Story last updated at 11:29 a.m. Friday, August 2, 2002

Town hits classical note with string festival
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment
  Homer News file photo
Lunchtime performances by a variety of musical ensembles will again be a part of the Sunner String Festival.  
At no time during the year is the music of the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra more audible than during the orchestra's Summer String Festival, which starts today.

The festival features a variety of events, some free and some fund-raisers, aimed at bringing classical music to the communities of Homer and Soldotna. At the same time, guest performers from the DeVere Quartet, as well as other musicians, work with area instrumentalists through workshops and rehearsals.

"It's about appreciating the talents in our community," said Mark Robinson, orchestra director. "It's a celebration of summer in Alaska."

A series of free lunchtime concerts span this week and next, starting with Milo Anderson, who plays at Don Jose's today. Friday, guitarist Matt Yaki plays at El Pescador, and Monday, Yaki plays at the Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery. Jazzmen Tom Klinker and Mike Heimbuch perform at Cafe Cups on Tuesday, while Andrew Vait and Sammy B play at Beachcomber III on Wednesday. Members of the DeVere Quartet serenade diners at Land's End Resort on Thursday, while Thistle performs at Captain's Coffee Roasting Co. at its new location on Pioneer Avenue across from the Salvation Army on Friday.

In addition to the noon concerts, the orchestra's annual fund-raiser, "Champagne, Chocolate and Chopin * la Tutka," cruises out of Homer on Sunday at 6 p.m. on the Rainbow Connection to Tutka Bay Lodge.

Members of the DeVere String Quartet will perform while Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery goodies are served. Tickets are $75.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, the annual Gala Concert, featuring Lindsay Groves, cello soloist of the DeVere Quartet, will be performed at the Mariner Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m. The concert includes Dvorak's "Cello Concerto," a piece described by Robinson as "very Czech" in nature.

The orchestra will also perform Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," a work written shortly after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

"It uses Lincoln's words from the Civil War, which seem appropriate to the times now," Robinson said. "It's a very powerful piece."

Peter Norton will narrate the piece.

Tickets for the Gala Concert are $15 with discounts.

On Sunday, Aug. 11, members of the DeVere Quartet will perform in concert with pianist JulieAnn Smith at the Bunnell Street Gallery. Music will include the works of Beethoven, Schumann and Mozart. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12 with discounts, which include discounts for members of Pier One Theatre, the parent organization of the orchestra.

While in town, members of the DeVere Quartet will be available for individual or group lessons to string players.

In addition to the Homer concerts, several central peninsula events are scheduled as well. Check the orchestra's advertisement on page 9 for more information or call 235-6318. For reservations, call 235-7579.