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Williamsport Chamber Players to kickoff inaugural season with ‘The Music of Poulenc’

Area fans of classical music always have a lot to look forward to in the fall, when Williamsport sees its live classical offerings start to increase. This fall, they’ll have one more ensemble to look forward to.

The Williamsport Chamber Players series will kickoff its inaugural season at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Community Arts Center, 220 West Fourth St. The series, which is sponsored by Lycoming College, will feature an ever-evolving group of local instrumentalists that specialize in small ensemble and chamber music. The series is directed by Dr. William Ciabattari, associate professor of music and department chair at Lycoming College.

“The Close Up series was built on the idea of performing small ensemble music in an intimate setting,” Ciabattari said. “The WCP project is an evolution of the Close Up Concert idea brought to the CAC stage.”

With a format designed to engage audiences, Ciabattari said that, “You will be able to see the action in a way not typically seen in classical concerts.” This will be done by having the musicians perform closer to the edge of the CAC stage, while projecting close-up HD images of the performers on a screen behind them. He added that the use of pictures, videos and art works will “enhance” the experience for congertgoers. The WCP will also provide context for the music performed during shows, with musicians in the group giving short lectures on the compositions.

Ciabattari said he wanted to bring the Williamsport Chamber Players series to Williamsport not only for local fans of classical music, but also for the area’s classical music performers, who he feels deserve more chances to showcase their great talent.

“While I think it’s important that our community have the chance to see concerts like the ones we are planning, I also think it’s critically important that the musicians in our community, who have trained for many years to perform at such a high level, have as many opportunities as possible to make music together and to be paid to do so,” Ciabattari said. “Projects like these help to sustain a vibrant and diverse professional music culture. I’m happy to be one who is continually striving to nurture that culture.”

“The Music of Poulenc” will serve as the debut concert of the WCP series. The performance will include Francis Poulenc works like “Sonata for horn, trumpet, and trombone” and “Suite francaise.” Dr. Gary Boerckel will be the featured pianist during the WCP’s rendition of Poulenc’s “Aubade.”

“The statement in the opening concert of the WCP is personal,” Ciabattari said. “I wanted the first concert to feature Dr. Boerckel. I wouldn’t be here today if not for him — he hired me.

“We have been doing ensemble work together for the last 14 years and I find him to be a wonderful collaborator on programs such as these. He is not only a fine performer, but an engaging speaker,” he added. “Those who have listened to his radio program or have attended his concerts know that he brings a delightful charm to each presentation, often peppered with anecdotes and charming quotes to make the music more accessible to every listener.”

Ciabattari said he chose “The Music of Poulenc” to kickoff the WCP series because this particular set of music was part of a concert he and Boerckel did together in his first year at Lycoming College.

“I thought it would be fun for us to revisit this outstanding repertoire again in this new format at the CAC,” he said.

Other shows scheduled for the WCP’s inaugural season include “Glorious Serenades” on Jan. 29 at the CAC, “Transition Points: Instrumental Music for Two Voices” on Feb. 23 in Lycoming College’s Shangraw Performance Hall in the Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall, and “Sighs that Blow the Fire of Love: The Henry Purcell Primer” on April 26 at the CAC.

For more information or tickets, visit Caclive.com or stop by the CAC box office.

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