April 15, 2018, at 3 p.m.
Four musicians from the Northern Neck Orchestra will present a concert together with Soprano Dr. Cheryl Brown Davis, also known as Mrs. Virginia Senior America 2017, at the Westmoreland Players Theater in Callao.
Dr. Davis, a Heathsville resident, has had a full but still unfinished career in music, both as an educator and as a performer. She is currently Music Director of St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Heathsville and of The Chesapeake Chorale, and leads the Northern Neck Bay Tones, a Barbershop chorus.
The heart of the program will be a collection of duets featuring Davis’s voice and different instruments. Musicians accompanying Davis will be Steven Custer, cello; Arline Hinkson, piano; Celeste Gates, clarinet; and Eric Jacobson, violin—all are players in the Northern Neck Orchestra. Two of the song sets were composed by two of these performers.
The English poet, A.E. Housman was the inspiration for the pianist, Arline Hinkson, who set two of Housman’s works, “Stars” and “The Fairies,” to music for soprano and piano.
The Victorian “Hoosier poet,” James Whitcomb Riley, was set to music by the Northern Neck’s own, transplanted Hoosier, clarinetist and composer Celeste Gates. She will join Davis to perform her song cycle, “Three by James,” consisting of “When the Frost is on the Punkin,” “Little Orphant Annie,” and “The Raggedy Man.” Of interest: the second poem apparently represents the “birth” of the newspaper cartoon and later Broadway musical character, “Little Orphan Annie.”
The program will include a song cycle by Ralph Vaughan Williams, also based on poems by A. E. Housman. For this musical setting, entitled “Along the Field,” Eric Jacobson will accompany Davis on violin.
The English theme continues with four songs by Gustav Holst, based on old English devotions. The cello accompaniment will be by NNO principal cellist Stephen Custer.
The program will close with three songs from the Beatles repertory by English composers Paul McCartney and John Lennon: “I Get By,” “Blackbird,” and “Here, There, and Everywhere.”
Instrumental “Intermezzi” by composers Dvorak, Faure, Ibert, Hoericht, Piazzolla, and Franck will be spaced between vocal numbers.
Some of this music was presented a year ago in a concert that benefited the Northern Neck Orchestra.