Bruce Porter Music Series begins 2019-2020 season

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This fall, the Bruce Porter Memorial Music Series (BPMMS) will launch its eighth season of bringing classical music to life in Granby. This series was established in 2012 in memory of Bruce Porter’s leadership as music director at South Congregational Church.

The concerts are held at South Congregational Church, at 242 Salmon Brook St. (Route 10), Granby. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $15. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

The series is sponsored by the music ministry at South Church and has been supported for four consecutive years by grants from the Granby Education Foundation, and before that by grants from the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Audiences of all ages from towns in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts have generously supported the concerts as well with their donations.

Gracing the stage are musicians who maintain international performing careers in addition to teaching at colleges and schools in Connecticut. BPMMS also spotlights young musicians whose careers are blossoming. This year’s schedule features a variety of musical styles presented by both instrumental and vocal ensembles. 

A collaborative Jazz and Poetry event will kick off the season at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, when jazz bassist Nat Reeves and his band, with Matt DeChamplain on piano, Josh Bruneau on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Kirk Woodard on drums, join poet Kate Rushin for a return engagement of one of the most popular shows in the history of the BPMMS.

Jazz aficionados drove miles to attend the last two performances Nat Reeves played for the series in Granby. Reeves, a top jazz bassist, has built a successful career touring the world with some of the most important figures in jazz in the last half-century. While not on tour, Reeves is a long-standing professor of jazz at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford.

Kate Rushin is the author of The Black Back-Ups (Firebrand Books). Recipient of the Rose Low Rome Memorial Poetry Prize and the Grolier Poetry Prize, her work is widely anthologized and has been published in such journals as Callaloo.

A Connecticut resident, Rushin has read at Hill-Stead Museum’s Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival and Smith College Poetry Center, among many other places. She is a former Fellow of The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and a graduate fellow of Cave Canem Foundation. 

To ring in the holiday spirit, join us on Sunday, Dec 8, at 4 p.m. The New England Ringers, a 15-member handbell ensemble of highly skilled musicians will perform. Elegant arrangements of holiday music on a six-octave set of chimes and bells that range in weight from a tiny seven ounces to a gigantic 12 pounds. will fill the air with holiday joy. Make sure you arrive early for this one!

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, the annual Family Night at the Movies returns for the sixth year, with organist Jason Roberts working his musical magic to accompany a silent film produced in 1923 by Harold Lloyd, titled Safety Last. In it, Lloyd comes up with increasingly risky feats of balance to try to impress his new love. Welcome in the New Year with your children and your grandchildren and see whether you think he used a stunt man or not! 

The series concludes the season on Sunday, March 1, with a return performance of the renowned choral ensemble CitySingers of Hartford performing its popular Celtic Fire! program. Joining the ensemble for this performance will be an array of instrumentalists playing traditional Irish harp, wooden flute, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, concertina, bodhran, double bass, pipe organ and Highland pipes. You will be entranced by the haunting melodies of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the beautiful choral arrangements of inspiring poetry. 

The natural acoustics of the South Church sanctuary make performing in that space a rewarding experience for the players. As a result, we have a long list of people who are interested in coming to South Church to perform on the series and an even longer list of people who love the concerts.

Please save the dates to treat yourself, along with friends and family, to four magnificent musical events on the 2019-2020 season of the Bruce Porter Memorial Music Series.