“Bach at the Bothwell” is a first for Sedalia music lovers and it will not be the last.

The event, directed by Anne Tempel, will be performed in chamber music style with members of the Sedalia Symphony Orchestra and others in the community Sunday afternoon in the Grand Ballroom at Hotel Bothwell.

“This is an initiative from the symphony to develop some chamber music and chamber groups in the community,” Tempel said. “There is a lot of good music that was written for chamber groups. The instrumentation is smaller than it would be for a large group like the Symphony, but that’s the goal.”

Tempel said the Symphony hopes to play chamber music more often and to gain exposure in the community through the concerts. It will be the first of many.

“It’s just us trying to branch out and enrich the community with different types of music from different composers and different genres,” she said.

Tempel said she decided to use the works of Johann Sebastian Bach in the concert because he was born in March and she thought it would be a fitting tribute. She also enjoys the mystery that surrounds his work.

“Bach is one of the figureheads for classical music,” she explained. “He’s up there with Mozart and Beethoven and he wrote a lot of music in the counterpoint style. But, there’s also some sort of mystique surrounding his music.

“I had taken a doctoral level course at KU as an undergrad which investigated Bach, and his music, and the messages inside his music,” she continued. “There are puzzles you can find inside of certain masterworks. For instance, in some of the masterworks, he spells out his name with the music instrumentation and tones.”

Sunday’s concert will feature a brass trio and brass quintet plus a special viola performance.

“We are going to do two of the Bach Brandenburg Concertos,” she said. “One of them is special in that it was written to showcase the viola.”

Tempel added that Sunday’s performance of “Brandenburg Concerto No. 6” will feature period stringed instruments, two viola da gambas.

“It’s a six-stringed instrument and there are various sizes,” she said. “It’s played between the legs kind of like a cello. It looks like a miniature bass.”

The viola da gambas have real gut strings and were the type of instruments used during Bach’s lifetime (1685-1750). A guest artist from the Kansas City Baroque Ensemble, Dr. Victor Penniman, will play the instrument for that particular concerto. Showcased on the viola will be Elizabeth Kehl, Mary Margaret Dale and Dr. Gary Moege.

During the concert, members will also play an adaptation of a Bach piece “BWV 1063” which was written for three harpsichords.

“It has been adapted for flute, oboe and bassoon,” Tempel said. “We are going to perform that piece with the chamber ensemble in the background. Then we are going to showcase some of the students of Barbara Schrader (who) made it to state contest.”

Smith-Cotton High School students Miriam Allen and her sister Madeline Allen will play violin for the piece.

“So, this event is going to overall premiere our chamber music groups, but it’s also going to celebrate music in the schools month,” she said. “A lot has happened for a lot of the music educators this year … it just seems to be the year for music.”

Others participating in Sunday’s concert are Sedalia Symphony Conductor Luke Lyons, Robert Koffman, Jeremy Freeman, Stephen Broadbent, Charles Ferguson, Mike Moellman, Barbara Schrader, Gail White, Molly Harvey, Cheryl McCollister, Edward Todarescu, Dr. William Decker, Dr. Sheri Mattson and Tempel.

The concert will last about an hour. The event will also have three speakers, Sedalia Mayor John Kehde, Tempel and a surprise guest speaker who will all speak on the importance of music and music in schools.  

“Bach at the Bothwell” will begin at 4 p.m. upstairs in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Bothwell, 104 E. Fourth St. The event is free; the Ballroom will seat 150 people.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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