[Note: this story has been modified since its original posting to correct errors.]
The Odyssey Chamber Music Series, presented by First Baptist Church of Columbia and MU’s School of Music, performs a fifth concert of its inaugural season, “Transatlantic Journey,” this week.
The series began as a collaboration between Carina Washington, a clarinetist, and Edward Rollins, associate pastor at First Baptist.
After a recital Washington gave at First Baptist, Rollins said, he told her the church wanted to put together an arts series and asked whether she’d like to be involved. Rollins, now coordinator of the series, said Washington coincidentally had thoughts of her own to start a chamber music series. From that casual conversation, the Odyssey Chamber Music Series was realized. Washington has since left Columbia, but thanks to the support of MU and First Baptist Church, the event she helped start may be held annually.
Many of the artists performing in the series are faculty members in MU’s School of Music, said Ayako Tsuruta-Miyamoto, Odyssey’s music director, a pianist performing in the series and former visiting assistant professor in piano and chamber music at MU.
One of the series’ performers, cellist Stefan Freund, visiting assistant professor at MU’s School of Music, has recently been recognized as the Music Teachers National Association’s Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year.
“I was commissioned by the Missouri Music Teachers Association to write a piece,” Freund said. “I chose to write for my friend and colleague MU sax professor Leo Saguiguit and my student Patrick Dell, a pianist. That piece was eligible for the association MTNA competition and won the award.”
They will perform the piece at the music teachers convention in Seattle on April 3. Saguiguit and Dell performed Freund’s composition titled, “Screams and Grooves,” at a series concert in November.
Rollins said audience turnout for the first four performances of the series has been greater than organizers had hoped.
“We first planned for 60 people to be there. The first concert was over 80; the last few have been over a hundred,” Rollins said. “It is really beyond what we expected it to be.”
This year, the series will showcase six performances. Next year, there are plans to increase that number to nine or 10 performances, Tsuruta-Miyamoto said.
The final performance of this year, “Dodeca Jazz and Brahms,” will be at 8 p.m. May 6 at First Baptist.
Series artists end a typical evening following a performance on a high note.
“The best time is right after the concert,” Tsuruta-Miyamoto said. “We go to Flat Branch and we celebrate.”