Poet-in-Residence Rhina P. Espaillat
Does anyone in Newburyport really need an introduction to Rhina?
After marinating indoors for the better part of a year and a half, we’ve all been desperate for live music. Et voilà – this summer, every concert sold out. “NCMF: Garden Variety” was a smash despite withering heat, energy-sapping humidity, and marauding swarms of blood-sucking insects who appeared to love the viola (or violists). Unpacking my instrument at the first concert I looked out and all I could think was: damn, I love this town.
It’s a balancing act to assemble a good program; people attend concerts for different reasons. In addition to solo works by Ysaÿe, Bach, and Penderecki, we had some unusual tuba transcriptions, Shostakovich Quartet No. 9, a late Haydn quartet, and Eric Ewazen’s lush quintet for tuba and strings. We also fulfilled a lifelong dream by performing Berg’s Lyric Suite. There is nothing more gratifying to me than when someone comes up after a concert and says “you know, I didn’t think I would like that but it really moved me.” That happened a lot with the Berg. Thank you for trusting me.
Our delightful tuba player Scott Devereaux had the job of selling Eric’s quintet and rose to the occasion. Indeed, the whole crew did – musicians Sharon, Becky, and Clancy – and a small army of volunteers such as Steve Parker, Gay Pearson, Karen Murphy and Soren Richelsen, Bronson and the folks at St. Paul’s, the Custom House Maritime Museum, John Greenleaf Whittier House, Mill River Winery, David Claridge, and the Nelsons, Cendron/Day, Ellis/Stone, and Moreland families. Even the weather cooperated and the feared rains never arrived - but a big shout out to Theater in the Open and Teddy for having our backs in case the heavens opened.
Thank you to William Shuttleworth and the veterans that attended our final concert. And a final huge thanks to my dear friends on the board - (alphabetically) Anne, Beth, Gage, John, Mia, Pat, Sherry, and Susan. What can I say? None of this would be possible without you.
With summer barely in the rear-view mirror, I’m looking forward to the Winter Baroque Concert on Sunday, 19 December 2021 - COVID permitting, of course. Pencil in the date. I’m so excited - I’ve got something up my sleeve that will be unlike anything you’ve heard before – just you wait.
David Yang, Artistic Director
Photography by Allegra Boverman