The joy of traditional music (especially songs that are familiar to us) is in its simplicity. What is even more joyful is when you take these simplistic melodies and put them in the hands of truly accomplished musicians. That is when the true depth of the songs can emerge and each song becomes a celebration of life.
In 2009 Apollo’s Fire toured the area with their repeated foray into traditional music with the wonderful “Come to the River” which took sold out audiences on a covered wagon journey across America. It is happy to say that due to the overwhelming response to this show and the recorded CD (top ten best seller on the Billboard Classical chart) Jeannette Sorrell has put together another amazing collection of story and song. The new show is titled “Glory on the Mountain – An Appalachian Journey” and tells the story of the Irish and Scottish men and women who emigrated and settled in the Appalachian area in America.
The performance begins with a prologue which introduces the audience to the first of the seven segments of the program. “Crossing to the New World” has two songs telling of the heartbreak of leaving one’s family in search of a better way of life. “Dark Mountain Home” follows with five musical pieces that tell of the sadness, loss and treachery that is the central theme of so many traditional works. “Cornshuck Party” brings back thoughts of happier times as neighbors would gather to work together and sing nonsense songs. This closed out the first half of the program on a happy note as intermission was called.
The eight master musicians then returned with Susanna Perry Gilmore who fiddled “Oh Susanna” for an audience sing along and “Far From Home” with amazing accompaniment by cellist Rene Schiffer. The mood was once again darkened as five pieces that reflected “Love and Loss” were played followed by a short meeting house pair that highlighted the theme of the program, “Glory on the Mountain”.
The show finished with “Appalachian Home” where letters are sent home to the British Isles to convince destitute family members to join the pioneers in forging a better life.
Over the course of the show there were stories, solos and riddles that kept the pace fast moving as the time flew by. Fact is, the two and a half hours passed so fast that one was not aware of its passing. This is the mark of an excellent show.
For this production, Jeannette Sorrell (who plays harpsichord during the show) has brought together an extraordinary band of players and singers who combine traditional and non-traditional instruments and methods for an evening of exceptional charm and delight. The two main singers are Amanda Powell, soprano, and Ross Hauck, tenor,whose voices blend seamlessly in a variety of ballads. Tina Bergmann is behind the hammered dulcimer and also shares her fine voice in some of the songs. Newcomer Susanna Perry Gilmore was found in Omaha, Nebraska and is a fine addition to the group with her crisp playing. Kathie Stewart plays a variety of flutes as well as penny whistle that adds a sparkle to each song. Brian Kay was kept busy with guitar, gourd banjo, long neck dulcimer and lute as well as singing and was also a crowd favorite during intermission and afterwards. Rene Schiffer brings his extensive classical expertise and applies it to the music giving a solid base on which the songs are built on.
Along with the regular concerts, there will also be two special events scheduled during the second weekend of concerts. Friday, June 20th will be Apollo’s Fire “Young Adult Discount Night” with tickets for young adults starting at $15 for the B Section and $20 in the A Section. Following the concert the audience is encouraged to join the musicians on the patio for an old fashioned country dance with the Apollo’s fire musicians providing the music as the singers mingle with the crowd and help call the dance. Light refreshments will be provided and the after party is free.
On Saturday, June 21st at 4:00 p.m., Apollo’s Fire will present a family concert titled Froggie Went a-Courtin’ – a folk music discovery for the young and young at heart”. During this 45 minute program an exploration of Appalachian music will be presented as families learn about the unique folk instruments used in this all American genre. Pricing is $5 for children and $10 for adults. Tickets are available in advance and at the door for this family event.
Concert Dates and Venues
Many of the below concerts have limited availability or may be sold out
when trying to order online. Should you desire tickets for a sold-out event, please call the AF Box Office at 216-320-0012 x1 to be added to the wait list.
Saturday, June 14, 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Baroque Music Barn
SW corner of Shaker Blvd. & Chagrin River Rd.
Hunting Valley, OH 44022
Sunday, June 15, 2:00 p.m.
28601 Lake Road
Bay Village, OH 44140
Fri. June 20, 8:00 p.m.*
Young Adult Discounts
Sat. June 21, 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 21, 8:00 p.m.*
Bath Church UCC
3980 W. Bath Road
Bath, OH 44210
Sunday, June 22, 3:00 p.m.
Geauga Lyric Theater
101 Water Street
Chardon, OH 44024
* Free student tickets to the 8:00 Bath concerts underwritten by the GAR Foundation.
These concerts are generously sponsored by Glenmede.
Tickets range from $17-$50, dependent upon location.
Student and group discounts are available in select seating sections.
Children’s Concert tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 18.
Call (800) 314-2535 or visit www.apollosfire.org for details.
Apollo's fire and the Crossover/Folk Tradition
For over 15 years, Apollo’s Fire has developed a unique ensemble of crossover artists who specialize in early American and British Isles traditional repertoire, performing on period instruments in a historically informed aesthetic, but with the lively freedom of folk performers. These artists strive to break down the modern barrier between art music and popular music and to revive the “crossover” spirit of the 17th century, when great composers regularly wrote artful variations on street tunes and tavern songs.
Music Director Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have won special distinction for their pioneering work in early American repertoire. Sorrell’s premiere early American program, titled “Spirit of ’96,” received the Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society for reconstructions of compositions by early American composers and arrangements of Ohio folk songs. This was followed by a British Isles program called “Scarborough Fayre,” which can be heard on CD on the Koch International Classics label. Sorrell’s early American program “Come to the River” premiered in 2009 with 9 sold-out concerts in Northeast Ohio. The program has since toured throughout the U.S, and the international CD released on British label AVIE became a top-10 bestseller on the classical Billboard Chart.
In 2011 Apollo’s Fire introduced crossover programing on its regular subscription series season with “Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas.” Welcomed by audiences as “A grand holiday stew made from deliciously blended sacred and secular ingredients” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer), the program reprised in 2012 and 2013 to sold-out audiences regionally. An international CD release of the program reached number 11 on the Billboard Classical Charts.