Turtle Island Quartet to Arrive Next Week
Holiday Concert Scheduled for Tuesday Evening
After months of intricate planning and preparation, members of the Marshall County Arts Cooperative are ready for the arrival of their next visiting artist, Turtle Island Quartet. The string chamber ensemble will be in the area Tuesday, December 4; they will perform a concert, “A Solstice Celebration,” at 7:00 p.m. that evening in the Marysville High School auditorium. Tickets are $5.00 and may be purchased at the Marysville Chamber of Commerce office or at the door.
“We’re ready,” said Brian Cook, one of the board members for the arts cooperative. “We’ve been anticipating the group’s arrival for months. Now we’re ready to watch these artists work with students and amaze the public with their holiday concert. I suspect this will be an impressive residency.”
Planning for an artist’s visit takes the arts cooperative nearly a year. “Generally, we sign a contract with the artist about a year ahead of the visit,” Cook explained. “Depending on what type of artist we’re working with – whether that’s a visual artist or a performing artist – there are certain requirements we have to meet. For Turtle Island Quartet, they had specific technical requirements for their concert as well as hospitality needs which we had to address.”
For the ensemble’s production requirements the size of the auditorium played a factor in what sound requirements were necessary. “The group wants to use minimal amplification so that the audience enjoys an intimate acoustic concert,” Cook said. “That takes some planning and skill when working in an auditorium that holds over six hundred people.”
The arts cooperative has enlisted the help of local community theatre veterans to manage the group’s technical requirements. Jerry Horton, Greg Marples, and Alex Shultz, all who have operated the sound board and lighting board for the local community theatre’s shows, will be on hand to make sure these operations function smoothly. “Having their assistance is making our job easier,” Cook said. “We need their expertise to help the quartet sound their best in our auditorium.”
The technicians and the musicians will spend nearly five hours working together to make sure all of the technical elements are in place. Once the theatre lights have been focused and the sound system has been tuned, the ensemble will do two workshops with local students. For the public, they will perform their holiday concert.
The quartet’s concert features songs that celebrate the winter solstice, the Christmas season, and a variety of other winter holidays. From the songs of Hanukah, to the music of India’s Diwali, to the old English carols of the sixteenth century, the ensemble will explore timeless music that has been an integral part of winter holiday celebrations for centuries. The program also features music from Vince Guaraldi’s beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The quartet was formed in 1985 and has created bold, new trends in chamber music for strings. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, the ensemble blends the artistry of a classical quartet with contemporary American musical styles.
The group’s birth was the result of violinist David Balakrishnan’s brainstorming explorations and compositional vision while writing his master’s thesis at Antioch University West. The journey has taken Turtle Island through forays into folk, bluegrass, swing, be-bop, funk, rhythm and blues, new age, rock, hip-hop, as well as music of Latin America and India. It has included over a dozen recordings, soundtracks for major motion pictures,
TV and radio credits such as the “Today Show,” “All Things Considered,” “Prairie Home Companion,” and “Morning Edition.”
For tickets people may contact Brenda Staggenborg at the Chamber of Commerce office (785-562-3101) or Wayne Kruse, the arts cooperative’s executive director, (785-713-2077).