BY GEORGIA HALL
It was the summer of 1994 when the first series of free, noontime concerts called Music & More was offered at First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Randy Bush founded the series as a way to showcase local musicians, bring more people to downtown and raise money for worthwhile causes.
It started off with five concerts offered in the church’s historic sanctuary. The next season there were eight and, in its third year, the series added an evening concert to conclude the season.
On June 7, Music & More will kick off its 25th anniversary season with 10 noontime concerts— each will feature several acts — plus a season finale show.
A freewill offering is collected at each of the noontime concerts and divided among three non-profit organizations. Last summer $5,400 was distributed to those agencies.
Grant recipients through the years have ranged from Racine Habitat for Humanity and Homeless Assistance to the Women’s Resource Center and the Racine Vocational Ministry, Inc. This year’s recipients will be the Health Care Network, the Hospitality Center at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and the Racine Arts Council’s LINK program (Lonely Instruments Need Kids).
Season 25 will feature a variety of new sounds, including the Young Strings, violinist Drake Reid from Madison; flute duets with Martha Fergus and Frank Suetholz; soprano Carol Thiel; the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Stars of Tomorrow competition finalist cellist Viktor Brusubardis, and pianist Martin O’Leary, who will be coming from Dublin, Ireland.
The Choral Arts Society 65-member chorus will perform with Mark Paffrath, Jeff Ward, and Zachary Scot Johnson at the season finale.
The church is air-conditioned and handicap-accessible with an elevator at parking lot door.
WHEN: Noon to 1 p.m. on Thursdays, from June 7 through Aug. 9; Season Finale Concert will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17.
WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 716 College Ave.
COST: All noontime concerts are free. The Season Finale Concert costs $10 at the door.
INFO: Go to www.firstpresracine.org or call (262) 632-1686.
Music & More performers
June 7 – Dairy Statesmen Chorus – barbershop; Drake Reid – violin & piano; Carolyn Wehner – vocal & piano
June 14 – Michael Mueller & Nick Barootian – vocal; Ann Heide & Terri Seitz – violin & piano; Belle Ensemble – vocal
June 21 – Carol Christensen & Sharon Adel – violin & piano; Anna Nuzzo & Luke Nuzzo – vocal & guitar; Mark Paffrath, Dave Titus, Alejandro Alumbreros – vocal, guitar & piano
June 28 – Fumi Nakayama & Annli Nakayama – piano, violin, vocal; Martha Fergus, Frank Suetholz, Anna Kojovic-Frodl – flutes & piano; Jillian Bruss, Carol Thiel, Anne Van Deusen – vocal & piano
July 5 – Mitchell Proctor – vocal & piano; Zachary Scot Johnson – vocal & guitar; Young Strings – violins & cello
July 12 – Benjamin Nelson – piano; Muzika Piano Trio – violin, cello, piano; Corporate Downsizing Quartet – vocal & guitars
July 19 – Martin O’Leary – piano; Jeff Ward – vocal & guitar; Nancy Maio & Gare Hofstad – violin & guitar
July 26 – Jill Jensen & Jack Grassel – vocal & guitar; Scott Cook – cello; Suzanne Geoffrey – oboe
August 2 – Karen Beaumont – organ; Viktor Brusubardis – cello; Lynda Schlitz Ensemble – vocal, violin, drums, piano
August 9 – Anne Morse-Hambrock – harp; Ami Bouterse, Bob Benson, Evelyn Alumbreros, Alejandro Alumbreros – vocal & piano
Season Finale Concert – Friday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m.; Tickets $10 at the door
Choral Arts Society – 65-member chorus; Mark Paffrath, Jeff Ward, & Zachary Scot Johnson – vocal, guitars, piano
Georgia Hall is the chairman of the Music & More Summer Concert Series.