Once every month, The Rotunda is filled to bursting with the sound of music. Live music. Professionally played. Just for our community. It’s the WCBR Concert Series.
Our residents don’t need tickets or reservations to attend, and they don’t have to dress in black tie attire. In fact, if they’d rather enjoy from the comforts of their apartments, they can still watch and listen to the concerts, because the events are all live-streamed across our campus.
This up-close-and-immediate exposure to the arts is made possible by the generosity of donors to the WCBR Foundation’s Life Enrichment Fund.
Each performance on average engages 75 residents in The Rotunda – in addition to those viewing through the livestream. Here are some examples of the quality and diversity of performances our community has experienced so far this year:
- January – Susanna Klein is assistant professor of violin and coordinator of strings at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University. Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, she has enjoyed a varied career as a violinist, educator, and innovator on the East Coast. Her concert at WCBR featured works by Beethoven, Szymanowski, Rena Esmail, and Boedecker.
- February – Three Notch’d Road: The Virginia Baroque Ensemble presented a program of Celtic music. It included dance music, Shakespeare’s songs, and storyteller Sarah Walker. Romantic ballads and some legends of the British Isles, including Robin Hood and Maid Marian, were explored. Early harp specialist Christa Patton was the featured guest artist.
- March – Danielle Wiebe Burke, violist; Querida Thompson, clarinetist; and Jeremy Thompson, pianist – the trio is known for presenting quintessential Mozart with beautiful melodies, virtuosic passagework, charm, and elegance. The program included Mozart’s Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, but also Bach’s Gamba Sonata in G Minor and Enescu’s romantic Konzertstűck.
- April – Anastasia Jellison, principal harpist of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, has also been a member of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra since 2011. She teaches at the University of Richmond, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary. Her broadly varied program, ranging from a Bach transcription to traditional Irish tunes, showcased the beauty and versatility of the harp.
- May – Pianist Jeremy Thompson returned to again perform works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Chopin, and Liszt. The program included Bach’s monumental Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Piano Sonata, and four concert etudes. See more about Jeremy below.
- June – Adam Larrabee from James Madison University was joined by his band for a concert of virtuosic bluegrass music. Larrabee is known as a jazz guitarist, but is also a master on the banjo. He lives in Charlottesville and teaches banjo and mandolin at the University of Virginia, small jazz ensemble and improv at James Madison University, and classical and jazz guitar at Virginia Commonwealth University.
- July – Cellist Adam Carter, principal cellist of the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra, presented Beethoven’s brilliant Sonata #3 in A major and a solo cello suite by Bach.
The WCBR Concert Series started about four years ago. It was something designed to “get everyone involved,” says Sherrie Sykes, Activities Coordinator. The idea was to “engage the whole community,” including everyone in care areas as well as independent living residents.
At first, it was put together by Sherrie Sykes and the Director of Resident Services, Obie Sue Thomas, with musical suggestions made by resident Corky Sablinsky. This past year, Jeremy Thompson, the musical director at First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, took over the task of finding and scheduling the performers.
Thompson not only directs the music at the church, but maintains an active performance schedule as a recitalist and concerto soloist with orchestras around the world. “I don’t know how he has the time” to manage WCBR performances, but he does, says Sherrie. He is connected with “a good network of talent,” she says. “We’ve had some great performances.”
But residents will have to wait until September to enjoy more events in this series. Adam Carter’s program on July 7 marked the end of the season. Sherrie Sykes foresees a hiatus before picking back up in September and running to next June. To learn more about who will be performing, please keep an eye on the monthly Happenings Newsletter.