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Photo courtesy of Libby Meyer The Bergonzi Trio – violinist Scott Flavin, cellist Ross Harbaugh and pianist Lindsay Garritson – will play a children’s concert in Houghton on June 18 and an evening concert at the Rozsa Center that evening as part of the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

Returning festival favourites, the Bergonzi Trio will present two series of concerts, one aimed at children. The trio – violinist Scott Flavin, cellist Ross Harbaugh and pianist Lindsay Garritson – will perform evening concerts around two famous compositions, Dvorak’s Trio in F Minor and the Shostakovich Trio.

Houghton’s concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on June 18 at the Rozsa Center. A reception in the Rozsa Hall will follow.

Tickets are available on a sliding payout scale, ranging from $50 to a minimum payout of $5.

“Classical music is for everyone if they want to listen to it” said co-director Danielle Simandl. “But I think it’s up to people like us who run the festival to let people know about it more, and not always expect people to come to the same big venues all the time either.”

Photo courtesy of Libby Meyer Patricia Helsel, associate professor of theater at Michigan Technological University, will lead a children’s workshop on puppet making and puppetry as part of the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

When co-director Libby Meyer asks her students what a classical musician sounds like, it’s usually a variation on “White, dead European guy.” Making music more accessible helps convey that music is still relevant, she said.

Meyer wants concerts to be inviting rather than stuffy. She loves the concerts of the Bergonzi Trio. They even talk between tracks – a breach that would burst the monocle of the stereotypical classical listener.

“I just want to get rid of all that baggage and make people realize that there’s no right way to do this,” she says. “There’s no right way to listen to this music or if you don’t get it, it’s not that there’s something wrong with you. You just have to be ready to listen.

Aside from evening concerts, all Pine Mountain Music Festival events are free, although registration is required for most.

For children’s concerts, the Bergonzi Trio will perform parts of the Dvorak and Shostakovich Trios in abbreviated 45-minute shows held in child-friendly spaces. They will be accompanied by choreographed puppets made during the children’s workshops the day before the concert. Trish Helsel of Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts will lead the workshops, where she will teach puppet and puppet making techniques.

Photo courtesy of Libby Meyer Children learn to make and use puppets at the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

Pre-registration is mandatory for the course, which is limited to 20 children. Free workshops will include supplies.

The children who take part in the workshops are invited to attend the concert the following day, as well as a pre-concert staging which will allow them to work on the choreography alongside the Trio Bergonzi.

Houghton’s Puppet Workshops will take place June 17 at the Portage Lake District Library, with three workshops divided by age and one for all ages. For the concert the next day, the puppet show will begin at 9:30 am at Portage Lake United Church with children in grades three and up; two other groups will follow. There will be a 15 minute break before the concert which starts at 10.30am

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of UPstarts!, a program that gives young musicians from the Upper Peninsula the experience of performing for festival audiences. For younger audiences, it gives them a chance to see local artists pursuing careers in music, Simandl said.

“People who may not have the means to buy or pay for tickets for the Bergonzi Trio can come to the UPstarts! gigs and seeing people from here who have worked really hard and are playing amazing, awesome music,” she says.

Each concert will be preceded by “children’s zoos of instruments”, where children can try out different instruments.

This year’s musicians are singer Julia Janowski from Marquette and violinist Ben Campbell from Escanaba. Mezzo soprano, Janowski has sung in a variety of styles, including opera, choir, sacred music, and folk music. The 2019 Michigan State University graduate has spent the past two years as Associate Director of Choirs at Brazoswood High School in Lake Jackson, Texas. The choirs earned the highest ranking in the state both years. This fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in opera performance at the Boston Conservatory of Berklee College of Music.

Campbell is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in violin performance at the Lawrence University Conservatory in Music in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also performs with the Marquette Symphony Orchestra and works as a summer camp counselor at Superior String Alliance. UP audiences may also know him since he was concertmaster with Escanaba High School Orchestra, UP Youth Orchestra, in pit orchestras for musical theater at Bonifas Arts Center in Escanaba, as well as a local cover band called Wingin’ It.

They will perform with Keweenaw native Susan Byykkonen, a freelance music teacher for flute and piano in Houghton County. Byykkonen is an active member of the Lake Superior Music Teachers Association and is also a music minister for Portage Lake United Church. She has worked with the program since its inception, as coordinator and pianist.

They will play at 7:30 p.m. on June 21 in the lobby of the Rozsa Center.

A course organized within the framework of the festival will help those who seek to become better interpreters or to overcome their nerves. Peak Performance workshops will be open to all musicians aged 15 and over. The workshops will be led by Flavin, who in addition to playing with the Bergonzi trio is also artistic director of the festival. Houghton’s workshop will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on June 17 at Portage Lake United Church.

The musicians of the Pine Mountain Music Festival will also bring classical music directly to people in a series of pop-up concerts on June 22. Musicians will include Scott Flavin and Ross Harbaugh of the Bergonzi Trio, and Danielle Simandl, Adam Hall and Ria Hodgson of the Superior String Alliance Chamber Players. Locations have not yet been announced.

“We’re going to visit some cool places where you don’t usually see string chamber music”, Simandl said.

The festival is supported by the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Midwest, The National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Tech and Finlandia University.

For a full schedule and other information, visit pmmf.org.

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