February Festival Concerts on St. Simons

One of the reasons Tom and I love being on St. Simons Island is all the things to do in the evenings.  The last two winters saw us at Death Valley and Kings Mountain.  At Death Valley we had to drive at least an hour to even get to a restaurant.  Kings Mountain was an hour away from movie theaters and concerts.  Here on St. Simons, everything is very accessible and we go out several evenings a week.  One of my favorite activities was the February Festival Concerts.

Mary Bowden

St. Simons Presbyterian Church and the Island Concert Association sponsor the free February Festival Concerts.  There are four classical music concerts on Tuesday evenings during February.  Mom and Dad went with me to three of them and Tom went with me to the fourth.

The first concert was Mary Bowden on trumpet with Milana Strezeva on piano.  This concert was really fun because Mary played the piccolo trumpet and the flugelhorn, as well as the more common B flat trumpet.  She played a variety of older music as well as some modern works.  My favorite was “Totem Voices” by Catherine McMichael.  Each of the voices sounded just like its name:  Snowy Wolf, Beluga, and Mosquito.

The second concert featured two pianists on one piano:  Natalia Lavrova and Vassily Primakov.  They were wonderful!  They played beautifully together in the small space.  Their last piece was “Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit” (The Ox on the Roof) by Darius Milhaud and showed their sense of humor.  Because it was Valentine’s Day, they also honored the couple married the longest in the audience – 67 years!

The third concert featured Eugenia Zukerman on flute and Anthony Newman on organ.  They played a variety of tunes composed for musical clocks, which I guess was a thing back in the 1700’s.  The pieces were composed by Bach, Mozart, and Haydn.  Anthony Newman arranged these tunes for flute and organ.

The final concert was the Gloriosa Trio with Yoonie Han on piano, Eric Silberger on violin, and Kevin Bate on cello.  Their “Piano Trio No 2 in E minor” by Camille Saint-Saens resulted in a standing ovation and an encore.  It was spectacular!  I’ve never seen anyone turn piano pages as fast as Yoonie Han on this piece.

I arrived at the first concert about 10 minutes before it started and found most of the parking lots around the church completely full.  When I entered the sanctuary, it was packed.  Fortunately Mom and Dad arrived at 7 (the concert was at 7:30) and saved me a seat.  After that, we arrived at the concerts a good 45 minutes ahead in order to get a seat where we could see the musicians.  After each of the concerts there was a reception where the artists sold cds.

I loved going to the February Festival Concerts.  The concerts were free (donations accepted) and there were about 400 people at each one.  At the last concert, they announced the line-up for 2018.  I’m looking forward to it already!