Organ Barn Concert & BBQ on Sunday, May 26

Guilford, Vt. – On Sunday, May 26, Friends of Music at Guilford presents “The Four Bs: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms & The Barn,” its 5th Annual Spring Recital at the Organ Barn in rural Guilford. The 3:00 p.m. concert will feature the “Dynamic Two-O” of organist Kenneth Olsson and soprano Julie Johnson Olsson, with an assist by the Guilford Chamber Players.

The program offers several selections from the great organ master himself, J. S. Bach. Ken will play Fantasia in G Major, BWV 572, and the Prelude and Fugue in E flat Major (“St. Anne”), BWV 552, while Julie will offer soprano arias from sacred and secular cantatas with accompaniment including a small ensemble on winds and strings. Beethoven’s contribution is the Fugue for Organ in D Major, WoO 31, his only solo organ work. The program will conclude with selections from Brahms’ Chorale Preludes, Op. 122.

Ken is now Friends of Music’s Labor Day Festival orchestra conductor, following David Kidwell’s fifteen-season run, but was previously featured at the c. 1897 Guilford Tracker Organ on Labor Day weekend in 2011, performing an all-Bach program. A graduate of Ithaca College with a B.Mus. in Vocal Performance, he is a multifaceted musician who sings tenor as well as performs as conductor and keyboardist on piano and organ. He has appeared on stage with several opera companies in the region and further afield, has been music director for area productions at Main Street Arts in Saxtons River and St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Brattleboro, and is in his second season as conductor of the Springfield (Vt.) Community Chorus.

Julie Johnson Olsson began her professional career at age 17, performing the role of Mrs. Hopkins in the American Musical Theater production of My Fair Lady. She, too, earned her B.Mus. in Vocal Performance at Ithaca, then studied at the International Institute of Vocal Arts and the University of Missouri–Kansas City, performing many iconic operatic roles in the process. Returning east, she joined the Salt Marsh Opera Company (Stonington, Conn.) for their productions of Madama Butterfly and Tosca. More recently she appeared in H.M.S. Pinafore at Main Street Arts in Saxons River, Vt., and Don Giovanni with the Raylynmor Opera of Keene. She was featured with her husband as accompanist in Friends of Music’s “Winter Songs” program in February 2012.

The music will be followed by a lavish holiday barbecue with grilling items for both vegetarians and carnivores, a variety of salads and other BBQ “fixin’s,” and festive desserts. A variety of non-alcoholic beverages will be provided; attendees are welcome to bring their favorite beer or wine to enjoy with the meal.

The Organ Barn is at Tree Frog Farm on Kopkind Dr. in Guilford, just off Packer Corners Rd., about 9 miles from the junction of Rt. 5 South and Guilford Center Rd. From the north take Exit 1 off I-91 and go a little over a mile south on Rt. 5 to the Guilford Country Store, then follow signs to the Barn. Travelers from the south can also reach the Barn by taking Rt. 5 north from Bernardston, Mass., to Keets Brook Rd. and follow signs from there.

This event is a modest fundraiser to support the considerable costs of the Labor Day Weekend Festival at the same locale. Tickets are $15 for the concert on its own, $25 for the concert and BBQ combination. Although reservations are not required, it is helpful to know who’s coming for food planning purposes. For reservations contact the office by phone, (802) 254-3600, or email, office@fomag.org.

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