Essex Winter Series brings its
Emerging Artists to Middletown, Essex,
Deep River, and New London

As part of its robust outreach program, Essex Winter Series (EWS) brings highly-accomplished musical artists to public schools and senior residences in several Shoreline communities each year. The Attacca Quartet, the New York-based string quartet who appeared on the Essex Winter Series in January, were the 2015 Fenton Brown Emerging Artists who took part in this year’s outreach program. Their whirlwind schedule took them to two cities, three towns, five schools, three senior residences, and one community service organization over the course of just four days, from April 20 to 23.

The members of the Attacca Quartet are violinists Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga, violist Luke Fleming, and cellist Andrew Yee. Although its members are young--still in their early 30s--the Attacca Quartet is an established and critically-acclaimed ensemble that been around since 2003. Since its inception, the Attacca Quartet has recognized the importance of bringing high-quality classical music into the community, and have enthusiastically developed their skills in connecting with audiences of all ages in a variety of settings.

On Monday, April 20, the quartet conducted a master class for string students at the Community Music School in Essex, which is a community partner of EWS. The next day, they performed for and conversed with two groups of band and orchestra students from Middletown High School. The classes were organized by Marco Gaylord, Director of Fine Arts and District Operations for Middletown Schools, with the Middletown High School band teachers, Kimberly Everson and Anthony Pandolfe. After lunch, the quartet played two concerts at Covenant Village in Cromwell, arranged by Community Life Director Cindy Harrigan. After each performance, the group took questions from the appreciative and enthusiastic audience.

New London was the focus of activities on Wednesday, with visits to Jennings Elementary School, Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School, Kindred Crossings, and the after-school program of the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut. The four-day outreach concluded on Thursday, with a visit to two classes at Deep River Elementary School and the Essex Meadows Health Center.

The programs in Middletown and Cromwell were made possible by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. The mission of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County is to improve the quality of life for the people of Middlesex County now and in the future by developing endowments, making grants that have impact, and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives.

The outreach programs were sponsored by the EWS’s Fenton Brown Circle, The Community Music School, and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

The extent of the EWS outreach program is the vision of artistic director Mihae Lee. “This program is very important to me, as we need to break down barriers to classical music,” she said. “EWS is committed to touch every age group with the power of music by bringing live classical music to young students and to senior citizens who are not able to come to our concerts.”