of us. We’d love to find some other instrumentalists from elsewhere who play baroque instruments to join us,” Davy says.

After the show, concertgoers are invited to stay and ask questions or get up close to the instruments.

In addition to Davy on organ and Lowe on baroque viola, the show will feature soprano Sarah Taylor, altos Cynthia Eberhardt and Claudia Kessel, tenor Brian Blair, baritone Chris Mooney, baroque violinist Susannah Livingston, baroque violist, Jenny Edenborn, viola da gambist Brady Lanier, and baroque cellist Ryan Lowe.

The show will begin at 8 p.m. and is free (a freewill offering is also accepted) and open to the public. For more information, visit brutonparish.org/music_performances.

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