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Baroque Christmas in Spokane’s Oldest Church

Baroque Christmas in Spokane’s Oldest Church


Guest column by Shane Bell

Baroque music was first played in intimate church settings and not glitzy, highbrow centers for the arts. The sounds were heard ricocheting off of chiseled stones and absorbed by warm woods, the musicians and their parchment lit by candlelight. Encompassing ‘art music’ from Western Europe between 1600-1650, the Baroque period of classical music boasts notables such as Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi, as well as more than a dozen other composers.

On Dec. 9 and 10 of this holiday season, A Festive Baroque Christmas will follow in this centuries-old tradition with the Spokane Symphony playing pieces by Vivaldi, Handel, Schmelzer, and Corelli. On Dec. 9, Westminster UCC, the oldest church of Spokane, will hold the first concert at 7 p.m; on Dec 10, The Spokane Valley Church of the Nazarene will host the second concert at 3 p.m.

“Playing in places like Westminster, the acoustics and surroundings are incredible,” said Dan Cotter, Clarinetist and General Manager of The Spokane Symphony. “It’s a slightly more intimate setting for a concert,” continues Cotter, “and we wanted to reach out to the community where they are, as opposed to them always having to come to us.”

Rev. Andrea CastroLang of Westminster UCC is also enthusiastic about the merging of music, history and place.

“First off, I love Baroque music,” said CastroLang. “Secondly, if we can open our doors and show people this beautiful, warm space, we want to share it. It is really important that churches are warm and inviting and not judgmental, cold and closed. So in whatever way we can, we want to get that message of welcome out to our city.”

The Spokane Symphony will showcase 36 of its professional musicians, with violin solos of the Corelli Christmas Concerto performed by Concertmaster Mateusz Wolski and Amanda Howard, Principal Second Violinist.

“Baroque music was designed to entertain and delight. It was composed to lift the spirit and bring joy,” said Conductor and Music Director of the Spokane Symphony, Eckart Preu.

The concert will last about an hour and will not have an intermission. Children older than the age of 5 years old are welcome, as well as aspiring young musicians, especially those who play string instruments. Tickets are $36, or $54 for the two-concert series, which will resume on March 17-18, 2018.

To purchase tickets, visit the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox Box Office at 1001 W. Sprague Avenue, (509) 624-1200, or visit online at www.spokanesymphony.org or any TicketsWest outlet.

About Shane Bell

Shane Bell is a local author who has written for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites. Currently he is really enjoying writing articles for his church, Westminster UCC, and the greater Spokane community. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys his work as a therapist, walking his dogs, and spending time with his girlfriend, friends, and family.

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