FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January Amici Strings concert celebrates the fabric of community
PHOENIXVILLE, PA, December 17, 2015—Phoenixville is known for its annual firebird festival, a blazing and eclectic celebration of rebirth. But the renewal of the town has been accompanied by a quieter reinvestment in music education and performance opportunities. A new orchestra with several Phoenixville members, Amici Strings will perform at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Phoenixville on Sunday, January 10 at 4 p.m. The free concert is part of the Music @ St. Peters concert series and will include the Concerto for Strings in c minor by Vivaldi, Elgar’s romantic Serenade, Dag Wiren’s sprightly March, the Capriol Suite by the elusive Peter Warlock and Carl Nielsen’s Little Suite for String Orchestra. Nielsen’s first orchestral suite was itself a birth of sorts—it is fabled that the program notes attributed the piece to “Mr. Nielsen, whom nobody knows.”
Music has played an important part in the revitalization of Phoenixville, a place that, until recently, it would seem nobody knew. In the decade she has lived here, violinist Liz Grimshaw has watched Phoenixville develop into a vibrant city, thanks in part to the quality of the First Friday performers. She joined Amici enthusiastically because “the musicians here possess a depth and richness of talent and experience”. Alice Pavri, who teaches violin, viola, and piano in Kimberton, founded the orchestra last summer to explore rich repertoire for string orchestra and spend time with her many talented friends. One of whom, cellist Pam Baxter, moved to Phoenixville in 1985. She credits the remarkable growth of the city to the Chamber of Commerce, the Colonial Theater, and the Art Center. For Baxter, Phoenixville is a livable city “full of art and music and creative energy.”
Phoenixville has a history of producing award-winning marching bands, but little exposure to string ensembles. In spite of having directed bands for much of his career, Amici conductor Stuard Young calls string groups his “greatest musical love.” Bassist Joe Klapper explains how string ensembles differ from traditional school bands: “Strings offer a more contemplative and delicate world in which to express our human diversity.” Klapper was hired to start the district’s string program in 2013, the same year St. Peter’s Music Series began. The church hopes to bring people together in the appreciation of music and experience of community. “We wanted to offer high quality music to people who might not otherwise attend a concert,” says Karen Martz, a choral singer who works with the church to organize the series. Children are welcome at all St. Peter’s musical events.
Many of the orchestra’s members are hopeful about Phoenixville’s musical future. Indeed, with 304 students learning violin, viola, and cello in the city’s schools, Amici may soon have some serious competition! Joe Klapper hopes the ensemble can serve as a model for his young students: “I’d like my kids to embrace complex ideas of beauty. Classical music helps us do that.”
For more information about Amici Strings, visit our website: amicistrings.com or find us on Facebook: facebook.com/amicistringsorchestra
St. Peter’s is located at 121 Church Street in Phoenixville and is currently celebrating its 175th anniversary. Its vision is to be an inclusive, vibrant Christian community honoring its Episcopal heritage by achieving excellence in worship, mission, education and fellowship. More information about St. Peter’s can be found at saintpeterschurch.net.