Performer and educator Monique Mead will collaborate with local musicians in a concert at First Presbyterian Church in Port Angeles this Friday.

Performer and educator Monique Mead will collaborate with local musicians in a concert at First Presbyterian Church in Port Angeles this Friday.

Summer Strings Workshop culminates in free Port Angeles concert

PORT ANGELES — For the first time here, a select group of local teenagers will partake in a music workshop and public concert with Carnegie Mellon University educator Monique Mead — all free.

The Port Angeles Symphony is hosting the Summer Strings Workshop, which culminates in a performance at 7 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church, 139 W. Eighth St.

Admission is free and the public is invited to the concert, which will feature timely excerpts from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” along with the tango piece “Por una Cabeza” from the movie “Scent of a Woman.”

The young artists will also offer short virtuoso pieces on harp and Chopin’s Impromptu No. 1 on piano.

“If you love music and seeing dynamic young talents, come,” said Mead, who is traveling from Pittsburgh to lead the three-day workshop before the performance.

Her student performers are violinists Adam Weller, Shinia Kildall, Angelina Sprague, Meiqi Liang and Marley Cochran, violist Lauren Waldron and cellist Evan Cobb, all of Port Angeles.

The workshop is designed to affirm their development as musicians and members of an orchestra — such as the Port Angeles Symphony, in which some of the students already play.

The Summer Strings Workshop is free for the students thanks to a duet of funding sources: a Gould Family Foundation grant and a $2,000 anonymous donation from a local supporter of classical music.

Mead, who has come here four times before as a guest soloist with the Port Angeles Symphony, is cofounder of the Center for Arts Innovation at the Carnegie Mellon School of Music.

For the workshop here — all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — she’ll have symphony cellist Traci Winters Tyson and Roughrider Orchestra director James Ray teaching beside her.

Friday evening’s concert “will be a classical top 10 list,” Mead noted, with the “Spring” and “Summer” parts of Vivaldi’s musical year.

Students will play as an ensemble, do duets and solos and talk about the music a bit. They are pumped to present some of the genre’s most energetic and popular stuff, Mead said.

She recently sent out a YouTube video to pique the students’ interest in Vivaldi’s 295-year-old piece about summertime.

In less than six minutes, Mead takes viewers from the sweltering hillsides of Italy in August — reflected in the Venice-born composer’s music — and into the woods, where it’s cooler. The sounds of cuckoos, finches and turtle doves are heard, as is a soft breeze that builds into a summer storm.

Mead’s son Tino Cardenas, 13, edited the video. A pianist and harpsichordist, he’ll accompany his mom to the workshop in Port Angeles.

On Friday, he’ll play in the concert’s Vivaldi and tango pieces.

Mead’s harpist daughter Isabel Cardenas, 15, is also coming.

Because traveling with a harp can be challenging, Isabel will borrow the instrument belonging to Darlene Whitney, the Port Angeles harpist and longtime symphony volunteer.

The restored harp is Darlene’s inheritance from her aunt Eugenia Kuhnle, who was a member of the Detroit Symphony.

Dr. Chuck Whitney, Darlene’s husband and the Port Angeles Symphony board treasurer, orchestrated the Summer Strings Workshop. He and Jonathan Pasternack, conductor of the Port Angeles Symphony, applied for the Gould grant months ago.

Then, in late July, Chuck Whitney was out on his tractor when Darlene Whitney burst out of the house, frantically waving him in.

“I came running,” he said, and took the phone call from the foundation, which had opted to fund the whole $5,000.

Mead, for her part, looks forward to working with teenagers devoted to making music — even when it’s hard.

“Playing an instrument requires focused attention [and] being able to deal with ‘failure’ on a constant basis,” she said. A player’s got to delay gratification and spend innumerable hours in “solitary confinement,” also known as the practice room.

Bored? Stand up to it, Mead said, if you want to be a musician or artist of any kind.

“People who cannot tolerate boredom will forever fill the silence with distraction,” said Mead, and those distractions, often on screens big and small, that clutter the mind.

Clear away distraction, she believes, and inspiration flows in.

For information about the Summer Strings Workshop and other Port Angeles Symphony education programs and concerts, visit www.PortAngeles, email [email protected] or call 360-457-5579.

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