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  • Writer's picturePenny Neef

Fall Arts Celebration Concerts begin September 25

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Words courtesy of Penny Neef. Images courtesy of Virginia Arts Festival.

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried, but virtual concerts or live Zoom concerts or concerts that you watch on your big screen TV are just not the same as being right there in front of musicians who are pouring their heart and soul into the music. That is why I am so happy that Virginia Arts Festival is beginning a series of Fall Arts Celebration Concerts this Friday, September 25 in their own Outdoor Courtyard at 440 Bank Street.

First up is classical. Musicians Debra Wendells Cross, flute, and Elizabeth Coulter Vonderheide, violin, join violist Luke Fleming and cellist Jake Fowler for an evening of chamber music under the stars.

The Outdoor Courtyard is a lovely venue, full of fresh air. It is not heated or air conditioned, so dress appropriately. Tickets will be limited. Each party will enter together, and be seated together, allowing six feet of distance from other parties. All CDC guidelines and sanitation procedures will be followed.

For Debra Cross, Principal Flute for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and flute instructor at ODU, the biggest challenge will be the wind. “It’s a challenge to play outdoors. We have special music stands with clips so the music doesn’t fly away.” She has enjoyed many virtual concerts during this pandemic but agrees that “virtual is just not the same.”

Cross and the three string musicians in this chamber music quartet will be playing Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. In the Mozart piece, Cross’ flute substitutes for the violin in a beautiful arrangement.

Barbara Chapman and Debra Cross in front of Barb's harp

Barbara Chapman, harp and Debra Cross, flute

Debra Cross will be making another live appearance in the VAF’s Outdoor Courtyard on Wednesday, October 7 at 10:30 am for Morning Chamber Music. Cross will be joined by harpist Barbara Chapman. Cross and Chapman will be playing “all sorts of things”. There will be classical pieces, but also folk and Latin music. They will perform together and each will perform a solo piece.

Rob Cross, VAF’s Perry Artistic Director, knows that we are all missing live performances of great music. He says, “We wanted to offer this safe opportunity to folks who are craving the satisfaction that only a live performance can bring.”

Check the Virginia Arts Festival website for information about more live events coming up and information about how you can support the arts in our community –

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