Orchestra performing array of string music Saturday and Sunday

Whidbey’s Saratoga Orchestra will present a set of programs called “Simply Strings” 2:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Island Church of Whidbey in Langley and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Coupeville High School.

Baroque specialist Tekla Cunningham, violinist and founder of the poplar Whidbey Island Music Festival, will return as a guest soloist.

“We are so lucky to have her come and join us,” music director Anna Edwards said.

Edwards will be directing the second half of the concert, providing a more modern twist than Cunningham’s lead in the first half.

There will be an array of string orchestra music styles, performed by about 16 musicians.

Baroque masters J.S. Bach, Pietro Locatelli and Charles Avison will be featured alongside the music of Scandinavian composers Dag Ivar Wirén and Edvard Grieg. Hanna Benn, an emerging composer from Los Angeles and recent graduate of Cornish College will also be on the program, according to a press release.

Edwards said Benn’s peice was an interpretation of the short poem, Heaven-Haven by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

“The way she interprets it is beautiful and lovely,” Edwards said.

Cunningham said baroque style is typically the time period between the 1600s and 1750s, comprising works from musicians all over the world. She loves performing with an orchestra and the expressiveness of the violin. She says the performance will be entertaining and emotional.

“It’s just a wonderful way to take a break from your life,” Cunningham said. “It’s an amazing thing to come to a concert and you get a sense of time stopping in a way… It’s food for the soul.”

Simply Strings is part of a chamber concert series that the Saratoga Orchestra has been doing for the past four years, Executive Director Larry Heidel said.

“The concert is a great mix of music. if you’re not totally into baroque music, just wait until the second half and and you’ll get some romantic and modern.”

And there’s plenty of seats left, Heidel said.

“This is music we love to share with people of Whidbey Island,” Heidel said.

General admission tickets are $25 adult and $20 senior/military. Students under 18 are admitted for free (under 14 must be accompanied by a paying adult).

Tickets are available at Moonraker Books and Blue Sound Music in Langley, bayleaf in Coupeville, and Click Music in Oak Harbor. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted at the door.

• For information and tickets, go to www.sowhidbey.com or call 360-929-3045.

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