On Feb. 18 my wife and I attended a wonderful concert by Chiarina at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. “Voyages in Song” featured voice and piano, cello and piano, and all three together. Soprano Laura Strickling, cellist Carrie Bean Stute, and pianist Efi Hackmey performed works by Robert and Clara Schumann, Frederic Chopin, and Andre Previn. The concert was well attended and amazingly affordable. The regular price of a ticket for the concert was only $15 through Eventbrite. Wine and other refreshments were even offered at the intermission.
In past installments in this series on volunteering in the Hill I have emphasized volunteer opportunities with various organizations. While there are ways to volunteer with Chiarina, I would like to celebrate the great cast of musicians who play for the ensemble, and the work of the two artistic directors, Carrie Bean Stute and Efi Hackmey, who volunteer their time and talent to run the organization.
Stute and Hackmey founded Chiarina Chamber Players in 2015 to bring high-quality chamber music to Capitol Hill and Montgomery County. The group’s mission is to make live performances of masterpieces accessible to the community at large and to connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Chiarina was the nickname of Robert Schumann’s pianist-composer wife Clara. The ensemble recently received two grants from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation for their work in bringing classical music to life.
This is the second season for the ensemble, with five programs at nine concerts. Past performances this season were held at the Hill Center, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. The finale for the 2016-17 season, “Intimacy and Brilliance,” will take place on April 1 at 800 p.m. in the Gaithersburg Arts Barn, with a Capitol Hill performance on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s. The performance will feature Dvorak’s Piano Quintet coupled with Rebecca Clarke’s duo sonata. Along with Stute and Hackmey, Domenic Salerni and Derek Powell will play the violin and Arthur Dibble will play the viola.
I met Stute in February when she came to the Rotary Club in Capitol Hill to share her thoughts about the future of classical music. She explained a number of ways in which musicians are bringing classical music to new audiences across the country. Initiatives range from playing for schools to organizing concerts in unusual venues. During her visit she played a few short pieces for us, to our great enjoyment. Several club members told me afterwards how much they had enjoyed the experience. When Stute told us about her upcoming concert in St. Mark’s, several of us made sure we would attend. We all recommend attending a Chiarina concert.
There are various ways to volunteer with Chiarina and support the organization. You can contact Stute and Hackmey through Chiarina’s website. Their initiative is a wonderful way to bring classical music to life on Capitol Hill.
Quentin Wodon is president of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, which meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 a.m. at the Dubliner on F Street. To contact Quentin, or to learn more about the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill Pro Bono Initiative, please send him an email through the Contact Me page of his blog at www.rotarianeconomist.com.