Foothills Music Club program at FENCE

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

No, they did not ask me to write about their program, but I enjoyed it so much that I have to! So much “local talent,” and as the truck commercials say, it is all “professional grade!”

Carole Bartol said of her curtain raiser performance that the Bagatelle she played was “smart alec” Beethoven. OK. And so it was, except that I think a lot of Mr. B’s innovations smack of an impish spirit.

My friend Jeanette Comer, whom I have known since she was an infant, was next up with two lovely songs, sensitively accompanied by another Jeanette, whose husband Jim Shackelford raised and lowered the piano top regularly as the piano was alternately required to accompany or to sound forth as a solo or an equal. Jeanette came back to accompany Marcy Hagen (mezzo-soprano), friend Karen Molnar (bassoon), and later Elaine Grella and Karen.

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Elaine Grella, daughter of friends Al and Fran Creasy, unfortunately out of town today, favored us with the perennial Carnival of Venice theme and variations, a real tour de force of intricate and challenging inventiveness. Our heroine won our hearts as she soon began to drink water and wipe her chin before tackling the next variation. Carole Bartol accompanied her.

Guest artist Beth Child and her Mom Mimi played a Barber duet (piano four hands) masterfully.

Mimi later accompanied Brenda Quilling, soprano, who literally brought down the house as applause burst forth after each song she sang for us. Foothills President Elaine Jenkins, after asking us to turn off cell phones, also suggested that we hold applause until each artist finished their set. Did not work.

Beth Child played Tchaikovsky’s Meditation to close another memorable program by Foothills musicians. This one, like all their public performances, raised money for their scholarship program. Their contribution to the musical education of promising young musicians has averaged some $3,000 per year for many years now.

Their founder and matriarch, Lesley Oakes, was in attendance. Her stated purpose was two-fold: (1) to encourage musicians to “maintain their chops” by playing often for each other and the public and (2) to provide scholarships for young musicians. The continued growth and success of Foothills attests to the wisdom of her founding principles.

Garland Goodwin, Columbus, N.C.