St. Stephen’s to host lunchtime Advent music series starting Thursday

MIDDLEBURY — Well-known Vermont contralto Linda Radtke will join St. Stephen’s Church organist George Matthew Jr. in the first concert of the third annual Noontime Advent Series this Thursday, Dec. 5, at the church on the Middlebury town green.
All three of the concerts in the series begin at 12:15 p.m. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the free performances, and brown bagging is encouraged.
On Thursday, Radtke will sing works by Bach, Handel and Vaughn-Williams. She was the principal alto soloist for the Mozart Festival and has also soloed with the Oriana singers and the Vermont Philharmonic. She has been a member of Robert de Cormier’s Counterpoint since its inception and is also a member of Ah! Cappella, a vocal quartet sponsored by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she hosts two classical music programs, Vermont Notes and The Classic Vermont Choral Hour, at Classic Vermont 101.7FM and has toured the state performing her one-woman show “Two Hundred Years of Vermont Popular Music.”
The next Noontime Advent Series concert on Dec. 12 will feature the St. Stephen’s Band led by Emily Sunderman, who plays violin in the Addison String Quartet and several other ensembles. In the time of Handel, the word “band” often referred to a small group of players of various instruments. St. Stephen’s Band includes two flutes, two violins, a viola, and a cello, all played by accomplished musicians who are members of our very musical community. With George Matthew Jr. at the organ, they will perform Handel’s concertos numbers two and four for strings and organ.
In the third week of Advent, on Dec. 19, internationally known organist and carillonneur George Matthew Jr. will present an organ recital of works by Daquin, Cesar Franck, Naji Hakim, and Sigfrid Karg-Elert. Louis-Claude Daquin was a Jewish French prodigy who played for the court of King Louis XIV when he was six years old and became the organist at Sainte-Chapelle at 12. He was a prolific composer for organ in the baroque and galant styles. By contrast, Naji Hakim, born in Beirut in 1955, is an active contemporary composer, teacher and performer on the organ. Winner of many awards and honors, he is a leader in the creation of 21st-century organ works.

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