Amici Strings has been granted IRS 501 (3)(c) status. We are now officially a Non-Profit Organization!
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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.
Click the headline to read an article about the orchestra in Main Line Media News
STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
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Friendly Ensemble to Bring String Music to Wayne This August
WAYNE, PA, July 16, 2015—In a summer bursting with pops concerts and fireworks, a group of string musicians offers a unique addition to the Main Line music scene. Amici Strings, a new ensemble of 23 local musicians, will have its first concert at Wayne United Methodist Church on Friday, August 7, at 7:30 p.m. The free concert will include the Concerto for Strings in c minor by Vivaldi, Elgar’s romantic Serenade, Dag Wiren’s sprightly March, and the Capriol Suite by the elusive Peter Warlock. Carl Nielsen’s Little Suite for String Orchestra will close the evening. Conductor Stuard Young calls Nielsen’s piece, “the most important Opus 1 I know. The young composer burst upon the Danish music scene with a piece of such richness and strength that once known, the melodies cannot be forgotten.”
The musicians selected the Italian name to reflect their fondness for Vivaldi and to celebrate the meaning of the word: “amici” means “friends.” “I have many talented friends who play string instruments,” says Amici’s founder, Alice Pavri, “I wanted to bring a group together to play string repertoire we don’t often get to play in our symphonic orchestras.” Pavri has a knack for bringing people together; she is also the co-creator of the Providence Chamber Orchestra (est. 1998) and the director of the Phoenxiville Phiddlesticks, a children’s group. Pavri has been teaching violin, viola, and piano in Kimberton for 20 years.
Like Pavri, many Amici members are local string teachers. “It’s important for kids to
see that music can remain a vital part of their lives even after they leave school,” claims bass player and Phoenixville district teacher, Joe Klapper. Leigh Schoepflin, who also teaches in Phoenixville, praises the challenge of the repertoire, noting that string music provides variety in the viola part often absent in larger orchestral works. With a small ensemble like this one, it is easy for children and adults alike to hear how every musician contributes to the sound, and how happy they are to be playing together.
Summer ensembles have a special kind of energy. Young is the Assistant Conductor of the Main Line Symphony Orchestra, and a retired Radnor Township School District music teacher. He agreed to conduct the string ensemble because, “despite my many years as a career director of bands, the sound of massed strings remains my greatest musical love. This fine, dedicated group of musicians is thrilled to make its debut in downtown Wayne with this special concert of music both beautiful and exciting.”
The concert will be followed by a “friendly” reception.
For more information about Amici Strings, visit our Facebook page:
About Wayne United Methodist Church
Wayne United Methodist Church is located at 210 S. Wayne Ave, in the heart of downtown Wayne, and remains an active part of the community. The Church is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary with a year-long schedule of special events. Click here for more information about events and ministries: WayneUMC.