Youth shine in Pinto concert

Queen of Arts


Last Saturday, about 25 young musicians capped off the two-hour Peter Pinto Memorial Ensemble Concert with a spectacularly pleasing performance, and stole the show. A veritable forest of orchestra members spilled across the altar area at Grace Lutheran Church, barely containing them all. The sea of unrelieved black provided the exact right visual for the four movements of Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in D Major, Opus 6, No. 4.

Accompanied by Chloe Crouse on piano, the orchestra performed without benefit of a conductor. Instead, the music was led from within by three “soloists” – first violinist Ellie King, second violinist Logan Allan, and cellist Lauren Rindt. With the three of them positioned strategically at the forefront of the orchestra, the music rolled out as a wonderfully unified and expressive voice. Listening carefully, one could pick out their instrument’s voices, yet they remained fully one with the orchestra – a delicate balance.

At the end, a most appreciative and smiling audience, stood in ovation, with prolonged applause delighted and sincere. The skill exhibited by these strong players, and indeed the whole orchestra, was truly admirable and inspiring. It is this orchestra composed entirely of Ridgecrest youth that makes the Peter Pinto concert a solid favorite for me.

Ensembles of various sizes and instruments also took the stage, presenting both variety and cohesion. One simply cannot do justice here to all the performances, but let me bring to the fore just a couple.

The woodwind quintet that opened the concert demonstrated the bygone practice of friends getting together and playing whatever instruments they could get their hands on at the moment. In this case, it was a bassoon, two flutes, an oboe, and a clarinet, played by David Belt, Deb Veit, Joanne Freeman, Sylvia Hillesland, and Kimberley Washburn, respectively. Their music, “The Hut,” by Sir Edward Elgar, was supremely delightful!

The “Suite for Four Trombones” by Gordon Jacob was played by five trombones and a tuba. This might have been the first time I was able to hear how delicately a trombone can be played. Roger Lacher, Mark Hatter, Matthias Gasler, Colin Ryan, and Richard Ward on trombone, and Paul decker on tuba created a lovely sound together.

The Grace Lutheran Handbell Choir performed a lovely piece, “The Prayer,” composed by Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster. Generally playing only to their congregation, their inclusion in the very middle of the concert worked well to broaden the instrumental scope of the evening. It provided the audience with a welcome interlude of melodic meditative calm.

The rest of the ensembles of the evening were made up of several well known local musicians. Violinists Clare Hatter, Sophia Schuldt, cellists Fran Rogers, Laura Olinger, Beth Porter, clarinetist Kimberley Washburn, and oboist Sylvia Hillesland came together in various ensembles, frequently accompanied by Crouse.

With the music chosen, music that was not only within the reach of the performers, but also within the reach of listeners, this Peter Pinto concert was another satisfying winner. The performers created an ambience of amiability that spilled over during intermission and afterwards.

The Peter Pinto Memorial Ensemble Concert is a fundraiser for the Desert Community Orchestra Association, which raises funds for a scholarship, which is awarded to a young person who plans to further their studies in music.

Story First Published: 2020-03-06