In August, the SONOVA Chamber Players performed at the historic Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg. SONOVA violist Michael Ream crafted original compositions for the performance. If you missed us in Williamsburg, catch a replay of that concert October 5, 4 pm, at Trinity Episcopal Church located at 2217 Columbia Pike (at South Wayne Street) in Arlington, VA. Below, Michael offers thoughts on one of his original compositions from the concert, "The Parish Suite."
The Parish Suite is subtitled "in the American Folk Style." I'd always wanted to write a suite in the American folk style, and our recent concert in Colonial Williamsburg seemed like the perfect opportunity. I also knew that we'd never find any music arranged for the specific (and somewhat unusual) ensemble we were taking to Williamsburg, so this gave me the chance to write something just for us.
I called it the Parish Suite because we performed at Bruton Parish Church, but also because I wanted to evoke a time when all of us lived in parishes - small towns in rural American. Back then, if you wanted to hear music, you either made it yourself or you went where the musicians were playing. The musicians probably weren’t professionals, but your friends and neighbors. They might not always play in tune, they might not always be rhythmically accurate, but that's OK - the music had a good beat and you could dance to it (Barn Dance, Stomp). Or you'd be in church on a Sunday morning, the soloist is singing a beautiful hymn to organ accompaniment, but the choir is slightly off key (Hymn). Or maybe you're at the local tavern on a Saturday night, the pianist is playing a rag, but the piano is out of tune (Rag), but again, that's OK - it's Saturday night, you're having a drink with friends, life is good.
I said earlier that I wrote this for us, but the truth is, I wrote it for you, the audience. I sincerely hope you enjoy hearing it as much as I enjoyed writing it.