Bridging the Gap to the 17th Annual Washington Island Music Festival

For the past 17 years, world-class musicians from orchestras like the Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, and Colorado symphonies have been participating in the Washington Island Music Festival. This year, the festival committee and musicians are making it easier for everyone to attend a performance with a matinee at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center (TPAC) on Sunday, August 10 at 3 pm.

The matinee concert is aptly called “Afternoon Delight,” and festival artistic director Stephen Colburn has scheduled a rich and varied program. It will include a harpsichord quintet by J.S. Bach, a wind quintet by Danish composer Jőrgen Jersild and Edward Elgar’s magnificent “Quintet for Piano and Strings,” in addition to some Spanish Renaissance songs.

To make it even easier (and more economical) for patrons, the committee has also arranged a shuttle service from the island ferry dock to the TPAC, so people will not have to bring their car. Simply park at one of the free lots at Northport and walk on to the 1:15 ferry (at $11 per adult, round trip). Upon arrival at the island, vans will drive audience members to TPAC and back to the ferry after the show for $5. (For those wanting to drive their own vehicle, be aware that Sunday night boats fill quickly.)

A special addition to this year’s festival is a series of pre-concert talks by Samantha George, associate concertmaster with the MSO. The one preceding “Afternoon Delight” will start at 2:30 pm, and the ones preceding the evening concerts will start at 7 pm.

The festival will open on Monday, August 4 at 7:30 pm with “Island Romance,” a concert focusing on 19th century Romantics with a dash of seasoning from 20th century Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu.

On Thursday, August 7 at 7:30 pm, “Bravo Brahms!” will feature Brahms’ “Quintet for Clarinet and Strings,” along with works by Vivaldi and selections from German composer Robert Kuhn and 20th century American David Amram.

Following “Afternoon Delight,” the matinee on August 10, the festival will conclude on Sunday, August 15 with “Let All the World Sing!” featuring baritone Douglas Anderson of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, who will join with the island’s festival chorus and festival musicians to present Ralph Vaughan Williams’ powerful “Five Mystical Songs,” along with music by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, and Hindemith.

In addition to the four featured chamber concerts, the festival will include a number of other events: a series of music appreciation presentations by Samantha George on August 6, 8, and 12, an open rehearsal on August 9, a children’s music camp from August 5 – 12 for which children should be pre-registered, a children’s concert open to all on August 13 and the festival’s traditional “Under the Big Top” on Thursday evening, August 14, at which Julian Hagen and Cindra Hokkanen will organize and perform in an evening that will feature an array of talented island entertainers.

Admission to the four chamber concerts is only $12 for adults and $6 for those under 18. All other events, except for the music camp and the Big Top show, are free thanks to grants from the Peninsula Arts Association, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, call 920.847.3434 or visit