FAIRMONT – The Fairmont Chamber Music Society was founded to bring culture to Marion County. Today, in its 40th year, the company is needed more than ever.
Chamber Music Society Board Chair Brenda Giannis spoke to the Marion County School Board on Monday evening explaining that the organization wanted to restart – to some extent – its music programs for students at the during the school year 2021-22.
In previous years, the company has hosted performances for Marion County students at Saint Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church in downtown Fairmont. When COVID-19 shut everything down in the spring of 2020, the company had to cancel concerts for the 2020 season, including plans to bring music to county schools.
In 2016, the Marion County Board of Education began funding the company to provide tickets for the various concerts the company has hosted for all choir and group students, their parents and teachers. This program is still ongoing.
In the fall of 2019, a grant funded a six-concert tour of several Marion County schools with Peter Willison and Eric Clay.
“In two days, these two entered six schools in the North Marion attendance area,” Giannis said. “The children have gone mad.
Concerns about COVID have cut concerts both in schools and in the company’s regular programming cut short.
“I felt so bad for artists all over the world,” Giannis said. “We had to reschedule everything and we rescheduled all of our concerts that were canceled.”
Now, with restrictions lifted and parents hoping for a fully open fall term, the company will let students pick up their pace before hosting concerts at the school. Other than a catch-up concert in September for North Marion High which was canceled in 2020, no new concerts are planned in schools.
“We are not going to program other [school] concerts this year other than this catch-up concert, ”said Giannis. “The kids need to get back into the water, so we’re putting it off for another year. “
As the chamber music company takes a break from schools, its normal Sunday concert schedule for the 2021-2022 season is on track.
This year’s first concert will take place on September 26 at 3 p.m. with Ronn McFarlane and Carolyn Surrick, a duo who play the lute and viola da gamba respectively.
November 14th will host the Schumann Ensemble, a trio of oboe, viola and piano. On February 27, 2022, Corina Marti, internationally renowned harpsichordist, will perform. The last of the four performances will be Trio Confero, a clarinet, cello and piano trio on March 27, 2022.
“It really feels good to come back to live music,” said Giannis.
Mary Jo Thomas, president of the Marion County School Board and avid attendee of the society’s concerts, was thrilled to hear that the concerts will be making a comeback.
“I can’t even imagine the world without music,” Thomas said. “I really applaud the Chamber for keeping the genre of music alive. “
All of the company’s concerts are open to the public. Tickets are $ 10 at the door or $ 6 for students and seniors. Subscription packages are also available where tickets for all four concerts can be purchased in advance for $ 30 or $ 18 for students and seniors.
“It’s something for all ages,” Thomas said. “You can find people from 9 [years-old] to 100 enjoying music together is something special.