A 31-year-tradition of Mozart in Woodstock will continue at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, when the orchestra takes the stage for the final performance of the 2017 Midwest Mozart Festival at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St.
The festival began with a performance July 30 at the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills, followed by a concert Aug. 6 at the Woodstock Opera House.
The goal of the festival is to offer the unique cultural experience of fine music to a diverse public audience at affordable prices.
“In order to attract a broader audience, we hold the ticket prices down,” said MMF president Zachary Dylan of the Woodstock-based program. The price for A seating is $43, B seating is $28 and student tickets are $10.
The musicians that comprise the Midwest Mozart Festival orchestra were part of the Woodstock Mozart Festival that held their last concert in 2015 and disbanded, just short of the organization’s 30-year anniversary. The musicians then formed their own nonprofit – Midwest Mozart Festival – and have continued bringing Mozart concerts to Woodstock and surrounding areas since then.
“It’s like these folks breathe together, communicating without speaking,” said Dylan of the group that comes together once a year to perform for the Midwest Mozart Festival.
Dylan said Mozart wrote music that sounded simple, but complexities in the music, especially timing, make it a challenge to play. The professional musicians that make up MMF, however, know the music and each other so well, it works.
The program at 3 p.m. Aug. 13, will feature the Overture to Marriage of Figaro, K 492 (W.A. Mozart) and Violin Concerto No. 3, K 216 (W.A. Mozart) featuring Kevin Case on the violin. The program will finish with Symphony No. 40, K550 (W.A.Mozart).
“Last year Kevin was a soloist. He was in another zone of sheer perfection and it raises the bar for this year,” said Dylan.
Along with presenting concerts, another significant goal of MMF is to interact with and support music students in schools and other educational facilities through its Youth Music Education Program.
Dylan said that out of 40 musicians involved in the group, 70 percent are music educators with an interest in making sure young people are exposed to music at a young age. He praised the Woodstock School District 200 orchestra program that starts with students in grade school, continuing the program all the way through high school.
He explained that MMF received a grant from the McHenry County Community Foundation to work with all eight string orchestras in the District 200 system. MMF purchased music for the orchestras that the students will begin to learn. As the school year gets underway, students will participate in sectionals with the professional musicians and, eventually, perform in concert alongside them.
A sponsorship program also provides an opportunity for the public to buy a ticket for a music student to attend the Mozart Fest performance.
“Last year we had 21 students attend the concert with the help of our concert program,” said Dylan. “We love having kids at our concert.”