by Robin Gee
Music on the Avenue, Bellevue’s premiere music series, kicks off its 18th season on Friday, February 3, with a performance by the Cincinnati Children’s Choir, one of the leading youth choral groups in the country.
Hosted by St. John’s United Church of Christ, the free recital series offers vocal music for every taste including classical, jazz, pop, traditional and folk on Friday nights at 8 p.m. from February 3 through March 3.
Members of the church developed the series as part of outreach efforts to the community and to provide area musicians with a place to share their musical talents. The concerts are free and funded through donations.
Performances are held in the church sanctuary that seats about 200 people. Last year, 700 vocal music fans attended the series.
Music on the Avenue Line-up
Stephen Phillips is the current chair of a committee of church members who work to select artists and promote the event each year. He offered this overview of the 2017 line-up:
The Cincinnati Children’s Choir — February 3
The Cincinnati Children’s Choir is celebrating its 24th anniversary season. The ensemble in residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM), the choir has performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, the Vocal Arts Ensemble, the May Festival Chorus and other CCM ensembles. They will perform traditional, classical and folk music.
Nancy James — February 10
Nancy James is a well-known jazz vocalist. Many in our area will recognize her from the Bob Braun show in the late 1970s where she served as co-hostess for nine years. Today, she continues her vocal career in radio and television commercials and film voice-over while also appearing regularly with big bands and trios throughout the region.
James’ performance will feature a tribute to Rosemary Clooney with selections from the Great American Songbook. She will be accompanied by local jazz musicians Brian Cashwell on piano and Michael Sharfe on bass.
Rod Stucky and Chris Wilke — February 17
Rod Stucky and Chris Wilke are baroque and classical guitarists and lute players. Their performance will be in conjunction with the Cincinnati Early Music Festival also throughout February.
Stucky is co-director of the Early Music Lab at CCM and head of classical guitar studies for the CCM Preparatory Department. Wilke serves as president of the Lute Society of America and is a dedicated teacher and composer.
The duo will offer a peek into baroque guitar and lute music popular in Europe from the late 16th through the early 18th centuries.
Phillips-Hofeldt Piano Trio — February 24
Stephen Phillips (piano), Betsey Hofeldt (violin) and Mark Hofeldt (cello) met in graduate school at CCM and have been performing together ever since. They have performed at churches, museums, colleges, universities and arts venues in Chicago and throughout the Cincinnati and Dayton area.
The group performs classical works written for piano trios from Joseph Hayden through present-day composers. At Music on the Avenue they will perform two piano trios from the 19th century Romantic Era: Trio No. 1 in D Minor by Felix Mendelssohn and Dumky Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor by Antonín Dvořák.
No Promises — March 3
No Promises is Ohio’s newest vocal sensation, an eight-man a cappella vocal band specializing in jazz, Motown and classical vocal pop. The group includes professional musicians, Broadway veterans, producers and music educators. The vocalists of No Promises offer sophisticated arrangements of beloved music from every generation including Manhattan Transfer, Andy Williams and even Taylor Swift.
Opening night and the final night’s performances will be followed by a reception with refreshments and an opportunity to meet other audience members.
St. John’s United Church of Christ is located at 520 Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue. Free parking is available in the church parking lot at the back of the building or on nearby streets. The building is accessible and has an elevator.
For more information see the Music on the Avenue Recital Series on Facebook or call 859-261-2066.