Animal lovers, rejoice: A concert just for you is on the immediate horizon.
Titled “Wild Kingdom,” the concert will feature “music about all things that scurry, bound and fly,” said Kerry Ginger, one of the organizers of Quadrivium, a professional vocal chamber music ensemble based in the Four Corners.
This weekend, the ensemble will present Part II of its 2018-19 season: Flora and Fauna. Last September, Quadrivium presented Part I, In Bloom. On Saturday and Sunday in Bayfield and Durango, twin concerts will entertain audiences in both communities with music from the Renaissance to Ravel, from a bawdy medieval bestiary to a plaintive musical prayer by a cat for a simple saucer of milk.
As devoted pet owners themselves, the husband-and-wife team, mezzo-soprano Ginger and tenor Erik Gustafson, along with soprano Charissa Chiaravalloti, and guest bass-baritone Ryan Downey, will continue to fulfill Quadrivium’s commitment to high-quality performances of both familiar and rarely heard music, student engagement and community involvement.
Organized in 2016 for the joy of singing and to present infrequently performed vocal repertoire, the group has performed throughout the Southwest and sings a cappella. All members have professional careers and teach at the university level. The core trio of singers, Chiaravalloti, Ginger and Gustafson, are affiliated with Fort Lewis College. Downey, a colleague and friend from graduate-student days in Arizona, is active as a soloist, teacher and ensemble singer in the Bay area.
The singers will present elegant madrigals and part-songs as they explore music about the animal kingdom, “from the beautiful to the bizarre,” Ginger said. “Some highlights include Janequin’s lively Chants des oiseaux (Bird Songs) as well as songs about geese, mice, swans, panthers, beavers, hyenas, bison, bees, lambs and many more.”
To fulfill the Quadrivium goal of outreach and education, the ensemble will present a short program concert version at Durango/La Plata County Senior Center. Thursday, Downey gave a master class at FLC to selected voice students. Over the weekend, the ensemble will integrate five FLC student vocalists in a side-by-side component of the concert.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience the accelerated rehearsal schedule of a professional ensemble,” Ginger said, “as well as the contemporary group process of making musical decisions together. The experience prepares students for the kind of opportunities they may be able to create as portfolio professionals in music.”
Another aspect of community outreach will be the addition in Durango of photographer Rian Chiaravalloti’s images of wildlife. And, yes, that makes a second husband-and-wife team participating in “Wild Kingdom.”
The entire community package is co-sponsored by the Artist-in-Residence program at FLC and Pine River Library in Bayfield.
As Gustafson said of the program: “Each song tells us something about our own place in the natural order of things. The music teaches us about the human condition even as it explores the zoological universe.”
When pressed for a favorite work on the program, the most Gustafson would admit was: “As devoted cat parents ourselves, Kerry and I feel a special kinship to Ivor Davies’ piece where a cat prays to God for a saucer of milk.”
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.