St. Joseph Symphony flutist Lory Lacy rehearses with symphony director Rico McNeela.

While the Saint Joseph Symphony takes a break in the summer, its members don’t want to be away from the audience for too long.

To bridge the gap between seasons, the symphony presents its Summer Chamber Series, a collection of intimate performances with members of the group.

“We want to stay in touch with our audience here in St. Joseph, so putting on these concerts roughly once a month ... is just a really nice way of staying in touch and connecting with each other in a way that we don’t during the year,” director Rico McNeela said.

The symphony will close out its summer shows at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, 2818 Frederick Ave., with a performance featuring Lory Lacy on flute, Charles Badami on piano and McNeela on violin. The concert will feature pieces by Antonio Vivaldi, Jacques Ibert and Dmitri Shostakovich, among others.

The trio has performed several other chamber concerts for the simple reason that they enjoy other’s company and talents. There also happens to be a lot of beautiful compositions that play to their strengths as collaborators.

“We get along really well as friends, and I love the timbre, the combination of sounds of the flute, the violin and piano together. It’s a really pleasant sound. There’s also an awful lot of music written for this kind of combination in the Baroque,” McNeela said.

The show will start off with a Baroque composition by Vivaldi, one that informs many of the concert’s subsequent pieces.

“Later composers really picked up on that Baroque beginning and carried those ideas farther so that the works of Ibert and Shostakovich that we’re going to play are really brilliant,” McNeela said.

Each piece captures a different style and perspective from the individual composers.

“Each has its own very, very special qualities that suite each instrument extremely well,” McNeela said.

There will be a special solo performance by Lacy, as she plays Georges Hüe’s “Fantaisie pour flûte et piano.” It will close with a piece by flute virtuoso and composer Franz Doppler.

“It is variations on American folk melodies, which is really cute. It includes everything from ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ to a number of others that are very familiar,” McNeela said.

Winding down the Summer Chamber Series, McNeela said it’s a fun, refreshing way to bookend the season.

“It’s a light, enjoyable way to finish our summer series and for the audience, they’ll find it a nice, cool place to hide out on a hot summer afternoon,” he said, laughing.

The Summer Chamber Series serves as a fundraiser for the symphony. While there is no admission fee, a donation of $10 is suggested.


Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

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