PhoebeJoy and I gave two recitals over this last weekend. On Saturday night, we performed at the First United Methodist Church in North Wilkesboro, NC. They have a program there entitled Arts Spiritoso that is based around this mission:
The mission of the Arts Spiritoso series is to present opportunities for art, dance and classical music in the area. We strive to have several classical concerts and art shows each year. Through this series, we seek to experience and glorify God’s presence.
The main hall where we performed was stunning. The ceiling is tall, and lightly stained glass windows lined the walls. Several chandeliers light the space. They have recently purchased a new grand piano that made Phoebe Joy very happy, and the acoustics of the space were very live and pleasant to sing into. The audience was warm and receptive (much of it was my family which lives primarily in the Piedmont and mountaineous areas of North Carolina), and we were very happy to get to know the pastor Chris Wilson. Of the performance, he wrote in his blog:
Ian Sidden, accompanied by Phoebe Joy Wong, presented one of our best Arts Spiritoso programs ever. Ian’s voice has moved from baritone to tenor, making him available for heroic roles in opera… Ian’s opera training includes acting, which he was remarkably good at, with much good humor. His voice was a joy to hear.
We received a lot of help from folks who worked at the church, and we are very grateful. Thank you so much!
The second performance took place at the Elm Park Estates in Roanoke, VA. My grandmother lives there, and we decided that it would be fun to go ahead and do the recital again. The space has a central stage with a small grand piano, and they set up the dining hall to allow folks to easily watch us.
We had a great time with the performance. I felt very good especially on the Brahms’ set. The Despite and Still pieces continue to grow as a unit, and they were the most cohesive that they’ve ever been at this performance. Amazingly, there was a serendipitous moment during “Il trovatore in caricatura” where, after referencing a tolling bell several times, the home’s hourly bell went off, which gave the audience a good laugh and me some material to improvise with. Afterwards, it was really a joy to speak with the residents.
The management team there was very kind and helped us tremendously. Thank you.
Overall, I was very happy with both performances.