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Exciting summer of concerts lined up for Marysburg festival

It's like being away from the noise of the world. That's how Greg Schulte describes the concert experience at Assumption Church in Marysburg.
Flutist Ross Carstairs performed with pianist Gregory Schulte in a concert in last year's Marysburg Summer Festival of the Arts, and the two will return again this year.

It's like being away from the noise of the world.
That's how Greg Schulte describes the concert experience at Assumption Church in Marysburg.
Schulte is organizing the 11th season of the Marysburg Summer Festival of the Arts, which holds four performances at Assumption Church each summer. And he is extremely excited about the 2011 series, both because of the venue, and the lineup of performers.
Not only are the acoustics of the church divine, he indicated, but the quiet setting around it really adds to the concert experience.
"In major centres, it's almost impossible to get away from the noise of life," Schulte noted. But in rural Marysburg, you can.
"There is no noise," he said. Just the sounds of music, which can actually improve your brainpower, he added.
The brain, he explained, is like a battery and it needs to be charged by stimuli. For hearing people, 75 per cent of the stimuli needed to recharge their brains comes through their ears. And the frequency of voices raised in song, and even instruments like violins are "a rich part of the sound spectrum that give the best nutrition to the brain," he said. "Music is one of the great places for the ear. It's like taking your ears to a spa," he smiled, when you go to a concert.
"And if you have wonderful acoustics like we do in Marysburg, everyone falls in love with listening," he said.
As a musician, he added, it is wonderful to do a performance in this kind of setting, "because you know it is a communal action....Fifty per cent of the reality of a performance in a place like Marysburg is clearly from the audience," Schulte said. "Everyone should come out here. This is a mine for the treasures of oral performance and of aural reception."
The church, which has been undergoing restoration work for the last decade, is also "visually, a magnificent place," he said.
Audiences will have a chance to experience the church's acoustics and beauty during four concerts this summer.
"I'm very, very excited about the season," Schulte said.
Local donors have come forward to sponsor concerts, giving organizers peace of mind, but they still hope that many will attend these one-of-a-kind concerts.
"This is the place where I wish to bring to this community.... music of the highest quality that's uncompromisingly important in itself," Schulte said.
The first concert will be held May 25 and will feature baritone William Lewans and Schulte on the piano.
Lewans, a solo recitalist and an opera singer who is a native of Saskatchewan, has been studying in Berlin, Germany and will return to Saskatchewan for this concert. He has appeared at the festival before, Schulte added - he sang with mezzo-soprano Lisa Hornung about four or five years ago.
"I know a lot of people know him and that they love him," Schulte said, because of the music that he performs.
His program will include Schumann's Dichterliebe, opera arias by Wagner, and songs by Ravel, Vaughan Williams and others.
The second concert, set for June 15, will feature flutist Ross Carstairs, and Schulte again on the piano.
Carstairs, who lives in Saskatoon now, has performed in Marysburg before, Schulte explained, and is one of the most popular performers of the festival.
"He's a stunning flute player," he noted. "He has great ears... Together, we hear what each other is doing. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to doing a concert with him here."
Carstairs was a member of the Vancouver Baroque Ensemble and principal flutist of the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed often with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
His concert in Marysburg will present "Serenade" by Beethoven, as well as Fantasie on "Carmen" by Bizet.
On June 25, the Saskatoon Children's Choir will return for their third concert at Assumption Church.
Their energy, enthusiasm and talent is always a hit with audiences in Marysburg.
"Everyone is just stunned by them," Schulte noted.
The choir, under the direction of Phoebe Voigts, will present "Songs for Africa," which includes choral works by Claude Debussy, Z. Randall Stroope, and Canadian composers like Mark Sirett and Sarah Quartel.
This concert will also feature the world premiere of "Quodlibet Super Lorem Ipsum" by Peter Tiefenbach, who was commissioned by the choir to write this piece specifically for their tour to South Africa, for which they leave on July 5.
The final concert will feature pianist Richard Konrad on July 13.
Konrad is new to the Marysburg Summer Festival of the Arts.
"Each year, we must have a pianist because we have such a wonderful piano," Schulte said.
Konrad has performed as a concert soloist and chamber musician across Canada, the U. S. and England. He is also an experienced adjudicator, and has his doctorate in music. He currently teaches privately and at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts in Winnipeg.
His Marysburg concert will feature "Carnival" by Robert Schumann and works by Franz Liszt.
Schulte is also investigating holding a symposium for artists at the church this summer. Sculptors, painters, poets, writers and musicians would be welcome, he noted, and it would celebrate this incredible atmosphere even more.
Meanwhile, the church has undergone a name change. In addition to Assumption Church, it will also be known as the Marysburg Centre of the Arts.
The change was made in order to give the restoration committee charitable status, and to allow them to access grants to further restore the church.

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