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2018 Friends of Wadsworth Concert for youth April 14

2018 Friends of Wadsworth Concert for youth April 14

Budd encourages bringing young people

to 2018 Friends of Wadsworth Concert

This coming Saturday brings the biggest night of the year at the “Wonderful Wadsworth” as Newnan Cultural Arts Commission presents the annual Friends of Wadsworth chamber music concert.

Concert director, host and talented soprano, Newnan’s own Courtenay Budd is encouraging bringing young people to experience the world of classical chamber music.

“Every spring right after the Wadsworth concert I like to look out and see how many in the audience have brought a teenager or grade schooler along. There are always some, and the responses of these young people never fail to remind us performers of why we do what we do,” Budd said as she prepares for the April 14 concert.

“At times it can feel as if classical music is on a kind of downturn, that it’s harder and harder to keep it going for the audiences of tomorrow,” she said. “But the hardest part is getting these young folks in the door. Once there, they are hooked.”

The Friends of Wadsworth Concert series carries on the spring concerts made popular by Newnan’s famous son and world-renowned pianist Charles Wadsworth, founding director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. For some two decades Charles Wadsworth brought world class talent from the classical music scene to perform in his hometown. Early Wadsworth and Friends concerts helped raise funds to renovate Newnan’s 1939 art deco auditorium and outfit it with technical and acoustical enhancements. The City of Newnan honored Wadsworth by naming the performance hall in his honor.

Budd continues Charles Wadsworth’s legacy and has gathered a stellar group of classical musicians for the 2018 Friends of Wadsworth concert including violinist Chee-Yun, who appeared at several of the original Wadsworth and Friends concerts; flutist Angela Jones-Reus, who performed with Wadsworth when he was inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame at Cobb Energy Centre in 2010; pianist Andrew Armstrong, an internationally-touring pianist who has made previous appearances on the Wadsworth stage; and cellist Sophie Shao, who has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is on the faculty at Vassar College where Budd has begun teaching.

“I’m particularly excited about paying tribute to Leonard Bernstein on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Nearly the entire second half of our concert is his compositions,” Budd said. “Bernstein meant so much to the world of music. One of his many great contributions is a quality he shared with our friend Charles Wadsworth. He made the concert hall more fun, helped people to relax while listening, and introduced young audiences to great music.”

“Saturday’s concert includes Ian Clarke’s ‘The Great Train Race,’ where the flute actually imitates the sound of a train – starting, accelerating, slowing, whistling – such fun! – as well as selections from Bernstein’s ‘Peter Pan,’ and ‘West Side Story,’ a string trio he wrote as a teen, and a rarely-heard but funny set of kid songs entitled, ‘I Hate Music!,’” Budd said.

“So I hope people won’t miss this year’s concert, and why not bring along a young person in your life? You could open up a whole new world to them,” she added.

The concert program has changed a bit since it was announced a few weeks ago. The “Latin flavor” portion was replaced after guitarist Robert Belinic was unable to attend this year’s concert. There will be selections from such composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck and Maurice Ravel.

“In the few years I’ve been doing this I’ve noticed a trend. The more topsy-turvy the process leading up to it, the better the concert is,” Budd said. “So April 14 should be one heck of a performance!  After multiple upheavals of dates, artists, and repertoire, we are left with a warm spring weekend, a terrific lineup, and a fabulous evening planned.”


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