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March 26, 2014

Gifts of Gratitude offers gift of chamber music

MEADVILLE — Imagine a lunchtime conversation between long-time friends — communicating like crazy, catching up on their lives and the lives of others, bringing in slices of all sorts of unrelated topics and changing direction faster than the speed of light. Now imagine that conversation taking place without words.

“That’s the way chamber music works,” said Meadville resident Beth Etter, a member of the chamber music ensemble that will make its second Meadville appearance in as many years on April 4.

“The conversation begins, evolves and changes,” Etter continued. “Sometimes it suffers conflict of some sort. Sometimes tension from the conflict lasts. You start to wonder, ‘Are we going to fix this? Are we going to move out of the conflict and into something that feels like we’re back home again?’ That’s exactly what goes on. It’s incredible communication without words.”

For the second annual “Gifts of Gratitude” concert, the ensemble will consist of two musicians on piano and one each on violin, cello and clarinet.

However, Etter continued, the definition of chamber music is between two and 20 players — without conductors.

Conductors are not allowed because, like the long-time friends at lunch, the players pass the music to one another.

For members of a chamber ensemble, “you don’t just listen,” Etter explained. “You watch. You’ve got all your senses attuned to what the other players are doing. When it works like it’s supposed to, everybody gets fired up about what everybody else is doing. In rehearsal — or in performance — sometimes somebody will inject some nuance or passion that comes to light in an unexpected way. You, as part of the conversation, are inspired by that, so you give it back. It builds.”

The conversation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville at the south end of Diamond Park in downtown Meadville.

The concert is sponsored by Creating Landscapes for Families, a twice-weekly after-school program combining tutoring, creative and recreational activities, dinner and after-dinner entertainment for participating students and their families from the Second District Elementary School attendance area, and the UU church, which hosts the program on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the school year. The concert is free and open to the public and will be followed immediately by the second annual gala reception, which is also free and open to the public. Donations, which will be shared by both sponsoring organizations as they partner to provide growing opportunities for local families, are greatly appreciated, according to organizers.

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