3rd Annual MusicFest Hits High Note
By Carol Banner
The 3rd Annual Music Fest created and orchestrated by a group of creative and far-seeing parishioners at the Monroe Congregational Church on the Green is truly a gift to all the residents of Monroe. Though in its infancy and yet to be recognized as a serious musical opportunity by parents and instructors of the musically inclined of all ages, the event has all the appeal and potential of the church’s annual Strawberry Festival – to which thousands attend, albeit for another reason.
Some of the performances were knee-slapping fun. Others were awe inspiring. Each was an opportunity for enjoyment, to learn something new and to actually meet and converse with the musicians post performance.
Well-known performing pianist Will Duchon, director of music at MCC, spearheaded the dream of a local group of musicians and music lovers to bring together performing, professional musicians for a festival of many genres. He also played to a full crowd in the church proper. There were in fact three performance venues on church property.
Said Pastor Jenn Gingras, “The power of music is its ability to speak to our deepest and most profound emotions. Music is the voice of the soul. I’m very proud of MusicFest and of the rich legacy of music it represents here at Monroe Congregational Church.”
If you love music, mark your calendar for next September’s event, tentatively the third Saturday. It’s a non-denominational festival that happens to be held in a lovely historic church in the middle of a friendly New England town. There are individual as well as family tickets – all reasonable. Be adventuresome. Listen to something you’ve never heard before.
Twin sisters Madeline and Megan Wissink (6 ¾) who both play the violin share their love of stringed instruments with renowned harpist Alix Raspe as she creates the music of angels. Of her many awards Raspe was awarded Principal Harpist for Symphony Nova in Boston in September 2016. She is co-director and co-founder of the Dorset Chamber Music Residency which had its inaugural summer last June.
Pianist Will Duchon has recorded three solo items, performed at Carnegie Hall, has been a broadcaster for Monroe’s WMNR Fine Arts Radio since 2004 and has served as Music Director at MCC since 2006.
Other Performing Artists Who Captivated Their Audiences
The Beekeepers – Folk/ singers-songwriters, musicians.
Irena Hart – acoustic guitarist, singer/songwriter, recording artist
Just Voices – Monroe based 12-member adult a capella ensemble
Silver Threads Band – guitars. voices and drums
Lawrencr Wissink – cellist a Master of Music with west coast experience.
Donald Alfano – pianist, from world tours to teaching music he has done it all
Naida Rozenvald - violinist, former member of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Silver Steel Band – Shades of the Caribbean a steel drum band
Men en Masse – 1 cappella choir performing music of all styles
Goldrush with Monroe native Gary Sippin on guitar and wife Mary Beth singing solo against a backdrop of talented musicians on piano, banjo, bass and mandolin plus pedal steel guitar delivers the best in bluegrass entertainment.
Versatile and mellow were the sounds of the Ed Chervansky jazz group. It’s Chervansky on guitar, Dave Childs on keyboard, John Mobilio on bass and Jim Royle on Drums.